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Feature Article

Overwatch Story Primer

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Below you can find all the essential details you need to know to understand the rich lore of Overwatch.

If you've played Overwatch, you'll notice it lacks a story mode or any in-game narrative providing context to the frenetic action. But developer Blizzard has written an abundance of fascinating lore that fleshes out its characters and universe. To help immerse you in Overwatch's world, we've compiled all the essential details needed to understand the game's story.

Background--What is Overwatch?

Overwatch's story takes place in the near future, 60 years ahead of present day. However, the story begins 30 years prior from that future, starting with the formation of Overwatch in the face of a global conflict known as the Omnic Crisis.

Overwatch was an elite strike-force formed by the United Nations to protect humanity from a violent uprising by omnics, a robotic race with advanced intelligence. The team was composed of the world's greatest soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities, and was commanded by leader Gabriel Reyes and molded into a cohesive fighting force by Jack Morrison.

The Omnic Crisis

The Omnic Crisis was a rebellion by the omnics against their human creators that resulted in a global conflict, where numerous cities across the world were attacked. While nations sent armed forces to combat the omnic threat, none were able to fully prevent them from taking over the world. With little options left, the United Nations formed Overwatch, who with the power of its combined forces were able to put an end to the Omnic Crisis for good. The repercussions of the event created animosity against omnics, resulting in civil unrest.

The Omnic Crisis ravaged cities across the world.
The Omnic Crisis ravaged cities across the world.

The Rise and Fall of Overwatch

After the end of the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch gained worldwide adoration for its efforts in saving humanity from destruction. In the years that followed, the unit became an international peacekeeping force, tasked with maintaining the world's safety. Its influence was far-reaching, inspiring a golden age of innovation, discovery, and exploration. With such growth, Overwatch soon transformed into a global institution, training a new generation of agents to continue its legacy. With its power, the team took on numerous threats, such as the terrorist group known as Talon and the criminal empire of the Shimada Clan.

Memorial of Jack Morrison
Memorial of Jack Morrison

However, the organization's influence waned with time, as rumors of corruption and sedition began to emerge. Accusations leveled at the group at the time included negligence during high-profile missions, weapons proliferation, human rights abuses, and more. The claims spurred the UN to conduct an investigation, but before anything could be unearthed, Overwatch's Swiss HQ was destroyed in an apparent accident. Among the destruction's casualties were none other than Overwatch founding members, Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison. The UN asserted that there was no foul play behind the accident, but in truth Overwatch had been in the midst of an internal power struggle, possibly overthrown by its enemies.

Return of Overwatch--Current Day

This brings us to the current events of the game. Five years after the fall of Overwatch, the world has become a darker place shrouded in uncertainty. Human-omnic relations have strained in the face of a second Omnic Crisis brewing in Russia, as the question of whether robots have rights is posed upon humanity. Meanwhile, the threat of Talon increases, as its terrorist activities become more rampant worldwide.

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The following shorts below set up the story ahead, providing details on the current state of Overwatch's former members and the world at large. After you've watched the videos below, check out the one above for the most current event in the universe's timeline.

Recall:

Winston resides in his lab constantly yearning for the chance to reassemble Overwatch. But before he can do so, Talon soldiers burst in trying to steal information on the locations of former Overwatch members.

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Alive:

Talon assassin Widowmaker plots to murder Tekhartha Mondattaan, a prominent Omnic spiritual leader. However, Overwatch member Tracer shows up to intercept the assassination attempt, which results in the two engaging in battle.

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Dragons:

Hanzo--former head of the Shimada Clan--returns to his hometown to pay his respects to a dead loved-one. But instead he's attacked by a mysterious ninja named Genji, who many years ago had been a member of Overwatch.

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mgespin

Matt Espineli

Matt Espineli is an Associate Editor. He loves MGS, film noir, westerns, and adventures at sea.
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