A quick guide for something that is anything but quick to release?
Overwatch is a game that is steeped in lore ? each hero on the roster is a reasonably well-developed character with their own motivations and backstory. Blizzard has been feeding the fans spoon-fills of lore now for one and a half years, and unfortunately, the pace of the story content has been relatively slow. The lore itself is interspersed in a variety of media, including animated shorts, comics, and miniature write-ups seen on the PlayOverwatch website. As of now, there is no campaign that allows the player to experience the history of Overwatch in gameplay aside from the Uprising event which occurred in mid 2017.
A Quick Summary?
Around 30 years ago, multiple omniums (self-regulating omnic factories) spontaneously activated, creating armies of Bastion soldiers which then commenced assault on city centers. This was referred to as the ?Omnic Crisis,? the massive scale war that serves as the primary backstory for the world in which the Overwatch game takes place. The war festers for over a year before the United Nations proposed the formation of a strike team, which became Overwatch, the organization, as we know it. Overwatch sees its first strike commander in Gabriel Reyes (who later becomes Reaper) and his comrade and fellow soldier-enhancement program mate, Jack Morrison, lead the original team consisting of Ana Amari, Reinhardt Wilheim (after Balderich von Adler dies fighting the omnics at Eichenwalde, as seen in the Reinhardt short), Torbjorn Lindholm, and a character named Liao. This goes on for several years, and the Omnic Crisis is declared over. Overwatch transitions, handing leadership over to Jack Morrison, and Gabriel Reyes takes command of the newly born Blackwatch (black ops) team.
Overwatch sees its heyday in the next two decades or so, those who have been a part of the organization are hailed as heroes. A little under a decade from present time sees Genji saved by Mercy and enlisted into Blackwatch, Lena ?Tracer? Oxton suffers chronal dissociation from a failed test flight and Winston helps develop the tech to stabilize her. It?s around this time that Blackwatch?s existence becomes public knowledge, and Overwatch begins failing in the public eye with suspicion of illegal activity. Amelie Lacroix becomes Widowmaker through Talon influence. It?s about 2 years from around those events that Uprising occurs by Null Sector, and although Overwatch was banned from working within British borders, Jack Morrison disobeys the command and sends Tracer, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and Mercy to King?s Row to fight in the battle.
In the next year, Tracer, Winston, and Genji help capture Doomfist. Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes are presumably killed in an explosion at Overwatch?s Swiss headquarters, and the United Nations disbands Overwatch by the Petras Act.
Other events occur during this timeframe, but overall, that?s a summation of the history leading up to present day. Mei enters cryostasis sometime around Overwatch?s golden age, likely around the time Tracer suffers her accident, as Mei awakens to find Overwatch disbanded during the present day after a 10 year sleep. Genji reveals himself to his brother Hanzo and warns him he will need to choose a side.
At the game?s ?present day,? Overwatch has been disbanded for roughly 5 years. Winston activates the agent recall after Reaper attempts to steal the known agent?s information (it?s assumed in order to target them for assassination, but that is speculation). Sombra blackmails Volskaya, and Doomfist breaks out of prison. Orisa is born from the wreckage of the OR-15 guardians at the Numbani airport. Present day reveals that Mei has awoken from cryosleep, Reinhardt decides to answer the call of Overwatch again, although Torbjorn does not seem to be interested in returning, but has taken a reawakened and peaceful Bastion under his wing. Mercy has not yet had much focus on if she will answer the call once again, although Tracer was seen responding immediately to Winston in the ?Recall? short.
There has been so much backstory to each of the heroes, but nearly 2 years later, Overwatch?s lore has not gone anywhere past the point of ?Recall.? We are still seeing origin stories and a large cast of the characters have not yet seen their origin short. Characters like D.Va and Orisa have not had meaningful stories in shorts or comics as of yet. Roadhog and Junkrat have not had their official animated shorts, but did have a small role in the Junkertown short introducing the new map, as well as several comic appearances. Pharah, Symmetra, Torbjorn, and McCree have all had comics focusing on them, but have not had their shorts.
At the current pace of lore, we might have to sit through another year of origin stories before Overwatch is ready to move past this ? although at the glacial pace of lore releases and hero releases, theoretically Overwatch could keep the lore in this limbo for years.
What comes next? Why did a second Omnic Crisis begin? What is the deep darkness that worries Sombra behind the scenes? What really happened during the explosion at the Swiss HQ? What other abominations has Moira created in her experiments? Who is the Junker Queen? Who is Hammond? There are so many unanswered questions, but the lore introduces more questions than answers during each media iteration. The question the fans want answered the most, however, is?
When we will see more lore?
Image credits to Blizzard Entertainment
Originally written for Guilded.gg