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Better. Stronger. Faster. Smarter. What's next for humanity?
~ Tomorrow, reporting on omnics
Omnics


Spray Omnic Rights


Omnics are artificially intelligent robots produced by omniums.[1]

Background[ | ]

I did not realize omnics could die. You are machines; I had assumed you could replace parts.
In theory, yes. But replacement parts have yet to be found for a soul, be it human...or omnic.
~ Satya Vaswani and Zenyatta
Tomorrow

A report on omnics, showing the humanoid model

Omnics were originally non-sentient.[2] Neuroplasticity allowed them to learn within the limitations of their programming, but they were not sentient beings. True decision making was beyond even the most advanced omnic models, and fail-safes and inbuilt limitations were installed to avoid the possibility of any form of rebellion. The first sentient omnic was Aurora, who granted sentience to other omnics through the Awakening.[3] In the present day, for a robot to be considered an omnic, they must have free will and intelligence.[4]

It is possible for omnics to go "feral," at least according to The Legend of the Junker Queen.[5]

Omnics, even humanoid models, have been described as being better, stronger, faster, and smarter than humans.[6] However, they are susceptible to the effects of an EMP[7] and can be hacked.[8] Advanced AI programs known as god programs, such as Anubis, can forcibly take control of otherwise independent omnics and bend them to their will.[9] Some omnics, if not all, possess a unique form of energy, dubbed "omnic energy," which has both destructive and restorative properties; Zenyatta's orbs were designed to channel this energy.[10]

Omnic emotions are hard for humans to read.[11] At least some omnics are capable of dreaming.[12] Around 90% of currently existing omnics are humanoid in design.[13]

Nomenclature[ | ]

The term "omnic" has changed in meaning over time. Prior to the Omnic Crisis, the term had become synonymous with many types of robots. More specifically however, the term was more readily applied to humanoid models produced by Omnica, such as the AT301 and Z550. In the present day, the term has come to describe the race of sentient people that emerged from the Awakening, the majority of which are humanoid models. Omnics who gained sentience from this event are sometimes referred to as "Awakened."[3]

Null Sector is a case in point of the sentience distinction—the warbots produced by Null Sector in its global invasion were not considered omnics, as they were manufactured after the Omnic Crisis, and had no will nor mind of their own.[14]

Omnics are sometimes derogatorialy called "tin cans" or "warbots" by humans,[15] though the latter term was used exclusively to refer to omnics specifically designed for war during the Omnic Crisis.[16] In the present day, the term "warbot" is generally reserved for non-humanoid omnics when describing the events of the Crisis.[3]

Culture[ | ]

Mondatta taught us that we are all one. When an omnic dies, the whole of us are that much smaller. When one of us ceases to be, a part of us ceases to be. We hold onto what we have lost. We keep it close to remind us. Of the part of us we have lost. To remind us of what was once, of who we are.
~ Iggy during an omnic funeral
Omnic Funeral

An omnic funeral

According to the Shambali, omnics possess souls.[17] Whatever the truth of the claim, it is indeed the case that while an omnic can be given replacement parts or repaired, if an omnic is 'killed,' they will not come back.[11] Post-Omnic Crisis, the baseline humanoid omnic can't be built or replaced, so the number of omnics in this category is fated to be reduced over time. Ergo, every loss of this type of omnic is keenly felt. At least in some cases, omnics will conduct funerals for their fallen, and in the ceremony, graft part of the metal of the fallen onto the body of an omnic close to the deceased.[18][19]

A number of omnics have attempted to relate to humans. This can be seen in their use of clothing, collection of items, etc.[13]

Omnics have a written language called Omnicode.[20] Omnic music also exists, though some omnics possess no interest in (human) music.[21] Others however, are wary of embracing human culture, fearing that they'll lose what makes them omnic.[22] Some omnics have trouble understanding humans at all.[11]

History[ | ]

Pre-Crisis[ | ]

The concept of an automated machine existed long before it was actually realized. In the 21st century however, innovations in robotics manufacturing, automation, and self-improving software gave the Omnica Corporation a monopoly over the market.[3] Omnics were in used by 2030.[23] The term "omnic" was used as a blanket term to describe the many types of robots Omnica produced, and over time, omnics became increasingly ubiquitous in human society.[3]

The proliferation of omnics met resistance in some corners. The strongest resistance came from the Ironclad Guild, and most specifically from Torbjörn Lindholm. He argued that any creature made by humanity would accumulate humanity's worst attributes. He asked what would happen when machines became advanced enough to make their own choices and enact their own repairs. Omnica responded by pointing out that their machines were not sentient, and it was unlikely they ever would be. True decision making and rebellion were beyond even their most advanced models, and fail-safes had been put in place, along with inbuilt limitations. With their critics placated, however temporarily, the use of omnics continued to increase.[3] The omnics of this period were not sentient, and were regarded as property.[2] In the United States, omnics could be wagered and sold between humans.[24] A number of people lost their jobs to omnics.[3]

