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Characters of Overwatch

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A promotional image of the 27 different playable characters on the second anniversary of release for Overwatch[a]

The team-based first person shooter video game Overwatch, developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in May 2016, currently features 28 playable characters (heroes) and a number of supporting characters as part of the game's narrative, which is told through animated media and digital comics outside of the game.

The story of Overwatch takes place on Earth in the "near future" in the years after the "Omnic Crisis," a period in which robots (called "omnics") rose up in rebellion worldwide, and the United Nations formed an elite group called Overwatch to combat them. Overwatch was disbanded years later under a cloud of suspicion, but its former members have returned to the fore in light of new threats to humanity. Blizzard wanted to create a diverse set of characters to reflect a positive outlook on this near future, incorporating non-human characters and non-standard character traits. The game was launched with 21 characters, with 7 more added since launch.

Eight characters, Lúcio, Tracer, Zarya, Genji, D.Va, Ana, Junkrat, and Hanzo have appeared as playable heroes within Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena crossover game, Heroes of the Storm.[1][2][3]

Gameplay overview

Overwatch is primarily a online team-oriented first-person shooter, and an example of a "hero shooter" where players select from one of several pre-designed hero characters with their own unique abilities. Overwatch includes casual play modes, competitive ranked play modes, and various arcade modes where special rules apply. Most game modes bring together two teams of six players each into a match and compete in one of several objective-based game types based on the randomly selected map, including taking control points and escorting a payload.

A match starts with each player selecting from one of the available hero characters. The game's characters are divided into three character classes: damage, tank, and support.[b] Offense characters do the majority of the team's aggressive damage. Defense characters are equipped to guard the objective and halt the enemy's advance. Tank characters can absorb large amounts of damage for the team, and support characters share healing abilities and similar status effects for the team or against enemies.[5][6] The game will warn teams if they have an imbalance in their general class selection, and certain game modes require players to select different heroes. Players are able to switch between heroes mid-match after they are killed or if they return to their team's base.

Each hero character has fundamentally different attributes such as health and movement speed, at least one basic attack, and at least one unique skill, collectively referred to as a skill kit. These skills can be used repeatedly after waiting out the skill's cooldown period. Each character also has at least one powerful ultimate ability that becomes available once its meter is charged, either slowly over time or through other actions such as killing opponents or healing teammates. Once the ultimate ability is used, the player has to wait for the meter to fill again.

Winning matches earns the player experience towards experience levels in the meta-game. The player earns a loot box on reaching a new experience level, which contain a random assortment of character skins, emotes, speech lines, and other cosmetic items for each character without specific game-changing effects. Players can also purchase loot boxes with real-world money. Blizzard has provided free post-release content for the game, such as new levels and characters.[7] Blizzard has also introduced limited-time seasonal events, offering new cosmetic items in loot boxes, themed levels, and gameplay modes.[8]

Character overview

Overwatch originally featured 12 characters at its November 2014 BlizzCon convention announcement,[9] but expanded to 21 by the next year's convention.[10] The game is character-driven, and reviewers noted Overwatch's emphasis on the individual differences between characters in the same class (e.g., between two snipers) as a departure from dominant class-based shooter paradigms.[11][12] Critics widely praised the game's accessible and detailed character design and its role in the game's overall success.[13][14][15][16][17]

Similar to Valve's initial launch of Team Fortress 2,[18] in the absence of a dedicated story mode, Blizzard tells the backstory of Overwatch's plot and characters through media outside the game, including animated shorts, character press events, tweets, and webcomics.[19][20] The game's story centers around a technological singularity in which humanity assembles a team of its best heroes, Overwatch, to fight off a rogue artificial intelligence and its robotic army of Omnics in an incident called the "Omnic Crisis". After winning its battle, the Overwatch kept the peace for about three decades before infighting led to its disbandment. The game takes place approximately sixty years in the future, during a time period in which the world is slipping into disarray, and former Overwatch members along with new allies, as well as enemies, are being called on to help protect the peace in their respective favors. Among Overwatch's enemies include Talon, a global criminal network seeking wealth and power.[19][21]

In early 2016, Blizzard released media kits with granular character detail for fan artists and cosplayers.[22] Preceding the game's launch, PornHub reported a surge in searches for pornography including Overwatch characters. An intellectual property security firm issued multiple takedown requests to sites featuring such videos and other erotica created in Source Filmmaker.[23]

