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Overwatch’s Story: Everything you need to know

Overwatch is about to celebrate its first anniversary! Since its initial release, Overwatch has captivated millions of players with its fast paced, engaging gameplay. Hand in hand with that gameplay however is a cast of characters and a story that has captured the hearts and imaginations of both players and non-players alike.

While you don’t see much of Overwatch’s story in-game, this shooter has a veritable mountain of lore hidden away in all the profiles, character descriptions, news releases, cinematics, and everything else that’s been released thus far. We’re sure you’re asking how the heck am I supposed to keep track of all of this?

That’s why we’ve been piecing it all together for you, from the beginning of the Omnic Crisis to Orisa’s first steps on the Overwatch scene. It’s been a wild, wonderful, beautiful first year for Overwatch story, so why not catch up on anything you might have missed?

Update: This post was originally published on May 20, but has been updated with the latest Overwatch comics and lore.

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  • Overwatch and the Omnic Crisis The formation of Overwatch and what the heck happened to make it all fall apart. This is the foundation of Overwatch’s story.
  • Space Gorillas and Test Pilots Winston and Tracer’s origins and the weird possibility there might still be some kind of angry space gorilla infested moon colony up there.
  • Robots With Soul What the heck is an Omnic? Why don’t they just call them robots? This covers what makes them different and why you should probably love Bastion even though, you know, he’s probably going to kill you a lot.
  • Fallen Heroes  What’s up with Soldier: 76 and Reaper? What went down when Overwatch was disbanded, and why is Reaper so … reaper-y?

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  • Junkrat and Roadhog Even though these guys are supposedly comic relief, they have a pretty sad backstory which says a lot about the state of the world after Overwatch fell apart
  • The Shimada Clan Hanzo and Genji have a lot of beef with each other, probably because they tried to kill each other. Here’s why.
  • Widowmaker and Talon Who is Talon? Why are they in every Overwatch animated short? What are they up to, anyway? And who is the elusive and deadly Widowmaker?
  • Zarya and the second Omnic Crisis You think the first Omnic Crisis was bad? Prepare for part two.
  • Symmetra and Lúcio What’s the issue between these two? Is Symmetra a bad guy? Maybe not, but the company she’s working for is pretty shady.
  • McCree and the Deadlock Gang IT’S HIGH NOON and McCree’s a former outlaw who decided to be a good guy until he decided not to. Or maybe he still is.
  • Overwatch’s Veteran Members: Reinhardt, Torbjörn, and Mercy Not everyone in Overwatch is (or even was) a member of the Overwatch organization. These three, however, are some of the organization’s best and brightest.
  • The next generation of Overwatch Mei, D.Va, Pharah, and the future of the Overwatch team.

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  • Ana Amari and new Overwatch heroes Part of the original Overwatch team, Ana was widely considered one of the world’s best snipers… until she hesitated to take a shot.
  • Overwatch and the mystery of Sombra Though we don’t yet know who Sombra is, the game is scattered with hints about this mystery hero.
  • Overwatch’s ongoing story So how does all this stuff hook together in the cinematics? Where is the story going from here? Why isn’t any of this actually in the game — and why is that potentially a good thing.
  • Overwatch’s Sombra origins Sombra made her triumphant debut at BlizzCon 2016. But where did she come from? How did the Omnic Crisis shape this orphan’s future into something so extraordinary?
  • Global conspiracies and the Omnic Crisis It seems that there are bigger players than just the Overwatch team at work in the Overwatch universe. We begin to unravel the global conspiracy that Sombra inadvertently stumbled on in pursuit of justice.
  • Tinfoil Hat Edition: The fall of Overwatch We take a speculative look at just what led to the downfall of one of humanity’s greatest organizations. Was it a global conspiracy, corruption from within, or some other factor that finally managed to tear Overwatch apart?
  • Overwatch’s Orisa, Efi Oladele, and the return of Doomfist In a world of ever-encroaching threats, one precocious little girl manages to engineer a potential solution to keep her city safe. But the potential return of a well-known adversary might put a damper on that triumph.
  • King’s Row and Overwatch Uprising Take a look back at a pivotal moment in Overwatch’s history, and newly-dubbed Tracer’s first mission after the resolution of her chronal disassociation.

If these held your interest and you’re looking for more, perhaps you’ve missed some of the material below.

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Animated shorts

  • Recall kicks it all off with a look at Winston’s origin. Reaper and the bad dudes at Talon assault a defunct Overwatch base — inspiring Winston to raise a new call to arms.
  • Alive widens the animated universe of Overwatch as Widowmaker takes aim on the streets of King’s Row. Can Tracer stop her dastardly deeds?
  • Are You With Us? Winston gets a bit awkward in front of the camera as he rallies the troops.
  • Dragons. Brothers Hanzo and Genji throw down in their home town of Hanamura.
  • Hero. Soldier: 76 takes on the Los Muertos in Dorado, raising the question of whether he’s on the side of the heros or not.
  • The Last Bastion takes us to the Black Forest to show us just how Bastion came to be, well, Bastion.
  • Infiltration Reaper, Widowmaker, and Sombra make a fateful trip to Volskaya Industries, where a confrontation with a high-profile target has unexpected results.

Comics

  • McCree in Train Hopper. McCree hops a train. Some other people hop a train, too. Pretty self-explanatory stuff, here.
  • Reinhardt in Dragon Slayer. This old dog still has teeth. For biting dragons, I guess.
  • Junkrat and Roadhog in Going Legit. If by “legit” you mean the opposite thing, then yes.
  • Symmetra in A Better World through hard light and also explosions.
  • Pharah in Mission Statement, where she shows just what kind of leader she can be.
  • Torbjörn in Destroyer, diving into what he was doing during the Omnic Crisis. (Spoiler alert: It involved a giant mecha.)
  • Ana Amari in Legacy, which fills us in on how this new hero fit in to team Overwatch.
  • Ana Amari in Old Soldiers, where Ana reunites with some old friends.
  • Junkrat in Junkenstein, a Halloween-themed Overwatch special holiday release.
  • Tracer in Reflections, a holiday-themed story that follows Tracer and the rest of the Overwatch crew for an end-of-year reflection on how they’ve fared so far.
  • Bastion in Binary, a closer look at what happened to the rogue omnic after the events in The Last Bastion animated short.
  • Tracer in Uprising, a story from the days of Overwatch’s tumultuous past.

Not enough to slake your thirst for more Overwatch? Peruse our Overwatch category for tips, tricks, and more.

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