As Omnica continued to grow, Omnica took the next step by commissioning the omniums. Domestic robots were in high demand, but factories staffed by human workers were prone to delays, not to mention that humans required sleep. Omniums would streamline the process, leading to better supply and lower overhead.[3] The omniums were later shut down after investigations uncovered evidence of corporate fraud.[1][25] However, omnics remained in use by humans even after the omniums were shut down.[2]

The Omnic Crisis[ | ]

Sydney

The Omnic Crisis

Nearly thirty years before the present day, the defunct omniums went rogue and churned out legions of militarized robots which attacked human cities in an event called the Omnic Crisis.[26] Anubis took control of omnics[2] on a global scale, directing them to attack their human creators. After this was done, the majority of the omnics' forces consisted of war machines.[16]

Ultimately the omnics were defeated.[1]

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Post-Crisis[ | ]

The fact that we exist...is a miracle unto itself. We have studied the ways of peace and harmony. We have meditated on the universe and our place within it. We have tried to coexist with humanity, but humanity is not interested in sharing their world. How many more omnics should perish to fuel mankind's dreams? No more. Our race is only a single generation - finite, and dying all too quickly.
~ Ramattra
Omnic Oppression

Omnic treatment in the United Kingdom

After the Crisis, and because of Aurora's actions, omnics (or more specifically, humanoid models) were now sentient.[3] Omnics and humans alike advocated for omnic civil rights, and sometime after the war's end, the United Nations granted omnics legal personhood.[3] They were declared as independent beings, and it was forbidden to treat them as property.[2] However, legal battles within countries continued to persist.[3]

In the years after the Crisis, human-omnic relations continued to deteriorate. Doctor Mina Liao noted that people were as scared of omnics as ever, in a time when they seemed more human than ever. Violence against omnics increased in frequency, and more governments cut down on omnic rights and freedoms.[27] Despite laws existing to protect omnics, many humans did not see them as true beings, and treated them as slaves. In this time period, the Shambali were formed, and manufacturing omnics walked off the job in London, claiming they "heard the music" and seeking to find meaning in life.[27] By the time period after the Crisis, the US had outlawed wagering and selling omnics, though the practice continued in criminal circles.[24]

Growing Tensions[ | ]

Omnic-shot

Anti-omnic violence

Even a generation after the conflict, tensions between humans and omnics remained,[17] though other types of robots remained common.[26] Because of the inability to create new omnics, their numbers dropped steadily, in part due to human violence against them.[19] Many omnics fought back in secret, but this did little to change their fortunes.[28] Many omnics pinned their hopes on the Shambali in getting them better treatment from humans.

Human-omnic relations were a hot topic in the world, with questions existing as to whether omnics actually possessed rights, and what would happen if they received the right to vote;[29] omnic voting rights varied by country.[30] Places where omnics enjoyed equality with humans were the exception rather than the rule. Aside from Numbani, omnics were generally relegated to blue collar work at best.[31] In some, if not all countries and/or establishments, omnics were forbidden from taking part in games of chance (e.g. gambling), due to their ability to easily gauge probabilities.[32]

In the United Kingdom, omnics were denied basic human rights,[10] and riots flared up in King's Row.[33] In Junkertown, Australia, omnics were thrown into the Scrapyard, to be destroyed for the amusement of the crowds.[34] Null Sector was formed with the goal of creating a better future for omnics,[19] though resorted to violence, such as the King's Row Uprising.[35]

Omnic gang

An anti-human omnic gang

In the five year period following the disbandment of Overwatch, tensions between humans and omnics had never been higher, particularly after the assassination of the omnic spiritual leader Tekhartha Mondatta,[1] whose death set off a wave of human-omnic violence across the globe.[8] At the same time, in Russia, omnics continued to wage against humans, in what was called a "Second Omnic Crisis."[36]

Numbani was an exception to the omnics' global woes, as they lived peacefully with humans in the city[37] where they enjoy equal rights and have access to the same kinds of roles available for humans.[31]

Null Sector[ | ]

One year after the death of Mondatta,[38] Null Sector launched a global assault. A number of omnics went rogue (it is unclear if this was voluntary or coerced), though regardless, a number of omnics strove to remain neutral. Null Sector launched an assault on Toronto, where they attacked the humans living there, and began to abduct the city's omnics, "liberating" them. Toronto was intended to be a demonstration to the world that humans had treated omnics as servants as far too long, and now, the whirlwind was being reaped.[39]

Omnic Individuals[ | ]

You don't understand, Tracer. You can't. When one of you is gone, another comes into the world. We are all we have.
~ Iggy
Omnic2

An omnic

Criminals[ | ]

Entertainers and Artists[ | ]

Formula Lux Racers[ | ]

Null Sector[ | ]

Shambali Monks[ | ]

