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For the graphic novel of the same name, see Overwatch: The Omnic Crisis

Families were torn apart as people tried to escape the devastation. I remembered city blocks being destroyed in surprise nighttime raids. We couldn’t see the moon or the stars, just the sinister blinking red lights and dark shapes that somehow seemed darker than the night sky overhead and were quickly blotted out by bright white explosions. There was no time to escape to the shelters. You had to find cover wherever you could, if you could. The sound was deafening. The smoke was suffocating. The fear was overwhelming.
~ Angela Ziegler, reflecting on her experiences during the war
Omnic Crisis

Global human-omnic conflict
Human victory

The Omnic Crisis was a rebellion by the omnics against their human creators,[1] decades before the present day.[2] It has since been referred to as "one of the greatest threats to the survival of our species since the Cold War of the 20th century."[3] It was considered a world war.[4]



The Omnics launch their attack

In the modern day, some believe that the origins of the Omnic Crisis lie in unchecked desire for scientific advancement.[5] But more specifically, the war's origins lie with the Omnica Corporation, and the omniums they had created.[6] The omniums and their robot populations had been created to bolster manufacturing and create economic equality worldwide.[7] However, when Omnica was shut down after evidence of fraud, the omniums were shut down. It therefore came as such a surprise when these defunct, dismantled omniums woke themselves back up and immediately launched a military campaign against all of humanity,[6] churning out legions of militarized robots.[3] The omnics also hijacked pre-existing technology such as the Titan walker, and converted it into a weapon of war.[8] The world reeled at the appearance of this new enemy, as the omnics waged a war to overthrow the human race.[3]

Course of the War[]

The king's palace was burned, and it added beauty to it.
~ Efi Oladele's grandfather, in light of his service during the war

The uprisings were on a global scale,[2] as cities all over the world were attacked.[9] The conflict also had the effect of sparking civil unrest.[10] Bastion combat units formed the bulk of the omnics' forces.[11]

The omnics advance

The nations of the world sent their armed forces against the omnics, and utilized their own technologies to combat the threat.[9] This was a war many countries thought they were prepared to fight. But no single country, no matter how powerful its military, could permanently shut down a single omnium. The adaptability of robots, once celebrated by humanity, had become a tactical nightmare. Worst of all, there were no demands from the omnics. There was no ideological reason for their aggression. They simply attacked, and no-one could understand why. No country was able to secure its own territory[6] and the omnics were able to take over the world.[9] Russia was an exception in that it was able to defeat the omnics by itself.[12] The German military did achieve a victory of its own at Eichenwalde, though at the cost of all the Crusaders present at the battle.[13]

Humanity takes the offensive

But some soldiers and strategists showed remarkable ingenuity in acclimating to this new brand of warfare. The United Nations covertly brought a few of these unique minds together to form a small, nimble team, aimed at striking significant blows against omnic strongholds.[6] Named Overwatch, this was an international taskforce;[14] that would wage asymmetrical warfare against the omnics.[3] In highly secretive missions, they targeted the omnics' command and control protocols. After great sacrifice and heroism in a series of dangerous raids, they destroyed it all,[6] taking out the force behind the uprising,[9] rendering the omnic armies inert. The Omnic Crisis had finally come to an end.[6]


In honor of the fallen during the darkness. Until the darkest night gives way before dawn, may they be reborn in the light, and never be forgotten.
~ A commemoration of the conflict in Dorado

Peaceful relations?

Humanity struck peace with the surviving omnics,[4] and peace accords were signed.[15] The Bastion combat units that had served the omnics were rounded up and destroyed bar one.[11] Casualty figures for humanity were somewhere in the tens of millions,[16] and by the war's end, 30 million children had been left orphaned. Numerous groups, including mercenary organizations, were left poised to profit from the war's aftermath.[17] In the United States, millions were left displaced, and were left to find new places to live or at least, steady work.[18]

A generation has passed since the end of the war.[1] The conflict had the effect of changing the world landscape,[9] and a financial crisis was experienced in the war's aftermath.[19] But even now, tensions between omnics and humans remain because of the conflict.[1] Australia was one such example, as the country's omnics were given land within the Outback that led to the creation of the Australian Liberation Front, sparking civil unrest that led to the omnium's destruction, and consequently, irradiation of the country's center.[20] The people of Mexico refer to the conflict as "la Medianoche" (lit. "The Midnight")[21] and the city of Dorado holds a regular celebration that commemorates the end of the conflict.[22] While heavily affected by the war, in its aftermath, Russia experienced a period of rapid growth as its mechanized labor industry was revitalized.[23]

