In the world of Overwatch, humanity was graced with a golden age of technology, peace and exploration. On the exploration front, humans built the Horizon Lunar Colony. Their focus on the exploration of space, but also an active research facility. It was manned by a league of scientists and genetically engineered gorillas were there to test the effects of prolonged habitation in space.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in the world was the development of omnics, robots with advanced artificial intelligence. Omnics were a leading force in bolstering global manufacturing efforts and key in creating economic equality around the world. The robots driven by these AIs became ubiquitous. The world built large facilities called omniums in every major cultural center to churn them out.
· What is an “omnic”?
A sentient robot with artificial intelligence
Omnics are artificially intelligent robots commonly found in the world of Overwatch. Their creation assisted in manufacturing and established economic equality across the globe. Large facilities called “omniums” created the worldwide omnic population.
Disaster came when the Horizon Lunar Base and its population of hyper intelligent gorillas revolted. The gorillas killed all the scientists on the base and all but one of the gorillas maintained their hostility. Around the same time, something happened to the world’s omnium facilities, putting the world into crisis.
· When does Overwatch take place?
In the near future
The world of Overwatch is not too far off from ours. With the exception of a global community of AI-driven robots and a lunar base filled with genetically engineered gorillas.
The Omnic Crisis and the formation of Overwatch
The Omnic Crisis was an event that threatened the stability of the entire world. While Blizzard hasn’t revealed the actual cause of the crisis, we know that that the world’s omniums began producing hostile omnics. All at once, each omnium independently started producing violent robots, many of them being Bastion units. Omniums created Bastion units specifically for combat and were the main force of the Omnic Crisis.
All around the world, omnics that once helped us become a stable society turned and attacked mankind. To respond to this threat, the United Nations formed Overwatch, a task force of soldiers and scientists. In its early days, Overwatch was led by Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison, with Reyes initially at the helm. But Morrison’s proficiency on the battlefield helped him take control of the group from Reyes soon after. No longer in command of Overwatch, Reyes took control of Blackwatch, its covert operations unit.
The Omnic Crisis exposed many other capable individuals. Among them were climate scientist Mei-Ling Zhou, former gang member and expert marksman Jesse McCree and German juggernaut Reinhardt Wilhelm.
· What was the Omnic Crisis?
One of the greatest threats to the survival of our species since the Cold War of the 20th century
At some point in Overwatch’s past, all the world’s omniums turned rogue and began building robots powered by evil AIs. Many of these robots were Bastion attack units, leading to crisis throughout the world (except for Russia). To date, no one knows the exact cause of the Omnic Crisis.
· The United Nations forms Overwatch
An elite, global task force was born
To respond to the threat, the United Nations formed Overwatch. This international task force gathered the best the world has to offer in military force and technology. In time, Overwatch disposed of the omnic threat and became a group of celebrated heroes across the world.
· Who were the early leaders of Overwatch?
Gabriel Reyes, Jack Morrison and Ana Amari
In the early years of the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch’s two most powerful soldiers were Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison. Eventually a rift developed between the two. While Reyes was initially in command of the unit, Morrison eventually became their strike commander, effectively making him Overwatch’s lead officer and most well known member. Reyes took to Blackwatch, a covert ops division of Overwatch. Morrison’s second-in-command and one of the founding members of Overwatch was Ana Amari. She is considered one of the world’s deadliest snipers.
· European forces
Blacksmiths, knights and angels
From Europe came three of Overwatch’s most notable heroes. Torbjörn Lindholm was Overwatch’s master armorer, responsible for keeping his fellow agents protected. He also created the legendary armor for Reinhardt Wilhelm, the hulking, hammer wielding knight. And finally there was Angela Ziegler, aka Mercy. She served as Overwatch’s head of medical research.
· Russia had its own answer to Overwatch
Russia chose to handle the threat in its own way
Russia was able to handle the crisis on its own, without the aid of Overwatch. Its armies alone were able to hold off the waves of omnics.