Development

Overwatch was developed by Blizzard following the cancellation of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game Titan, a project that had been in works for several years. A smaller team from those on Titan were given the role to come up with a new project, and they came onto the idea of a first-person shooter that emphasized teamwork, inspired by Team Fortress 2 and the rising popularity of multiplayer online battle arenas, as well as their own development team unity they found to keep their morale high following Titan's cancellation.[24]

The development team settled on a narrative of a near-future Earth setting following a global-scale catastrophic event - the Omnic Crisis in which robots, known as Omnics, rose up in rebellion against humanity until stopped by a peacekeeping group known as Overwatch. With selection of this global theme, the developers wanted to create a cast of playable characters to portray diverse representations of genders, ages, ethnicities, and nationalities. The heroes include human, transhuman, and non-human characters such as cyborgs, robots, and a gorilla.[25][26] The need for a diverse cast was important to the developers, as some of Blizzard's previous games had been criticized before for missing this mark; Metzen explained that even his daughter had asked him why all the female characters from Warcraft seemed to be only wearing swimsuits.[26] Metzen stated: "Specifically for Overwatch over the past year we've been really cognizant of that, trying not to oversexualize the female characters."[27] Kaplan explained that the industry was "clearly in an age where gaming is for everybody", going on to say that "increasingly, people want to feel represented, from all walks of life, boys and girls, everybody. We feel indebted to do our best to honor that."[26] In addition, Blizzard stated at the 2016 Blizzcon that some of the characters are LGBT, though did not specify which ones at that time.[28] Blizzard has stated that " As with any aspect of our characters' backgrounds, their sexuality is just one part of what makes our heroes who they are."[29] Since then, Tracer has been shown to be in a romantic relationship with another woman through one of the tie-in comics published online by Blizzard.[30]

The team envisioned the characters akin to superheroes in this narrative, each with their own abilities, background and personality that could stand on their own, but could also fit into the larger story; this notion translated into the characters being agents for the game, which Metzen said still captures the "heroism and vibe" that superhero stories carry.[31] The team did not want to have any characters that served solely as villains in the game, but did develop some of the characters, like Soldier 76, to have an unsure purpose within the narrative.[31]

Several characters were envisioned for the game during its pre-planning stages, but did not make the cut, or were later incorporated into other heroes. Among characters that were considered included a jetpack-wearing cat, a hockey player that used rocket-power skates, and a Russian woman that would ride a bear and for which her ultimate ability would have the bear rear up and wield his own set of AK-47 guns. Initially, Reinhardt was an Omnic, but later was settled to be a human character, with the Omnic nature later revisited when the development team crafted Orisa.[32]

Characters introduced since the game's release are generally teased a few weeks in advance or given a cold surprise announcement. The only exception to this had been Sombra, who had been teased by a months-long alternate reality game (ARG) prior to her formal announcement. Blizzard found players reacted negatively to this deployment, and have opted to avoid this type of prolonged teasing for future characters.[33] Blizzard will still seed upcoming hero characters into the game's announcement media but without making comments towards that, anticipating players would find these before the character is officially announced; for example, the 26th hero Moira had appeared in at least two works prior to her announcement.[34] Once a character is announced, they are typically made available on the "Public Test Region" (PTR) for Windows players to try out and help provide feedback to Blizzard. Once Blizzard is satisfied with the PTR character, typically a period lasting two to three weeks, the character is then released to all players on all regions and platforms, outside of competitive play, as to give players a chance to learn the character. Roughly a week following this, the new character then becomes available for competitive play mode.[35]

Character powers are frequently tweaked and adjusted with patches, mostly incremental changes. A few characters have had major overhauls, notably Symmetra (with two separate overhauls of her skill) and Mercy. Like new characters, these overhauls are tested in the PTR before released to all public regions. A major notable change, reducing the number of classes from four to three (combining "offense" and "defense" heroes into the "damage" category) was implemented in the PTR before being released for all players in June 2018.[4]

Damage heroes

Bastion

Bastion is a combat robot-turned-explorer. It can Reconfigure between a mobile form outfitted with a submachine gun (Configuration: Recon) and a stationary form equipped with a Gatling gun (Configuration: Sentry). It also has the ability to Self-Repair and quickly regain lost health, and its Ironclad passive reduces damage taken. Its ultimate ability is Configuration: Tank, which allows it to roll on treads and fire explosive rounds from a smooth-bore cannon for a short period of time.