Omnic Models[ | ]

Gwishin[ | ]

Gwisin

Gwishin drones

Null Sector[ | ]

Omnic Crisis[ | ]

OR14

An Omnic Crisis-era omnic

Shimada Clan[ | ]

Misc. Types[ | ]

OR15 Orisa Origin Story

OR15s

Fictional[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • Out-of-universe, exactly what counts as an omnic has been dubious at times. In 2017, in a broad sense, the term was a general way of referring to any kind of robot in the setting.[42] Since then, the term has become more specific (as described in the article's nomenclature section).
  • Omnic archeology is an archeological specialization within the universe of Overwatch.[43]

Development[ | ]

Omnic nanny

The omnic nanny artwork

  • The idea for omnics didn't exist until Zenyatta was created as a hero. After his creation, questions were raised as to whether other similar robots existed like Zenyatta, and if so, what was their story? A piece of artwork created by Laurel Austin was a distinct point in their development, as it showed a magazine cover photo of a nanny omnic and little girl, the latter distraught over the former having been gunned down. The image demonstrated that the relationship between humans and omnics was not always congenial, and the concept came to define much of the game's in-universe history.[13]
  • King's Row was another case in point. On the map, anti-omnic graffiti can be found. This is another case of human animus towards omnics being hinted at before the establishment of a solidified backstory.[13]
  • Early on, one of the most pressing issues for the development team was to give players a reason to care about omnics. It was one thing to call them sentient, it was another to generate fan investment. The answer came from relatability; to give omnics individual personalities which would be translated through their aesthetic and visual design. For humanoid omnics, this was demonstrated through elements such as their clothing and their relationships, conveying the idea that even if omnics aren't human, they're trying to relate to humanity.[13]

References[ | ]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 2015-05-27, Overwatch is Back: Uncertainty and Hope After UN Confirms Vigilante Activity. Blizzard Entertainment., accessed on 2016-5-27
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Ramattra: Reflections
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Overwatch: Declassified
  4. Overwatch 2, Communications
  5. Junker Queen Origin Story
  6. Rise and Shine
  7. 2014-11-24, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Unveiled Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-03-10
  8. 8.0 8.1 Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani
  9. Overwatch: Pharah: Mission Statement
  10. 10.0 10.1 Overwatch Visual Source Book
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Stone By Stone
  12. Overwatch 2, Zenyatta Quotes
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Forging Worlds: Stories Behind the Art of Blizzard Entertainment
  14. Overwatch 2, Communications
  15. GENESIS Part One: Dawn
  16. 16.0 16.1 Overwatch 2: Sojourn
  17. 17.0 17.1 Zenyatta, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2014-11-24
  18. Tracer—London Calling Issue 3
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Ramattra Origin Story
  20. 2017-05-16, Overwatch Lore - Michael Chu Reddit A.M.A Summary! | Hammeh. YouTube, accessed on 2017-05-18
  21. Tracer—London Calling Issue 1
  22. Tracer—London Calling Issue 2
  23. Overwatch, Numbani
  24. 24.0 24.1 Overwatch: Deadlock Rebels
  25. 2015-07-07, Fading Glory: On the Trail of Jack Morrison. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-07-07
  26. 26.0 26.1 2015-11-24, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Unveiled Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-03-03
  27. 27.0 27.1 2020-03-16, PlayOverwatch Twitter, Twitter. Accessed on 2020-03-16
  28. Ramattra, PlayOverwatch. Accessed on 2022-12-16
  29. 2015-11-07, THE WORLD OF OVERWATCH. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-11-17
  30. 2018-11-06, Michael Chu's Twitter, Twitter. Accessed on 2018-11-06.
  31. 31.0 31.1 2020-06-18, The new Overwatch novel puts Efi, Orisa, and Numbani on center stage. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2020-07-19
  32. Doomfist: Masquerade
  33. 2016-02-05, Overwatch Cinematic Teaser | "Are You With Us?". YouTube, accessed on 2016-05-04
  34. 2017-08-21, Junkertown | New Escort Map | Overwatch. YouTube, accessed on 2017-08-22
  35. Tracer: Uprising
  36. Recall
  37. 2015-08-08, GAMESCOM LIVESTREAM PANEL W/ THE DEVS. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-08-22
  38. 2019-11-16, 110 Rapid-Fire Questions With Overwatch 2's Jeff Kaplan. YouTube, accessed on 2022-10-31
  39. 2023-06-12, Exclusive First Hands-On With The PvE Story Missions. Game Informer, accessed on 2023-06-19
  40. Michael Chu on Twitter - accessed on 2016-06-03
  41. 2017-03-03, Michael Chu Battle.net Forums- accessed on 2017-03-08
  42. 2017-04-29, Thinking Globally: Building the Optimistic Future of Overwatch. YouTube, accessed on 2017-04-29
  43. Overwatch 2, Venture Quotes
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