Overwatch was founded 30 years before the present day by the United Nations with aims of stopping the Omnics and putting an end to the Omnic Crisis. After the Crisis, the organization evolved into a global peacekeeping force and an engine for innovation, making advances in scientific fields ranging from space exploration to medical research. Overwatch later was shut down by the United Nations after a string of scandals and the deaths of two of its leaders. Despite the threat of prosecution, there was an attempt to recall the organization in order to rectify and pacify the growing global threats.
The Omnic Crisis and the founding of Overwatch
Overwatch was born at the lowest point for humanity during the Omnic Crisis. Omnics were originally built by the Omnica Corporation as a type of self-improving robot. The company was eventually dismantled due to fraud. And soon after, omnics turned against humans when God Program-infected omniums started building the omnics' rebel army.
The world fought back. Russia, the first country to be affected, produced giant, human-piloted mechs called Svyatogors to combat the Omnics. As the crisis spread to the rest of the world, other nations were forced to develop their own solutions. The United States created the Soldier Enhancement Program, and J08 produced Crusader armor for the Crusaders in Germany. However, no country could effectively fight back against the omnics.
As the last response to the worldwide threat, the United Nations formed an elite strike team named Overwatch. The team included Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes, "enhanced soldiers" from the United States; Torbjörn Lindholm, engineer and weapon designer from Sweden; Reinhardt Wilhelm, a Crusader from Germany; Ana Amari, an expert sniper from Egypt; and Liao (currently unknown affiliation and information).
While the United Nations retained authority over the team via a director, operational deployment of Overwatch agents and assets was the responsibility of the Strike Commander, which at that time was Gabriel Reyes, senior officer and closest friend of Jack Morrison. But for Overwatch, Morrison had a greater impact on the group in the long term. He brought out the best in team members and helped mold Overwatch's diverse (and sometimes conflicting) agents into a cohesive fighting force.
Under that strong cohesion, Overwatch was able to deploy decisive offensive operation against the bulk of the Omnic Army. Together with the rest of humanity's military force, Overwatch won the war, repelled the omnic threat and restored peace to the world, giving no doubt that the victory is largely due to the 6-man elite strike team.
Two decades of peacekeeping and scientific development
After the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch experienced a tremendous rise in prominence. New funding and resources gave the now-public organization far-reaching global influence. They had gathered many skilled, renowned, and amazingly talented fighters, scientists, and doctors from all over the world to form the ultimate organization of peacekeepers. With this grandeur change in their remit, the leadership of Overwatch turned to Jack Morrison, who was promoted to Strike Commander. Ana Amari became second-in-command after Morrison. Gabriel Reyes was assigned to lead the newly-formed Blackwatch, a secret covert team of Overwatch.
Many of Overwatch's prominent operatives joined during this period. One such was Dr. Angela Ziegler, a renowned medic from Switzerland known by her call sign Mercy. A peerless healer who lost her parents in the war, Mercy became Overwatch's head of medical research, seeking to leverage her work for healing on the front lines. Overwatch also welcomed Winston, a super-intelligent, genetically engineered gorilla from the overthrown Horizon Lunar Colony, as a scientist and soldier.
Of Blackwatch's roster, little is known. Many of them used to be criminals, such as Jesse McCree, a former member of the Deadlock Gang. McCree was captured after Overwatch raided the gang's base of operations, and he was given the option to join Overwatch or go to prison. Taking up Overwatch's offer, McCree was brought under the wing of Reyes. Another agent of Blackwatch was Genji Shimada, the youngest son of the felonious Shimada Clan. After his fight to the death with his brother, Genji was brought back to life in a cyborg body by Overwatch. He joined Blackwatch and joined the effort to bring down his former clan.
One of the high-ranking agents of Overwatch, Gérard Lacroix also spearheaded the organization's operations against Talon, an international terrorist organization. In retaliation, Talon had kidnapped Gérard's wife, Amélie Lacroix, after unsuccessful attempts to eliminate him. Eventually, Overwatch was able to retrieve her safely from Talon. Unexpectedly, two weeks later, she killed Gérard in his sleep and disappeared. For it was revealed that Talon had subjected her to an intense program of neural reconditioning and made her a sleeper agent. Amélie returned to Talon, and became one of the best assassins for the organization, now going by the name Widowmaker.