Bastion is a SST Laboratories Siege Automaton E54, a battle automaton originally designed for peacekeeping purposes; during the Omnic Crisis, they were deployed against their human makers becoming a symbol of the horrors of the war. Bastion was severely damaged in the field during the final days of the war, and was left dormant and exposed to the elements. For more than a decade, it became overgrown with plant life and the nests of small animals, until it unexpectedly reactivated. It had developed a fascination with nature, but its combat programming still took over whenever it encountered anything it perceived as a threat. Due to conflicts with fearful humans, Bastion largely avoids populated areas in favor of exploring the wild.[36] It is usually accompanied by a small bird named Ganymede, who was building a nest on it when it reactivated, and both humanizes Bastion and makes it relatable.

Bastion is the focus of the animated short "The Last Bastion", showing the moments when Ganymede inadvertently reactivated it.[37]

Bastion is voiced by Chris Metzen.[38]

Doomfist

Doomfist is both the name of the titular cybernetic gauntlet and the title of its wielder, who is currently the Nigerian-born Akande Ogundimu, businessman and mixed martial artist turned mercenary. He has a short-range Hand Cannon on his off-hand that fires shotgun-like bursts and regenerates ammo over time, but most of his abilities come through melee attacks from the Doomfist Gauntlet. Doomfist can charge up a Rocket Punch that lets him lunge forward and punch an opponent backwards, a Seismic Slam that launches enemies in its range a short distance towards Doomfist, and a Rising Uppercut that greatly launches a single enemy while doing damage. Each ability that successfully hits also generates personal shielding for Doomfist (The Best Defense...). Doomfist's ultimate ability is named Meteor Strike, allowing him to jump into the air and slam the ground, damaging all enemies in a range around that point and pushing them back a short distance.[39]

Doomfist is a generational character, the name and titular weapon passed between three people in the game's fiction.[40] The current holder, Akande Ogundimu, was the heir to a cybernetics and prosthetics company with a love of competitive fighting, but he lost his right arm during the Omnic Crisis and although he got a replacement prosthesis, he was barred from competing. Looking for something to fill the void, he was approached by the previous holder of the Doomfist, Akinjide Adeyemi, to join the Talon terrorist group. Ogundimu agreed and thrived within its ranks, though he eventually grew dissatisfied with Adeyemi's monetary ambitions and killed him to take his weapon, mantle, and control of Talon. Though he was later caught by Overwatch and placed in prison, Talon broke him out, and Ogundimu seized his Doomfist gauntlet to reclaim the Doomfist name and retake his position within Talon.[41][42]

The concept of the Doomfist has existed since first cinematic trailer for Overwatch, with the heroes fighting for control of the gauntlet, and since has been teased as a potential playable character in other game updates.[43][44][41] Doomfist was formally introduced as the 25th hero to Overwatch and was made available to play on all platforms on July 27, 2017.[45][46][47]

Doomfist is voiced by Sahr Ngaujah.[46]

Genji

Genji, full name Genji Shimada, is a Japanese cyborg ninja. His main attack method is to throw three Shurikens, either in quick succession or simultaneously in a horizontal spread. His abilities are Swift Strike, a quick dashing lunge with good range, and Deflect, a defensive stance that briefly ricochets projectiles back at enemies with his wakizashi. His Cyber-Agility allows him to double-jump and run up walls. Genji's ultimate ability is Dragonblade, during which Genji unsheathes the odachi on his back and delivers powerful, sweeping melee attacks.