In the present day, tensions between humans and omnics have never been higher, particularly after the assassination of the omnic spiritual leader Tekhartha Mondatta.[6] Nowhere are tensions higher than in King's Row.[22] Russia is currently in the midst of a second crisis.[24]

Numbani, however, is an exception to these tensions, which was founded by Gabrielle Adawe in a bid to abet the peace process between humans and omnics.[25] Here, they live together in peace.[26]


The following continents and countries are known to have been affected by the Omnic Crisis:


The Omnic Crisis

  • The Omnic Crisis was made up on the spot as development of Overwatch was carried out, rather than being pre-planned lore.[34] It has been indicated that Blizzard wants to keep the details of the Omnic Crisis vague, in order to allow the fanbase to develop their own theories.[35]
  • According to Reinhardt's hero page, the Omnic Crisis occurred over 30 years before the present day.[2] According to Orisa's hero page, the conflict occurred 20 years ago.[36] According to Michael Chu, the Omnic Crisis occurred 25 years before the events of the game, "give or take a few years."[37] However, Zarya’s hero page says that it started “some 30 years ago.[38] Making it likely that the Omnic Crisis began 30 years before the events of the game, and ended twenty to twenty-five years before the events of the game. This however, has not been confirmed by canon sources, and remains speculation.
  • In The Hero of Numbani, Efi Oladele reflects on what the Crisis "had stolen away from tens of millions of people." This is not necessarily the number of casualties however, since the comment is made in the context of her mother's lingering trauma.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zenyatta, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2014-11-24
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Reinhardt, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2015-02-15
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 2015-07-07, Fading Glory: On the Trail of Jack Morrison. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-07-07
  4. 4.0 4.1 2017-3-2, Developer Update | Introducing Orisa | Overwatch, Youtube.
  5. [httpd://playoverwatch.com/en-us/heroes/moira/ Moira], Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-04-11
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 2015-05-27, [httpd://playoverwatch.com/en-us/blog/20130523 Overwatch is Back: Uncertainty and Hope After UN Confirms Vigilante Activity]. Blizzard Entertainment., accessed on 2016-5-27
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Fading Glory
  8. Overwatch: Torbjörn: Destroyer
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 2015-11-24, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Unveiled Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-03-03
  10. 10.0 10.1 2014-11-07, Overwatch Cinematic Trailer. YouTube, accessed on 2014-11-30
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bastion, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2015-03-08
  12. 2015-11-07, THE WORLD OF OVERWATCH. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-11-17
  13. 13.0 13.1 2016-08-16, Eichenwalde | New Map Preview | Overwatch. Youtube, accessed on 2016-08-16.
  14. Overwatch: Game, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2014-11-26
  15. 2017-08-26, Overwatch PTR 1.15 – Numbani Posters, Museum, and Payload Updated. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2017-08-28
  16. The Hero of Numbani
  17. 17.0 17.1 Baptiste, Play Overwatch. Accessed on 2019-03-10
  18. Overwatch: Deadlock Rebels
  19. Lúcio, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2015-08-14
  20. 20.0 20.1 Roadhog, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2015-23-09
  21. 21.0 21.1 2016-05-18, LUMÉRICO VISION FOR MEXICO UNVEILED, BUT THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY REMAIN. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2016-05-19
  22. 22.0 22.1 2015-11-07, THE WORLD OF OVERWATCH. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-11-17
  23. Overwatch Visual Source Book
  24. Recall
  25. Plaque honoring Gabrielle in Adawe International Terminal
  26. 2015-08-08, GAMESCOM LIVESTREAM PANEL W/ THE DEVS. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-08-22
  27. 2020-06-18, The new Overwatch novel puts Efi, Orisa, and Numbani on center stage. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2020-07-19
  28. Ana, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2016-07-12
  29. Symmetra, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2015-03-09
  30. 30.0 30.1 Zarya, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2016-06-29
  31. Valkyrie
  32. 2022-04-13, Sojourn Origin Story YouTube. Accessed on 2022-04-15
  33. 2016-03-16, EXPLORING THE WORLD OF OVERWATCH. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2016-11-23
  34. 2015-12-10, How Blizzard is making up Overwatch's story as it goes. PC Gamer, accessed on 2015-12-24
  35. 2017-05-17, Canceled Overwatch graphic novel would have limited the universe, director says. Polygon, accessed on 2017-05-18
  36. Orisa, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-03-02
  37. "The game takes place around 60 years in the future. The Omnic Crisis was about 25 years before that. (Give or take a few years.)" Michael Chu, Overwatch Forums.
  38. Zarya, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2020-05-24