· The end of the crisis
All Bastions destroyed except one
After Overwatch and other nations banded together, the Omnic Crisis came to an end. Most of the world’s omniums were shut down and every Bastion unit was destroyed… except for one.
“The Overwatch Generation”
After the end of the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch maintained order and peace. It was an era of heroism that lasted for a few decades. Their influence on society was so strong that anyone born during their golden age was called “The Overwatch Generation.”
· After the Omnic Crisis
Overwatch continued to uphold peace throughout the world
Overwatch helped maintain peace, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. Many of their agents continued in service, while others, like Genji Shimada, left to follow their own path.
· The development of hard-light
A world-changing technology
In India, the Vishkar Corporation developed a “radical” and revolutionary technology called hard-light. This technology allowed Vishkar to create physical objects with light. To further development, the corporation developed the Architech Academy to find and train “architechs” to create world-changing creations.
· Utopea and Symmetra
Vishkar’s shining star
Among Vishkar’s best architechs was Satya Vaswani. Identified in her youth as a potential architech candidate, Vishkar took Vaswani from her poor upbringing and trained her to become its biggest assets. Vaswani was one of the lead architechs of Utopea, an entire city made out of hard-light. Realizing her true potential, the Vishkar Corporation gave her the codename “Symmetra” and sent her on missions to expand its influence around the world.
· Lúcio, the Brazilian freedom fighter
From favela to world’s favorite
To help rebuild Brazil after the Omnic Crisis, the Vishkar Corporation brought its technology to Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, its initially altruistic efforts gave way to a more controlling side, enforcing harsh rules and abusing Rio’s citizens for hard labor. Brazilian DJ and musician Lúcio Correia dos Santos wasn’t having any of this. A local legend in his own right, he decided to take the fight to Vishkar himself. After stealing some of its technology and modifying them into weapons, he fought off Vishkar, turning him into a celebrity almost overnight. His bravery catapulted his career and the former hometown DJ is now filling stadiums around the world.
· South Korea’s gaming superstar
Mechs meet gamers
In Korea, a unique class of remote MEKA drones held the line across Southeast Asia during a separate omnic invasion. Eventually the omnics changed tactics, and disabled Korean mobile communications. Unable to control its MEKA, South Korea turned to its professional gamers to stop the threat. Among them was Hana Song, aka D.Va. She was a world champion StarCraft player and used her gaming skills to pilot her MEKA with ruthless efficiency. She was known for livestreaming her encounters to her fans.
· The Australian Liberation Front
Australia is still a warzone
In the wake of the Omnic Crisis, the world decided to give omnics safe refuge in the Australian Outback. Unfortunately, the Outback was inhabited by small pockets of Australians who did not take kindly to their new neighbors. They formed the Australian Liberation Front to fight back, destroying Australia’s omnium facility and irradiating most of the Outback. Among the destruction, two notable criminals, Junkrat and Roadhog, began making names for themselves.
· The Shambali
Omnics who believe they have a soul
A group of omnics created the Shambali to bring humans and omnics together again. They believe that omnics possess a soul and want to reunite the world through harmony between humans and omnics. Led by Tekhartha Mondatta, the Shambali gained prominence throughout the world. One of their followers, Zenyatta, eventually left to follow his own path. He decided to focus less on dogmatic teaching and and more on the interpersonal relationships between humans and omnics.
· Genji and Hanzo Shimada
Brothers with a complicated past
Genji and Hanzo were both sons in the Shimada crime family. After Genji had a falling out with the family, older brother Hanzo was ordered to kill his younger brother. On the verge of death, Genji was found by Overwatch and rehabilitated into a cyborg by Mercy. After being saved, he became an agent of Overwatch in the organization’s covert operations division, Blackwatch.
Overwatch’s covert ops team
Blackwatch was the organization’s covert ops division. The team was run by former Overwatch leader Gabriel Reyes, and alongside him was Jesse McCree, former criminal and marksman and the newly rehabilitated Genji Shimada.