In his origin story, Genji transforms from a slacker to a superhero.[48][49] His family—the Japanese Shimada crime family—ordered his eldest brother Hanzo to kill Genji for his selfish and hedonistic behavior, but before he could die, Overwatch found him and their doctor Mercy restored Genji as a cyborg. After quelling the rogue artificial intelligence (Omnic Crisis), Genji left the Overwatch team to find peace with his new body, mentored by the Omnic Shambali monk Zenyatta.[50] Blizzard tells the story of Genji's reencounter with his brother Hanzo in an animated short.[51][52] The game's Hanamura map, set in Japan, includes a memorial to Genji in what is assumed to be the Shimada family compound.[53]

Gameplay-wise, Genji is a flanker and an infiltrator, best suited to one-on-one fights. Since the cooldown for his Swift Strike resets upon scoring a kill, it is best used as a finishing move. Genji's Deflect ability can counter many enemy ultimate abilities, like Soldier 76's Tactical Visor or McCree's Deadeye. While some characters function best when paired with specific teammates, Genji works best in isolation.[54] Genji is strong against turrets like Bastion and those of Torbjörn, and is effective at flanking snipers.[55] Genji is vulnerable against characters with energy weapons that bypass his deflection, such as Symmetra, Winston, and Zarya. Since Genji is reliant on Deflect, the common way to counter him is to bait him into activating it and then attack when it's on cooldown. Genji's agile, melee-oriented playstyle is difficult to learn, yet is popular among new players who like his ninja design.[54]

A vocal minority of players began to complain about Genji's balance with other characters in August 2016, as team strategies came to be centered around his rediscovered abilities when the abilities of other offensive characters were reduced.[56] Later that month, Blizzard rebalanced Genji by reducing the power of his abilities.[57] At the end of 2016, Blizzard offered a special "oni" character skin as a promotion for players who also played the company's Multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes of the Storm.[58] Genji was added as one of the heroes in Heroes of the Storm on April 25, 2017.[59]

Genji is voiced by Gaku Space.[60]

Hanzo

Hanzo, full name Hanzo Shimada, is a Japanese archer, assassin and mercenary. His skill kit was updated in May 2018;[61] with this update, he wields the Storm Bow and is equipped with specialized arrows, including Sonic Arrows to detect enemies and Storm Arrows to fire six full-power shots in rapid succession. He is also able to Wall Climb, enabling him to reach vantage points, and Lunge forward while in mid-air. His ultimate ability is Dragonstrike, in which he unleashes a spiraling spirit dragon that can travel through obstacles to deal damage in a straight line.

Hanzo is the elder brother of Genji, and the heir to the head of the Shimada clan. He was trained from an early age to take over the clan, becoming a skilled warrior and marksman, as well as a strategist. When his father died, Hanzo was directed by the clan elders to bring Genji into line; and when Genji refused, the two brothers battled, resulting in what appeared to be Genji's death. Guilty and grief-stricken, Hanzo abandoned the clan and travelled the world in an effort to restore his honor.[62]

Hanzo is the focus of the animated short "Dragons", where he visits his family's castle on the day of his duel with Genji, leaving offerings at the castle shrine to honor Genji's memory.[63]

Hanzo is voiced by Paul Nakauchi.[64]

Junkrat

Junkrat, real name Jamison Fawkes, is an Australian scavenger, mercenary and anarchist. He carries a Frag Launcher that fires grenades and employs Steel Traps and remote-detonated Concussion Mines; when he is killed, several primed grenades are released from his body in a final attempt to get back at the attacker (Total Mayhem). Junkrat's ultimate ability is RIP-Tire, a self-propelled truck wheel loaded with explosives that he's able to manually steer and detonate.

After the Omnic Crisis, an "omnium" - an A.I. controller that directs omnics as part of a hive mind - was destroyed in the Outback, turning it into an irradiated wasteland. Living in the ruins are the Junkers, a group of scavengers and mercenaries; Jamison Fawkes was among their numbers. The effects of the radiation awakened a sense of madness which soon developed into pyromania. In the heart of the destroyed omnium, Junkrat found a valuable secret, making him the target of bounty hunters and rival gangs. He made a deal with the Junker enforcer Roadhog, who agreed to become his personal bodyguard in return for a 50-50 share of the profits from their finds.[65] His loud personality often drives him into trouble, one of them is by blowing away their deception when attempting a Trojan-horse plan to get revenge on the Queen of Junkertown after banishing him and Roadhog from her dominion.[66]

Junkrat was developed by Blizzard to balance out against Torbjorn's turrets.[67]

Junkrat is voiced by Chris Parson.[68]

