Know Your Lore
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Sombra

Know Your Lore: Overwatch’s Sombra origins

When the Omnic Crisis hit the world, Overwatch was there to respond and eventually defeat the Omnic threat. But what of the people that weren’t heroes – those who lost their homes, their family and friends, everything they ever knew? What of those left behind? Some quietly tried to rebuild their lives and their futures…and for some people, it was the Omnic Crisis that shaped the future they’d choose.

For one little girl in Mexico, it meant utilizing every skill she had to get ahead. Her specialty? Hacking – and thanks to the Omnic Crisis, that skill was something a lot of people had immediate interest in putting to use.

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Omnic orphan

Mexico suffered greatly from the Omnic Crisis – also called La Medianoche by residents. The name was an apt one, as the Crisis left a trail of devastation in its wake that wiped out much of the country’s infrastructure as well as its power grid. Mexico’s citizens struggled to rebuild after the long dark, trying to construct ways  to return clean, affordable energy to the country.

As for the girl, she was just one of thousands of children that were left orphaned in the aftermath of La Medianoche. Like the rest of Mexico, she was just looking to survive, and learned how to use her talents with computers and hacking to do exactly that. She wasn’t alone in her search for a new future – the Los Muertos organization was full of people just like her, and they took her in.

Although many viewed Los Muertos as an organization of thugs, they viewed themselves as revolutionaries. They looked at what was being done to rebuild Mexico, and believed that these efforts only benefited the rich and influential – and left behind those who needed help the most. The girl worked closely with Los Muertos and learned a valuable lesson in the process: In the wake of the Omnic Crisis, nothing was more powerful in the world than knowledge.

And she had the skills necessary to obtain every last piece of knowledge she needed.

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Sombra

Knowledge was also a heady drug, one that the girl soon found herself addicted to. She kept hacking – politicians, corporations, governments – and the more she learned, the more she wanted to know. Unfortunately, her investigations led her into a tangled web of global conspiracy…and whoever was behind it all noticed her. To save herself, she had to perform the ultimate vanishing act, deleting all traces of her identity and existence, and going into hiding.

It wasn’t going to stop her, though. If anything, the discovery only fueled her curiosity even further. A lone, ordinary — if skilled — girl couldn’t hack her way into the world’s secrets alone. But upgraded, enhanced, altered…she certainly could. And so the girl went under a rigorous series of cybernetic enhancements designed to give her more power, more control, and keep her from being discovered. The girl she used to be was no more, her name lost for good.

From the darkened shadows, Sombra was born.

And she went right back to hacking, diving in where she left off and initiating a world-wide spree of hacking exploits. She caught attention, yes – but this time, they were admirers. Talon saw what she could do, and the organization was greatly impressed with her abilities. Once again, Sombra found herself taken in by a group of people – one with far more power and influence than Los Muertos.

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Global conspiracies

Sombra returned to working with Los Muertos, but this time she had bigger fish to fry. LumériCo, an energy company based in Dorado, was supposedly working on a method of providing Mexico with clean, sustainable energy. But LumériCo’s CEO was none other than the President of Mexico, Guillermo Portero. Over the course of her investigations, Sombra came to the conclusion that Portero had no interest in the welfare of the people of Mexico. He was simply interested in lining his own pockets.

And maybe that’s where the global conspiracy began to be unraveled. Because LumériCo also had ties to the Vishkar Corporation, another global corporation supposedly working with the best interests of the world. Of course, it also stepped on the impoverished along the way. While we don’t have an exact idea of what kind of global conspiracy Sombra discovered, we at least have a few threads to look at.

LumériCo and Vishkar were both preoccupied with rebuilding after the Omnic Crisis. They were both far more interested in the wealthier, more influential members of society than those who really needed the help. Sombra is working for Talon, an organization whose motivations are also blurry. But it’s clear that they don’t like omnics, due to their assassination of Tekhartha Mondatta.

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A tangled web of mysteries

Or do they? Here’s the issue: Talon wanted Mondatta dead, and they successfully carried that out. But Talon also appeared to want Katya Volskaya dead. As CEO of Volskaya industries, Katya has been working on improving Svyatogor production. This is supposedly to shut down the beginnings of a second Omnic Crisis in Russia. If Talon is against omnics, and Volskaya is also working against the omnics, wouldn’t it be counterproductive to kill her?

Or was this all part of Sombra’s plan? Did she set up Katya as a target, making sure Talon arranged for her assassination just to arrange a meeting? In the new animated short Infiltration, it certainly appears that Sombra isn’t exactly following Talon’s orders. After neatly cornering Katya in her offices, Sombra revealed her true intentions. She didn’t want to kill Volskaya. She wanted a new “friend.”

Which is when Sombra revealed just how much she knew. Katya Volskaya was getting her technology by making deals with omnics. It was the kind of information that could ruin Katya’s reputation and career – she had no choice but to agree to Sombra’s proposed “friendship,” whatever that might mean for the future. As for Sombra, once she obtained what she was after, she left, informing Reaper and Widowmaker that the assassination had failed and they needed to get out.

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¿Quién es ‘Sombra’?

Which leaves us wondering, still: ¿Quién es ‘Sombra’? Who is she? What did she uncover in all of her digging for information? Is this just a conspiracy of global corporations based on greed and power? Or is this something bigger than old fashioned greed? A still image from the Sombra Origin Story video brings all that into even sharper question.

A web of logos and characters from the game is sprawled out before Sombra. In the middle is the eye logo that supposedly found Sombra when she initially discovered the conspiracy – before she got her implants. Connected directly to that eye is Talon, with offshoots pointing to Reaper and Widowmaker. There’s a possible thread to Doomfist as well – likely due to the attacks in the original Overwatch cinematic trailer.

Even more interesting is that the same eye is connected to logos for LumériCo and Volskaya. There’s also another logo that may or may not be Vishkar – it’s a logo we haven’t seen before. And on the other side, it’s not just Talon connected to that eye. Overwatch is connected as well. Is this because of Blackwatch, Reaper’s old team – a team tied to Talon in the McCree: Train Hopper comic? Or is there more going on here than we initially thought?

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First Strike

We may see some answers to that soon. The graphic novel Overwatch: First Strike is supposedly going to be released in digital format this month, although we don’t have an exact date for that release. However, we’ve been told that the book tells the story of the origins of Overwatch. With that information, we may be able to shed some light on the origins of the Omnic Crisis, and where our former heroes have ended up as well.


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As for Sombra, it’s clear she’s not 100% with Talon. Although it seems clear that she willingly joined Talon, I’m wondering if her motivations even line up with whatever it is Talon is up to. Maybe she’s simply joining them because they’re a part of that strange web of lies, deceit and conspiracies. After all, information is power. Sombra not only knows how to get it, she’s addicted to the high of successfully ferreting it all out.

That curiosity might get her killed someday…if they can catch her first.

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