The seeds of the fall
As Overwatch achieved success after success in advancing humanity's scientific knowledge, keeping global peace and aiding in times of crisis and disaster, some began to question the wisdom of collecting so many powerful individuals under one umbrella with minimal oversight. Rumors of unethical or even criminal activity on the part of agents were fed by the group's unorthodox tactics and willingness to put saving lives over the authority of its UN director and even national sovereignty.
However, those who had operated in the core of Overwatch have pointed to the rift that opened between Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes after the former was promoted to Strike Commander and the latter demoted to Blackwatch commander as the true cause of Overwatch's fall from grace. Over time, Reyes began to resent Morrison more and more for receiving the public's attention while he received none. The tension became more pronounced as time went on. Other people, including Dr. Ziegler, tried to mend the relationship between the two leaders but to no avail. Reyes secretly fomented a rebellion within Overwatch, separating the organization into two sides. Some agents, including Jesse McCree, departed later rather than choose sides.
A new addition to Overwatch's agents roster appeared around this time under the name Lena "Tracer" Oxton. A malfunction during her test flight of the experimental Slipstream aircraft had cast Lena adrift in time. Thanks to Winston's development of the chronal accelerator, it not only anchored her in the present but also granted her the fantastic time-bending abilities. Shortly after she was transferred from flight operations to field combat training, Tracer later became one of Overwatch's most effective field agents.
Around this time, an uprising started in King's Row by the omnic extremist group Null Sector. Despite the prohibition of England's government, Commander Morrison sent a small team to intervene and rescue the hostages. The operation was successful but also badly smeared the name of Overwatch in public. Later, in an effort to bring down Talon, Winston apprehended "The Successor" Doomfist, one of the heads of Talon, with the help of Genji and Tracer. They managed to imprison Doomfist after he had defeated and gravely injured both Genji and Tracer. Overwatch also succeeded in bringing down the Shimada Clan, and Genji departed from the organization to resolve his inner conflict after his defeat.
Overwatch faced a heavy loss by Widowmaker in an operation for rescuing hostages from Talon. Whilst Captain Ana Amari eliminated Talon soldiers, her own team was engaged by an enemy sniper. The two snipers traded shots until Ana was able to catch the enemy a glancing blow that knocked the visor off - revealing the face of Amélie Lacroix. The shock of the realization about Amélie's survival gave Ana's opponent enough time to give her a fatal shot in the left eye. Captain Ana Amari was reported to be killed at that time.
The downfall of Overwatch
Soon, rumors became suspicions and then outright accusations against Overwatch of criminal activities. Controversial missions stoked public outrage, forcing some of the organization’s most celebrated agents to retire in disgrace. As time passed, it became harder to ignore, until one day, everything came to light when the existence of Blackwatch was revealed to public along with a series of revelations: negligence resulting in high-profile mission failures, corruption and mismanagement, weapons proliferation, and human rights abuses.
A special United Nations committee launched a lengthy and highly secretive investigation into the claims. Before the event could happen, Gabriel Reyes launched an attack on Morrison at Overwatch's Swiss Headquarters. The result of their clash caused an explosion large enough to destroy the headquarters. As no bodies of either Morrison or Reyes were discovered, the United Nations investigation announced the death of Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes and ruled the cause of the explosion as accidental; Commander Jack Morrison's empty grave rests in Arlington National Cemetery.
With its headquarters and leadership gone, the United Nations' official disbandment of Overwatch was largely ceremonial. However, the United Nations also proposed and ratified the Petras Act, which barred the now former agents of the organization from continuing Overwatch operations for it was deemed illegal and punishable by prosecution.