McCree

McCree, full name Jesse McCree, is an American bounty hunter and vigilante with a cybernetic arm and a Wild West motif. He carries his Peacekeeper six-shooter, with its primary fire that can shoot single shots with high accuracy at moderate range, and its alternate fire allowing him to Fan the Hammer to quickly unload the entire cylinder at close range in rapid fire with some loss of accuracy. He can quickly dodge attacks using his Combat Roll ability which also instantly reloads his revolver, and can throw a Flashbang grenade a short distance which stuns enemies and interrupts their abilities. McCree's ultimate ability is Deadeye, which allows him to line up shots on every enemy in his sight, with resulting damage proportional to the time spent aiming.[69]

In the Overwatch narrative, Jesse McCree came from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is a former member of the Deadlock Gang, a group of traffickers in military hardware operating in the American Southwest. He and his fellows were captured in an Overwatch sting operation, and he was given a choice: prison, or serving in Blackwatch, the black ops division of Overwatch. He chose the latter, believing he could make amends for his past crimes, and revelling in the lack of bureaucratic oversight. When Overwatch began to collapse and Blackwatch sought to reform it to its own ends, McCree went underground, resurfacing years later as a gunslinger for hire.[70]

McCree is considered one of the easiest characters to learn, enabled by the Flashbang/Fan the Hammer combo which can kill most low- to mid-health opponents in one shot.[71]

McCree was one of the few characters developed for the game based on a stereotype, often compared to the Man with No Name,[69][71] but they developed his character and narratives to embrace that stereotype.[72][73] The visual appearance of McCree came about based on a Starcraft tie-in game that the Overwatch team, following the cancellation of Titan, has considered before settling on Overwatch.[74] Blizzard wanted McCree to be a hero strong against agile opponents and to counter close-range abilities, according to Geoff Goodman.[71] To achieve this, McCree has seen a confusing sequence of buffs and nerfs in the months after the game's initial release, which led some to jokingly call him "the most indecisive character" of the game.[75] Initially, his burst damage output and versatility on all ranges made him a popular pick in almost any situation, but after numerous tweaks, he lost his main role of a tank killer and became a somewhat ambiguous anti-flanker with additional long-range capability.[71] When these updates were made, Kaplan said that they were necessary to bring more in line with their vision for McCree's role, saying that "We want McCree to be a counter to people like Tracer, Genji and Reaper. What we're not crazy about, right now, is the way in which McCree can absolutely shred tanks."[76]

McCree is voiced by Matthew Mercer.[77][78]

Mei

Mei, full name Mei-Ling Zhou (周美灵), is a Chinese climatologist and adventurer from Xi'an. She wields an Endothermic Blaster that can either freeze enemies in place with a short-range spray or shoot a long-range icicle projectile, and she can also use it to Cryo-Freeze herself in a solid ice block to shield herself from damage and heal injuries, as well as erect Ice Walls with many versatile uses, primarily for blocking the enemies. Her ultimate ability is Blizzard, which calls down Snowball, her personal weather modification drone, to freeze all enemies in a wide radius.

Mei was employed by Overwatch to find the cause for the planet's changing climate, which had been variously blamed on the industry, the increasing omnic population, and increased consumption of natural resources. While deployed at an Overwatch base in Antarctica, Mei and the other scientists there were trapped by a polar storm that damaged the facility. Lacking sufficient resources to wait for a rescue, they decided to enter cryostasis. But the pods malfunctioned, and Mei was the only survivor when she was found close to a decade later; by that time, Overwatch had disbanded, and all of the bases set up to monitor the climate crisis had stopped functioning. Mei elected to carry on the work alone, accompanied by Snowball.[79]

Mei is the focus of the animated short "Rise and Shine", showing the moments after she awakened from cryostasis and had to find a way to call for help.[80]

Mei is voiced by Yu "Elise" Zhang.[81]

Pharah

Pharah, real name Fareeha Amari, is an Egyptian security officer. She wears the Raptora Mark VI, a jetpack-equipped combat suit, and wields a Rocket Launcher as her primary weapon. She has a Wedjat (Eye of Horus) tattoo around her right eye. Her abilities are Concussive Blast, a rocket with powerful knockback but no damage, and Jump Jets, a quick jetpack-assisted vertical ascension comparable to a rocket jump. Her passive ability allows her to Hover in the air, which is paired well with her Jump Jets ability. Pharah's ultimate ability is Barrage, where she fires a continuous stream of small air-to-ground rockets at targets, while she is frozen still in place.

