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OverwatchJan 7, 2020 6:00 pm CT

Symmetra, the Vishkar Corporation, and the big picture of Overwatch 2

Last month we talked about many of the different factions within the Overwatch universe that are looking to butt heads in Overwatch 2. However, there are several heroes in the game who aren’t well-connected with any of those factions, making them more similar to free agents. So let’s talk about Satya Vaswani, AKA Symmetra, and her employer, the Vishkar Corporation.

The Architect of Light

Symmetra herself needs little introduction. Obsessed with perfection, dedicated to ridding the world of chaos, and condescending to basically everyone around her, Symmetra’s skills as a hard-light architect made her an agent of industrial espionage for the Vishkar Corporation. Looking at her in action during her comic, it’s clear why she makes such a good secret agent. Her weapon is non-lethal, the constructs leave no evidence, and teleportation lets her get in and out of places people normally couldn’t access easily. However, we see that she has some scruples about what she’s willing and not willing to do.

This, of course, is where her handler comes into play.

The Handler

Sanjay Korpal is still an enigma, to a vast extent. He’s clearly the good cop to Satya’s weird cop, evidenced by his attempt at salvaging the Rio deal when Symmetra’s brusque behavior wasn’t helping.

We know Sanjay is the one giving Symmetra orders during her comic, that he’s fine with causing deaths and other collateral damage in service of Vishkar’s goals, and that he’s on the board with Talon. We don’t know much about Sanjay’s relationships within Talon since he’s only made non-speaking cameo appearances with them. We’re also never given the impression that Symmetra knows about Sanjay’s affiliation — her interactions with other members of Talon never mention him.

The Vishkar Corporation

The vast majority of what we know about Vishkar comes from Symmetra’s backstory. Namely, they emerged in the post-Omnic Crisis period with the intent of using hard-light architecture to build communities for those displaced by the Crisis. This altruistic façade, however, conceals their more underhanded tactics of sabotaging competition and intentionally causing events that benefit their business dealings, as seen in Rio. While we’re never given the impression that this dark side is known to the broader community, there are certainly individuals who know about it. (Like Sombra, because, y’know, Sombra.)

Given that Symmetra and Sanjay are the only two characters who are directly linked with Vishkar, it’s hard to find any other way of characterizing the Corporation separately from them, but there IS one detail that’s important: Lucio.

Lucio’s father (who, for lack of anything official, shall be named “Sr. dos Santos”) formerly worked for Vishkar, and helped engineer their sonic technology. When the Corporation appeared with the intent of steamrolling his neighborhood in Rio, Lucio stole some of this sonic/hard-light application tech and used it to lead an uprising that drove Vishkar out.

From how Lucio characterizes it in his voice interactions (both with Symmetra and others) he feels that Vishkar manipulates people for their own ends, and discards them when they’ve stopped being of value to the company’s goals. While we don’t have a clear sense of what happened to Sr. dos Santos afterward or what role he played in Lucio acquiring the sonic rig, it’s clear that Lucio is bitter about how his father was treated.

It’s worth noting that for her part, Symmetra considers Lucio and his free-wheeling nature as misguided, though she stops short of maligning his father.

There’s value in looking at Symmetra and Sanjay as avatars of the Vishkar Corporation’s motives writ large. While she may develop doubts about it in her comic, Symmetra seems otherwise resolute about advancing the goals of the Corporation in spreading hard-light developments in any place where it would be an improvement — she indicates so on Dorado). Restoring order to a chaotic world using nigh-magical technology that can reshape reality is a noble goal.

And yet Sanjay’s objectives during the Rio mission (changing the objective from information-gathering to very destructive sabotage) illustrates the darker side of the corporation’s objectives — if someone refuses Vishkar’s help, forcing them to accept that help by taking out the competition is patently corrupt. Seeing him on Talon’s board, whether for his own purposes or simply as a liaison for Vishkar, paints the Corporation as being willing to manipulate things behind the scenes while looking heroic in the daylight.

Alignment — Talon, Overwatch, or just order for order’s sake?

Sanjay’s alignment with Talon suggests that Symmetra might be affiliated with Talon as well, though whether she’s doing so unwittingly isn’t clear. Her interactions with members of Talon suggest that she doesn’t agree with them or their methods: she calls Doomfist is an agent of chaos, and deems Moira’s adoration of science narrow-minded in the face of the laws of nature. If Talon’s objective is causing chaos in order to profit from it, Symmetra’s dedication to imposing and preserving order is in diametric opposition.

But if you’d think that would push her to being on Team Overwatch, there’s not much to support that: her interactions with Overwatch heroes are equally catty and standoffish. She mocks Reinhardt’s armor and calls Torbjorn’s devices crude, for example. Lucio is her best example of a connection to the larger universe, and that’s rooted in Lucio’s conflict with the Vishkar corporation more than it’s a personal rivalry or animosity.

Consider this, though: Lucio is ALSO disconnected from everyone else in the narrative, but cheerfully teams up with Overwatch when they come assist him against Null Sector in Rio in Overwatch 2. Generally speaking, Lucio’s perspectives about personal freedom and autonomy would seem to align more with Talon than with Overwatch, since Talon is about creating chaos as a means of personal advancement, and Overwatch is about keeping everything under control. Symmetra, by contrast, is disconnected from everyone else in the narrative except for her link to Talon via Sanjay. Yet, she would seem to align with Overwatch more than with Talon, because of her dedication to perfection and order which Overwatch would similarly enforce and Talon would ache to disrupt.

This juxtaposition of Lucio and Symmetra’s views on order and chaos, with the greater narrative of Overwatch vs. Null Sector and/or Talon behind it, adds a layer of complexity to their character motivations that’s quite remarkable — if Blizzard ever tries to capitalize on it.

Where do you think Symmetra is going to fall in the conflict coming in Overwatch 2?

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