Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The fall of Overwatch
Who benefits from a global disaster? Maybe that’s the question we should really be asking in reference to the Omnic Crisis. You wouldn’t think that a disaster would benefit anyone, but you’d be wrong. A golden age of global economic prosperity like the one Omnica originally promised is all well and good. It benefits everyone, not just the suits at the top of the food chain. But a disaster…that sets a different stage entirely.
With a global disaster like the Omnic Crisis, suddenly countries all around the world were presumably spending way, way more money on weapons and research. And with all the chaos, everyday items were suddenly turned into luxuries. In the wake of the Crisis, countries had to spend money to rebuild — which means the people doing the rebuilding were suddenly far, far wealthier than they’d ever been before.
If that doesn’t sound like the grounds for a global conspiracy, I don’t know what does. Sombra may have stumbled on not just a global conspiracy, but the cause of the Omnic Crisis and the reason for Overwatch’s downfall all in one fell swoop.
Today’s Know Your Lore is of course a Tinfoil Hat Edition — we’re just looking at the lore that’s already been presented, and what kind of theories we can come up with based on that information.
The rise of Overwatch
Here’s the thing about Overwatch — people didn’t start getting disenchanted with the organization until well after the Omnic Crisis was quashed. The rumors didn’t begin until Overwatch had established itself after the Omnic Crisis as a global institution. By then, Overwatch had evolved into a group dedicated to exploration, discovery, and innovation.
They’d also firmly established themselves as a global peacekeeping force. Overwatch took an almost militaristic approach to keeping the peace, hunting down rogue omnics, warmongering dictators, and terrorism. Essentially, if you were up to something bad, Overwatch knew about it, and put a stop to it.
Whether or not this extended to shady corporations isn’t really made clear. But one would assume that Overwatch policed corrupt companies, if the result was something that went against the bright future they were working towards. Or maybe it wasn’t necessarily companies — maybe it was the groups they had under their employ.
Talon, the Deadlock Gang, and the Shimada Clan
Overwatch focused on several different groups in its heyday, including both the Shimada Clan and the Deadlock Gang. Both of these groups were powerful entities that had established themselves as powerhouses in illicit arms and weapons trading, among other shady activities. Overwatch not only shut these groups down, it picked up a couple of new members in the process — Jesse McCree, and Genji Shimada. Both individuals gave information that helped Overwatch take down these groups — Genji left after the job was done, but McCree stuck around, becoming a member of Blackwatch.
The other big group Overwatch continually tried to hunt down was Talon. Talon’s real purpose hasn’t been clearly defined — they’re labeled as simply a terrorist organization. It’s possible they were also dealing in some kind of illicit trading, particularly since they had access to high-tech weapons and equipment. Equipment like the kind used for the neural conditioning of Amélie Lacroix.
And Talon appears to be focused on acquiring new technology. Ana Amari was supposedly killed during a mission in which Overwatch was trying to rescue scientists captured by Talon. In McCree: Train Hopper, Talon is focused on obtaining some piece of tech equipment that isn’t fully explained. Talon broke into Watchpoint: Gibraltar to hack into Athena’s databases and hunt down the names of Overwatch agents. What is Talon actually up to?
That’s a really good question — because beyond the vague “terrorist” moniker, Talon hasn’t really been defined. We don’t know what their ultimate purpose is. We don’t know what they’re focusing on. And we don’t know if they’re an actual group, or if they’re mercenaries for hire — or who might be hiring them. All we know is what actions Talon has taken so far.
Here’s the thing about Talon’s attack on Gibraltar: Overwatch hadn’t been recalled at that point. Winston hadn’t pressed the button, and judging from the reaction of the people who broke into the facility, they weren’t expecting anyone to be there. Which means they weren’t trying to dig up Overwatch’s roster in reaction to its reformation. They had another reason to get that information.
Talon was also responsible for the assassination of Tekhartha Mondatta, omnic leader of the Shambali. Mondatta was a spiritual leader, promoting peace between humans and omnics. From his death, you’d assume that Talon was set against omnics, right? Not so much — because months later, they were targeting Katya Volskaya, leader of Volskaya Industries. Volskaya was focused on shutting down Russia’s second Omnic Crisis, a move that could be considered anti-omnic. So why would they want to kill her at all?
Of course, the entirety of that particular operation may very well have simply been set up by Sombra. She took advantage of the assignment to arrange a “meeting” between herself and Katya, although no deal was really struck during that meeting. Instead, Sombra simply used the information she had at her disposal — proof that Volskaya was getting her tech information from omnics — to blackmail Katya into being her “friend.”
We don’t know what Sombra’s going to be contacting Katya for at this point. But it appears that Sombra’s involvement with Talon is secondary at best. She’s not really working for the organization so much as using it to get more information. Sombra’s motives are much bigger than they initially appeared to be. She’s not just after LumériCo.
In the latest Overwatch comic Reflections, we see where Sombra ended up afterwards. She’s in a bar with McCree, although the two don’t appear to be associated with each other. McCree is passed out at one end of the bar, Sombra is all the way at the other end, perfectly coherent. Maybe they were just drinking at the same place, same time. Or maybe Sombra used her tech enhancements to quietly drink McCree under the table and get herself some more information.
What kind of information would she be after? Well, the only thing McCree and Sombra have in common is that they’ve both worked with one Gabriel Reyes, a.k.a. Reaper. McCree is aware that there’s some connection between Talon and his old Blackwatch team. He noticed it during Train Hopper.
Although there isn’t a mountain of established lore for Overwatch just yet, there’s enough available to start stringing together some theories. The biggest thing setting off warning bells in my mind are the parallels that are beginning to form in the story. And the one that stands out the most is the parallel between Overwatch, and the Omnica Corporation.
Both organizations were working for the good of humanity — Omnica through technological innovation, Overwatch by stopping the Omnic Crisis. And both were accused of corruption and fraud, leading to intense investigation. In both cases, the organizations were shut down.
What we don’t know is whether or not these accusations were true. In the case of the Omnica Corporation, the company is long dead. In the case of Overwatch, we have tales of Blackwatch, the organization’s covert ops unit, and we have supposed evidence of internal corruption. But the details just aren’t there. Morrison — now Soldier: 76 — certainly seems to think there was something else going on. Is he right?
Are these just parallels, or a pattern beginning to establish itself? Is there something, someone — or a group — actively working against global peace and prosperity? Are there myriad shady corporations working together in some kind of mega-conglomerate driven by greed? Is it some branch of the assorted global governments working together? Or is it just Talon, a far larger and more dangerous presence than initially surmised? Only time will tell — and I’m looking forward to seeing where Overwatch takes us in 2017.
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