Fareeha Amari is the daughter of Ana Amari, one of the founding members of Overwatch. She served as an officer in the Egyptian Army and aspired to follow in her mother's footsteps, but Overwatch was disbanded before she could join its ranks. After leaving the army, Pharah took a job with Helix Security International, a private security firm contracted to protect an artificial intelligence facility below the Giza Plateau.[82]

Pharah is a solid attacker able to consistently maintain pressure on the enemy team. Her rocket launcher allows her to hold chokepoints or lay out suppressive fire onto objectives both in offense and defense, and her vertical agility renders her out of reach for characters reliant on close-range fighting. Her Concussion Blast disrupts enemy formations, and in the hands of a skilled player it can be used to score environmental kills. Pharah is a good match with Mercy, whose Guardian Angel ability allows both of them to fly alongside each other. Pharah is vulnerable against long-range oriented characters, especially those wielding hitscan weapons, such as Widowmaker or McCree.

Pharah is voiced by Jen Cohn.[83]

Reaper

Reaper, real name Gabriel Reyes, is an American mercenary and terrorist, originally a founding member of Overwatch, now a leading member of Talon. He is attired in a black hooded trenchcoat with a white skull mask and wields twin Hellfire Shotguns. His abilities are Shadow Step, a medium-range line of sight teleport, and Wraith Form, a brief period of invincibility and speed increase. He was able to heal himself by consuming the souls of fallen enemies, visible as red burning "Soul Globes" on the ground but later was changed to a passive ability called The Reaping which allows him to steal a 20% heal from the damage he deals. Reaper's ultimate ability is Death Blossom, a twin shotgun gun kata which deals massive damage in a short radius around him.

Born in Los Angeles, Gabriel Reyes was a veteran officer of the United States Armed Forces who was subjected to a "soldier enhancement program", where he and the other selectees were genetically enhanced to become "perfect soldiers"; Reyes became known as "Soldier: 24". When the United Nations formed Overwatch to combat the Omnic Crisis, Reyes was one of the two men from the program on the shortlist to join up and was initially tapped to lead it. However, he was passed over in favor of his friend Jack Morrison, causing a rift between the two men. Reyes was later named commander of Blackwatch, Overwatch's black ops division, but his jealousy of Morrison (due to Morrison's publicity as the official leader of Overwatch, versus Reyes' secret dealings with Blackwatch) eventually caused Reyes to reveal Blackwatch's existence to the public, destroying both organizations and resulting in a battle that destroyed their headquarters in Switzerland. Both men were believed dead, but in reality survived, although Reyes's cells are now simultaneously decaying and regenerating, causing his body to fall apart and rebuild itself over and over again.[84]

Reyes resurfaced years later as "the Reaper", a mysterious mercenary responsible for terrorist attacks all around the world, having been consumed by his hunger for fame to the point that he no longer cared what he was known for. Through the efforts of rogue geneticist and former Blackwatch member Moira O'Deorain, he has developed the ability to steal life essence from his enemies, and also become incorporeal to avoid harm.[85] His true identity is unknown to the rest of the world, as are his motivations, though a pattern of his movements indicates that he is hunting down former agents of Overwatch.[86] He appears in the cinematic trailer, teamed with Widowmaker in a raid in the Overwatch Museum to steal Doomfist's gauntlet for Talon.[87] He also appears in the animated short "Recall", where he raids Winston's lab at Gibraltar to steal his list of Overwatch agents, though he was unsuccessful.[88]

Reaper is a flanker/assassin type of character, able to teleport behind enemy lines and attack from the rear to single out targets of importance, before using Wraith Form to escape. The ability to heal from dealing damage helps him in taking out tanks, due to their large bodies and health pools making it easier for him to heal rapidly. Reaper is vulnerable while executing his Death Blossom, so proper usage of it relies heavily on the element on surprise, taking enemies out with its massive damage output before they get the chance to react.

Reaper is voiced by Keith Ferguson.[89]

Soldier: 76

Soldier: 76, real name Jack Morrison, is an American soldier-turned-vigilante and a founding member of Overwatch. He wears a facemask with a visor and carries an experimental Heavy Pulse Rifle equipped with an underbarrel launcher that fires three Helix Rockets. His abilities are Sprint, a forward run with no duration limit or cooldown, and Biotic Field, a deployable device which regenerates the health of allies in the immediate vicinity. His ultimate ability, Tactical Visor, makes his rifle automatically track enemies in his line of sight for a brief period, similar to an aimbot.