The Fall of Overwatch
While Overwatch’s era of peace and heroism lasted for decades, their fall came suddenly and ended with a bang. Infighting between Reyes and Morrison ran parallel with accusations of uncharacteristically corrupt behavior. In the midst of a United Nations investigation, fighting broke out at Overwatch’s headquarters, destroying the facility and presumably taking Reyes and Morrison with it.
These events, including the signing of the Petras Act, a document stating that any Overwatch related activity was illegal, finally forced Overwatch to disband.
· Accusations and protests
Cracks began forming in the foundation
In its later years, Overwatch was hit with a series of allegations resulting in high-profile mission failures, corruption and mismanagement, weapons proliferation, human rights abuses and more. These issues led to worldwide protests against the once beloved Overwatch yet they still fought the protect the world.
· Tracer and Winston
Speed and science
After being inspired by mankind’s ingenuity, Winston, the hyper-intelligent ape, escaped the Lunar Horizon Base and went to Earth to further his scientific pursuits. Lena Oxton, aka Tracer, was one of Overwatch’s youngest pilots and helmed the experimental, teleporting Slipstream aircraft. An accident forced Tracer to be desynchronized from time. Winston developed a chronal accelerator, which kept Tracer tethered to the present. Her chronal accelerator also allows her to control time around her with the ability to blink forward or rewind her presence in time.
· Null Sector uprising in London
Tracer’s first mission
Despite negative public opinion, Overwatch still remained active. Most world leaders looked down on Overwatch and didn’t allow them to operate in their countries. This was true for England when Null Sector, an extremist group that fought for omnic rights, attacked London. Despite not receiving authorization to operate in the country by the Prime Minister, Jack Morrison authorized the deployment of agents in England, including Tracer. This would be her first official ground mission as an Overwatch agent. Despite sticking to their mission, a rift began to form between Reyes and Morrison.
· Amélie Lacroix goes missing
The birth of Widowmaker
In an effort to deal with the terrorist organization called Talon, members of Overwatch were tasked to bring them down. One of those agents was Gérard Lacroix. Because he was one of the lead agents in charge of bringing down Talon, he was the subject of numerous failed assassination attempts. To combat this, Talon kidnapped and brainwashed his wife, Amélie. The organization turned her into a sleeper agent and returned her to Gérard. Days later, she murdered him in his sleep. She disappeared back to Talon and the world presumed that Amélie Lacroix was dead. Soon, she would undergo more conditioning that altered her physically and mentally, turning her into the literally cold-blooded assassin codenamed Widowmaker.
· Ana Amari vs Widowmaker
On a mission with her team, Ana Amari was scouting for her team. They were engaged by the enemy, and Ana protected her entire team from afar, disposing of other snipers. Unfortunately for her, the final sniper ended up being someone she didn’t expect, Amélie Lacroix. Ana was shocked to see Amélie on the battlefield, and the moment of hesitation cost her the mission. Amélie shot Ana, wounding her eye. Because Ana was knocked out, her entire team was wiped out and Overwatch presumed her dead. Due to her guilt, Ana hide from the world while she recovered.
· The destruction of Overwatch headquarters
Reyes and Morrison went down in flames
With Ana gone, the fighting between Reyes and Morrison finally came to an explosive conclusion. In the middle of a United Nations investigation against Overwatch, a fight broke out at the Overwatch Swiss headquarters. The fighting triggered an explosion that destroyed the facility, and apparently took Reyes and Morrison into the inferno with it.
· The Petras Act officially disbands Overwatch
The end of an era
After the destruction of Overwatch headquarters, the presumed deaths of Reyes and Morrison and the investigation from the United Nations, the final nail in the coffin was the Petras Act. This act declared that any actions done in the name of Overwatch would be considered a crime. Overwatch agents around the world went dark.
The days of Overwatch are over and the world is falling back into darkness. Fighting is happening around the world and the era of heroism that Overwatch maintained is slowly fading away. Gangs are becoming more prominent around the world as big corporations are taking over the land. And in Russia, a second Omnic Crisis is under way.