The dismantling of Overwatch led to an unforeseen tragedy at one of its operation bases. At Watchpoint: Antarctica, right at the time of the fall of Overwatch, a sudden, catastrophic polar storm battered the installation and cut it off from the outside world, leaving the facility damaged and six scientists stranded. The scientists, amongst them Mei-Ling Zhou, entered cryostasis in a last ditch effort to survive until rescue came, however rescue never came and all the scientists besides Mei perished.
Heroes never die
After the dismantling of Overwatch many of its agents became mercenaries, however multiple agents traveled the world, continuing their acts of helping the innocent and delivering justice. Examples of this are Dr. Ziegler, always being on the move, using her Valkyrie suit to heal the sick and wounded; McCree stopping a robbery at the Rikimaru restaurant in Hanamura as well as a train attack in United States; Reinhardt traveling around Europe with his companion, Brigitte, putting a stop to a gang that had been terrorizing small towns; Torbjörn halting a former friend's plot to use Titan, a mass destruction weapon, to gain money.
Tracer came to London to attend the speech of Tekhartha Mondatta, and discovered the plan of his assassination, by Talon's agent, Widowmaker. Although Widowmaker was interrupted and pursued by Tracer, she was successful in killing Tekhartha Mondatta and defeated Tracer by damaging her chronal accelerator. In the mean time, after his meeting with Tekhartha Zenyatta in Nepal, Genji was able to make peace with himself and accept his new body. He arrived at former Shimada clan castle to meet with his brother Hanzo at the anniversary of his death. Genji fought again with Hanzo and after the fight, he revealed himself. Genji forgave Hanzo and wanted him to let go of their past before he disappeared thereafter.
And a select few returned from the dead. Strike Commander Jack Morrison escaped death in the explosion of the headquarters, and for unknown reasons had gone into hiding. Donning a mask and a new persona, Soldier: 76, he infiltrated Watchpoint: Grand Mesa, a former base of Overwatch, and stole valuable technology and prototypes, including a Heavy Pulse Rifle, and wounded several Helix guards. He later executed a string of attacks across the world in order to hunt down the old enemies of Overwatch and shed light on the conspiracy that brought down this organization.
While Blackwatch Commander Gabriel Reyes narrowly survived the explosion at the Swiss Headquarters, his cells were altered to decay and regenerate at an increased rate. Regardless, he developed a new identity as Reaper and a new purpose: to hunt down and assassinate former Overwatch agents. Reaper had been working for Talon and rose to become one of its inner council leaders.
Second-in-command of Overwatch, Captain Ana Amari also survived Widowmaker's deadly shot. After a secret period of recovery and reflection on the lives she had taken, Ana decided to return to combat under the guise of Shrike to protect her loved ones and sent her daughter, Fareeha Amari, a letter to explain her disappearance. Soldier: 76 also had been trying to track down her activities for a long time. They finally met each other in Egypt, when Ana saved her old comrade from Reaper's trap. The trio recognized each other, resulting in the retreat of Reaper and the alliance of Ana and Soldier: 76.
Overwatch ended but its noble goal and heroic works seem to have inspired a new generation of unique individuals to employ their abilities in the name of peace and justice. Of note are Fareeha Amari, under the call sign Pharah, who continued to fight relentlessly to keep the peace in her mother's absence; Lúcio Correia dos Santos, a Brazilian DJ who shot to international fame after leading the populace of Rio de Janeiro against the cruel order imposed on the city by the Vishkar corporation; and Hana Song, under the name D.Va, a teenage former South Korean professional video gamer, who became a mech pilot to defend her country against an omnic threat.
Even though he remained in seclusion at the old Watchpoint: Gibraltar and busied himself with new inventions, no former agent of Overwatch held onto the heroism ideal of the organization more fiercely than the gorilla scientist Winston. Along with his only companion in exile, the Overwatch artificial intelligence Athena, Winston had continued monitoring the worsening state of the world. Although tempted on multiple occasions and reminded repeatedly over the years by Athena about the consequences of recalling Overwatch, Winston decided to take the risk after the base was attacked by Reaper and Talon. Though Winston managed to thwart the attack, information of the identities and whereabouts of Overwatch's agents was nearly stolen.