· Soldier: 76
Jack is back
In the time following the disbanding of Overwatch, the world is still able to keep itself upright. In the shadows, a mysterious vigilante named Soldier: 76 began attacking anyone responsible for bringing down Overwatch. He was last seen in in the Mexican city of Dorado.
· Old soldiers reunite on the battlefield
The return of Ana Amari and Gabriel Reyes
In his hunt to stop anyone responsible for taking down Overwatch, Jack Morrison heads to Giza to track down a mysterious sniper. During his search, Jack is attacked by a mysterious figure, a man named Reaper who is actually Gabriel Reyes, albeit transformed. Gabriel gets the jump on Jack and before he can finish him off, he is saved by the soldier Jack was looking for. The sniper ends up being Ana Amari, who was alive but in hiding all along. She returns to the fight to protect the people she loves.
· The brothers reunite
The tale of two dragons
After the Crisis, Genji left Overwatch to come to peace with his cyborg body. Upon meeting, Zenyatta, the omnic eventually helped the cyborg come to terms with his new form. This newfound peace led him to seek out his brother Hanzo.
· Winston initiates a recall
Old heroes answered the call
In the midst of a world falling back into turmoil, the former Overwatch agent Winston, watches from afar. He went to Earth inspired by the heroism of Overwatch, to watching the world crumble without them. An attack on his base from the terrorist organization Talon leads Winston to decide that it’s finally time to bring Overwatch back.
· Talon tries to steal the Doomfist
In the middle of a museum created to honor Overwatch is the Doomfist. This weapon was wielded by many villains who don the moniker of Doomfist while wearing it. Each user gains different abilities while in its possession. A normally peaceful day at the museum is ruined when Talon agents Reaper and Widowmaker appear and attempt to steal the Doomfist. Tracer and Winston stop them. This is one of the first instances where the world saw Overwatch return in all their glory.
· Talon assassinates the head of The Shambali
Widowmaker’s attack on omnics
While visiting King’s Row, Tracer goes to see the head of the Shambali, Tekhartha Mondatta. In the middle of his speech discussing the possibilities of mankind and omnics living side by side, Tracer investigates a disturbance on the roofs above Mondatta. There she encounters Widowmaker once again after fighting her at the museum. “Come to crash another party, love?” Tracer asks Widowmaker. A fight breaks out between them, ending with the assassination of Mondatta. Widowmaker damages Tracer’s chronal accelerator and leaves her for dead.
· Who is Sombra?
The mysterious hacker
After the Omnic Crisis, many children were displaced around the world. Among them was one girl in Mexico who learned that hacking was a skill she was phenomenal at and she quickly discovered that information is power. Hacking became an addiction and her obsession was the most powerful targets. As she grew up, her goal was to learn who really controlled the world. To do that, she became Sombra, a woman whose mind and body became her tools.
· Doomfist is stolen and attacks Numbani
A news bulletin from Numbani shows that a powerful assailant attacked Numbani’s airport, destroying multiple OR15 defense robots in the process. The city was rocked by the damage and, Doomfist was to blame.
· Efi Oladele created Orisa
A brilliant, young engineer creates a new defender
Following the attack on Numbani, Efi Oladele saw the destruction that Doomfist caused to her city. Instead of being gripped by fear, Efi leapt into action and modified a damaged OR15 defense robot. With new programming and a new AI operating the machine, Efi gave birth to a new defender, Orisa.
· The Second Omnic Crisis
Russia under attack again
Russia’s omnium is reactivated and ignites a second Omnic Crisis, taking over 15,000 lives. Whether Mondatta’s assassination prompts the beginning of the crisis isn’t known, but it’s hard to separate the two. In order to combat this new crisis, the world’s strongest woman, Aleksandra Zaryanova (Zarya), leaves the world of competitive weightlifting behind to fight for her country. Although only a child during the first crisis, Zarya heralds a new age of soldiers to compete with this darker future.
· What’s next?
The world could use more heroes
This brings us to the present. Hopefully more blanks will be filled. Perhaps we’ll figure out the answers to questions: What started the Omnic Crisis? Why did Talon want to assassinate Mondatta? Who has the Doomfist now? And just what is next?