The recall signal delievered Winston's message to all former agents, among them are Tracer, Genji, McCree, Mercy, Torbjörn, and Reinhardt; Tracer immediately replied to Winston's call. The message also unintentionally activated the cryotasis chambers in the long-forgotten Watchpoint: Antarctica and woke up Mei. After realizing she was the lone survivor after a 9-year sleep and watching Winston's inspiring plead to a reunion of Overwatch, she set out along with 9 year's worth of data to save her beloved world again.
The reactivation of Overwatch was reported when Reaper and Widowmaker attacked an Overwatch museum in order to retrieve Doomfist's gauntlet. This attempt was thwarted by Winston and Tracer, with the help from two kids, Brian and Timmy. Although the brave actions of Winston and Tracer gave some people a hope for the current world, this confimation of return of Overwatch would be deemed illegal, and its agents, if caught, would be prosecuted in accordance with the Petras Act.
The return of Overwatch
Original Strike Team (Founders)
These members were recruited to combat the Omnic Crisis.
- Jack Morrison: Founder member, Strike Commander of Overwatch, field agent.
- Formerly a member of the USA's Soldier Enhancement Program. Promoted to Strike Commander after Omnic Crisis, and continued to be Overwatch's field agent. Was presumed to be dead at the Swiss Headquarters's explosion.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, he became a vigilante under the name "Soldier: 76". He went around the world, attacking former Overwatch's base, corrupted corporations and terrorist organizations to uncover the truth behind the fall of Overwatch. He has started to work alongside with his former and thought-to-be-dead second-in-command, Ana.
- Gabriel Reyes: Founder member, Blackwatch Commander, field agent.
- Formerly a member of the USA's Soldier Enhancement Program. Became first Strike Commander of Overwatch in Omnic Crisis. After the war, came to lead Blackwatch instead, continued to be field agent. Was presumed to be dead at the Swiss Headquarters's explosion.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, he survived and permanently assumed the identity "Reaper" since, hunting down former Overwatch agents. He had become Talon's inner council leader after Overwatch fell.
- Ana Amari: Founder member, Captain, Second-in-command, field agent.
- Formerly Egypt's expert sniper and decorated soldier, call sign "Horus". Promoted to Second-in-command after the Omnic Crisis and continued to be field agent. Was presumed to be killed by Widowmaker in a hostage rescue operation. In truth she was shot through her cybernetic right eye, and although heavily wounded, she survived. She had gone into seclusion for a long time.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, she came out of hiding, using the alias "Shrike". She has gone under a cover to sabotage Talon's operations in Egypt and started to work along with Soldier: 76.
- Torbjörn Lindholm: Founder member, Chief Engineer, field agent.
- An expert weapons designer from Sweden, formerly a member of Ironclad Guild. After the Omnic Crisis, continued to develop new technology and new weapons for Overwatch as its Chief Engineer. He continued to be field agent.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, all of his weapons were either stolen or stashed away. He had been working to keep track and prevent his technology falling into the wrong hands. Torbjörn Lindholm was near Moscow, Russia when Winston initiated the Recall.
- Reinhardt Wilhelm: Founder member, Lieutenant, field agent.
- Formerly a decorated German soldier and a Crusader. After the Omnic Crisis, continued to be field soldier until his fifties when he faced mandatory retirement.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, he kept the Crusader armor and travelled around Europe to continue to fight for justice with his friend, Brigitte. Reinhardt Wilhelm was in Nuuk, Greenland when Winston initiated the Recall.
- Liao: Founder member. No information about this person, except for their last name.
- Gabrielle Adawe: Under-secretary General of the United Nations who was responsible for the foundation of Overwatch.
Post-Omnic Crisis Members
- Petras: Director of Overwatch, he was the leader of the organization during its last year and it's likely the Petras Act was named after him.
- Prominent members
- Angela Ziegler: Head of Medical Research, field medic.
- A brilliant Swiss physiologist who spearheaded numerous advances in the field of applied nanobiology. Became Head of Medical Research. Combat applications of her studies, particularly in quickly healing and reviving downed soldiers, led to her additional role as field medic. She saved the life of Genji Shimada after the fight with his brother. Her call sign in Overwatch is "Mercy".
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, she kept her Valkyrie suit and traveled the world to help those who in need. Angela Ziegler was in Iraq when Winston initiated the Recall.
- Winston: Scientist, field agent.
- A survivor of the Horizon Lunar Colony uprising. Joined Overwatch and became their leading scientist, also a competent combatant. He saved the life of agent Lena Oxton by designing a chronal accelerator to stabilize her chronal disassociation. He was also known for his subjugation of Doomfist.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, chose to stay behind at Watchpoint: Gibraltar and guarded the information of Overwatch with Athena, continuing his research there. After an attack to the base Winston reactivated Overwatch and currently is the De Facto Leader of Overwatch.
- Lena Oxton: Field agent.
- Formerly an Overwatch pilot with fearless skills. Oxton suffered from chronal disassociation in an accident until she was saved by Winston. After that she became one of Overwatch's most effective combat agents. Her call sign in Overwatch is "Tracer".
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, she, along with other agents, was forced to cease any Overwatch-related operations. Lena Oxton was in London, England when she received the recall from Winston.
- Mei-Ling Zhou: Scientist (climatologist).
- A prominent climatologist who was assigned at Watchpoint: Antarctica. After a polar storm hit the base, resulting in the cut-off of communication and ration, the scientists decided to enter cryostasis to survive. A decade later, Mei-Ling Zhou was the only survivor.
- After waking up from cryostasis by Winston's recall message, Mei decided to bring her and her dead colleagues' data to the world, inspired by Winston's words. She is travelling around the world with her AI companion, Snowball.
- Gérard Lacroix: A high-ranking field agent who leading missions against Talon. Killed by his brainwashed wife, Amélie Lacroix.
- Jesse McCree: Blackwatch agent.
- Formerly a member of the Deadlock Gang who turned a new leaf in Blackwatch. McCree had been under Gabriel Reyes' command until he knew about the coup d'état originated within Blackwatch. At that point, he left Overwatch however still kept his own code of justice.
- After leaving Overwatch, he went to become a bounty hunter and vigilante, thus he has been wanted in several parts of the world. Jesse McCree was near Indiana or Kentucky, USA, when Winston initiated the Recall.
- Genji Shimada: : Blackwatch agent.
- The son of the former Shimada ninja clan's master. His life was saved by Angela Ziegler using Overwatch's high-tech prosthetics. The younger Shimada joined Blackwatch to bring down his old family and left at an unknown date.
- After leaving Overwatch, he went to the Shambali Monastery, Nepal to seek for the answer of his life. Genji Shimada was in Japan when Winston initiated the Recall.
- Moira O’Deorain: Blackwatch scientist (geneticist).
- Formerly an Overwatch scientist who worked in the field of genetics, she was cast out of the organization after her work was deemed too unethical. However, she was brought back by Reyes into Blackwatch, where she was allowed to continue her work. She modified Reyes' genetic makeup under his employ.
- After Overwatch fell, she continued her work with Talon, climbing up the ladder and finding herself a seat on the Council of Leaders.
- Fio: Blackwatch pilot.
- Other field agents
- Emre Sarioglu: Private First Class.
- Mentioned in the report for operation White Dome.
- Mirembe: Seen in Legacy and Recall.
- Kimiko: Seen in Legacy and Recall.
- Singh: Seen in Legacy. Killed by Widowmaker in a hostage rescue mission.
- Bayless: Seen in Legacy. Killed by Widowmaker in a hostage rescue mission.
- Al-Farouk: Seen in Legacy. Killed by Widowmaker in a hostage rescue mission.
- Soundquake: Mentioned in the Cinematic Trailer.
- Fusionator: Mentioned in the Cinematic Trailer.
- Ray: Pilot of the MV-261 Orca.
- Lt. Maria Estrada: Pilot of the OSS-7 Aurora found on Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Other scientists
- Adams : A researcher stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Killed by malfunctioned cryostasis chamber.
- MacReady : An engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Killed by malfunctioned cryostasis chamber.
- Opara : A cryonics engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Killed by malfunctioned cryostasis chamber.
- Torres : A cryonics engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Killed by malfunctioned cryostasis chamber.
- Arrhenius : A climatologist stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Killed by malfunctioned cryostasis chamber.
- Other members
- Bowden: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Sparks: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Pinto: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Rogers: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Klevstav: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Klimas: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Eulaers: Had a locker at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
Bases of Operation
- Swiss Headquarters: Located in Switzerland. It was destroyed right before the end of Overwatch. Used to be the base operation of Jack Morrison and Angela Ziegler.
- Watchpoint: Gibraltar: Located at the Rock of Gibraltar. Used to be the base operation of Winston.
- Watchpoint: Antarctica: Located in Antartica. One of Overwatch's eco-Watchpoints. Decommissioned after a catastrophic polar storm that led to the death of almost all its scientists. Used to be the base operation of Mei-Ling Zhou.
- Watchpoint: Grand Mesa: Located in the United States of America. It was under guard by Helix Security International. They failed to stop the infiltration of Soldier: 76, resulting in the loss of several valuable technology and prototypes.
- Arequipa: Located in Peru. No information about this base.
- Oslo, Norway: Unnamed facilities in Oslo, Norway. Suffered damage in a Talon attack organized by Antonio.
- Rome, Italy: Blackwatch facility. Was destroyed in a Talon attacked organized by Antonio.
- Omnics: The group of robots who turned against humanity during the Omnic Crisis. It is unknown how Overwatch treated omnics since, but it's noted that Overwatch has accepted them into their ranks. It should also be noted that Overwatch was meant to keep the peace between omnics and humans.
- Null Sector: An Omnic Extremist group that performed terrorist acts in the name of Omnic rights. They were responsible for the attack on King's Row 7 years ago. It is unknown if they are currently still active.
- Talon: A terrorist organization that have attempted to kill members of Overwatch multiple times. Notable member of Talon includes Widowmaker, the former wife of Gérard Lacroix; "The Successor" Doomfist, inner council's leader.
- Shimada Clan: Genji was hired by Overwatch to help in operations against this clan of assassins.
- Deadlock Gang: Though Blackwatch was assigned to dismantle these weapon trafficking outlaws, little progress was made.
- Several unknown parties:
- An unknown party in Cairo, mentioned in Uprising (digital comic)
- An unknown party in Dorado, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story (possibly Los Muertos)
- An unknown party in Paris, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story
- An unknown party in Rio de Janeiro, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story
- An unknown party in Seattle, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story
- ↑ Train Hopper
- ↑ Dragon Slayer
- ↑ Destroyer
- ↑ Alive
- ↑ Dragons
- ↑ Ana Origin Story
- ↑ Old Soldiers
- ↑ Recall (Animated Short)
- ↑ Rise and Shine
- ↑ Cinematic Trailer
- ↑ https://twitter.com/westofhouse/status/985314753189826560
|Members||Founders||Jack Morrison • Gabriel Reyes • Ana Amari • Reinhardt Wilhelm • Torbjörn Lindholm • Liao|
|Agents||Mercy • Winston • Tracer • Gérard Lacroix|
|Blackwatch||McCree • Genji • Moira|
|Other||Mei • Director Petras • Mirembe • Kimiko • Singh • Bayless • Al-Farouk • Soundquake • Fusionator|
|Media||Shorts||Cinematic Trailer • Recall • King's Row Uprising Origin Story • Doomfist Origin Story • Rise and Shine • Honor and Glory|
|Comics||Legacy • Junkenstein • Uprising • Retribution|
|Articles||Fading Glory • Overwatch is Back|
|Lore||Bases||Swiss Headquarters • Watchpoint: Gibraltar • Ecopoint: Antarctica • Watchpoint: Grand Mesa|
|Vehicles||MV-261 Orca • OSS-7 Aurora|
|Enemies||Omnic Rebel Army • Talon • Null Sector • Shimada Clan • Deadlock Gang|
|Missions||Omnic Crisis • Uprising|