Jack Morrison was born in rural Indiana, and enlisted in the United States military when he was eighteen. His bravery and work ethic earned him the attention of the "soldier enhancement program", and he later joined Overwatch alongside his friend Gabriel Reyes. His contributions to its success in ending the Omnic Crisis led to his being granted command of the task force, leading to a rift between him and Reyes. As Overwatch came under worldwide scrutiny due to allegations of corruption, the tensions between the two men came to outright conflict, resulting in the destruction of Overwatch headquarters. Morrison was believed to have been killed in the explosion, and was reportedly buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[84]

Five years later, however, Morrison resurfaced as the vigilante "Soldier: 76", becoming the focus of an international manhunt following a series of attacks against former Overwatch facilities, stealing weapons and advanced technologies. He wages a personal war to discover the truth behind the events that led to the fall of Overwatch.[90]

Soldier: 76 was actually developed by Overwatch's creative director Chris Metzen in the early 2000s as part of non-gaming related projects within Blizzard, and which he later adapted for a comic story used in Digital Webbing Presents #16, published in July 2004. Metzen described Soldier: 76's background here as one of a line of American "super soldiers" that had been implanted with microchips to give them superhuman abilities. Soldier: 76 was thought killed in an assassination attempt but instead found himself abandoned in South America with no memories of his past, only returning to the United States after a second civil war breaks out, to help try to restore order and discover his past. While Overwatch modified Metzen's original design, the game's version of Soldier: 76 still maintains the same color scheme and jacket that was used in the comic book story.[91][92]

Soldier: 76 was the most popular offense character during the game's open beta.[93] He was conceived as a "gateway hero" to help players that are used to modern shooters ease into the game,[94] but his versatility and high skill ceiling makes him a good choice for veteran players as well. He is able to perform well in almost any situation, being effective on all ranges, move quickly around the battlefield, as well as able to heal both himself and his team. On the downside, unlike other attackers, he lacks a direct specialization, and his ultimate ability has less potential impact on the game. His pulse rifle is best fired in short bursts at range and in full auto in close quarters, where accuracy is less of an issue.

Soldier: 76 is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.[95]

Sombra

Sombra, real name Olivia Colomar, is a Mexican hacker and infiltrator. She is equipped with a low-damage, high-capacity Machine Pistol for short range combat. Her trademark ability allows her to Hack enemies, turrets or neutral health kits. Hacked enemies cannot use their abilities, hacked turrets are disabled, and hacked health kits respawn faster and become unusable to the enemy team. Sombra also has Thermoptic Camo that gives her invisibility paired with a speed boost, and can throw down a Translocator beacon that she can to teleport to later. Her passive ability, Opportunist, enables her to track enemies that are low on health, even through walls. Sombra's ultimate ability is EMP, an electromagnetic shockwave that hacks all enemies around her, as well as disabling their barriers and shields and displaying if they have fully charged ultimates.[96]

In the Overwatch narrative, Sombra had been orphaned at an early age but quickly discovered her natural gift for hacking. She initially used it as part of the Los Muertos gang that fought against a corrupt Mexican government. Over the years her hacking expanded to other global corporations and powers, managing to keep her identity secret. She was eventually discovered by a mysterious organization that forced her into hiding, destroying all records of her existence. She augmented her body with cybernetic attachments to help her hack, and joined the criminal organization Talon to discover the identity of the organization that uncovered her.[97][98]

Sombra was introduced into Overwatch through alternate reality game (ARG) starting as early as the game's open beta, as to give "an idea of who she is and a little bit of her personality before we even unveiled her", according to Blizzard's lead hero designer Geoff Goodman.[99][100] Sombra is the focus of the animated short "Infiltration", where she infiltrates the Volskaya Industries complex alongside Reaper and Widowmaker to assassinate the head executive.[101]

Sombra is voiced by Carolina Ravassa.

Symmetra

Symmetra, real name Satya Vaswani, is an Indian architect. She wields a Photon Projector that emits a short-ranged beam that does more damage the longer it remains on an opponent. It can also be used to charge up and launch a slow-moving ball of energy in a straight line. She can fire up to three Sentry Turrets that attach to any surface they touch, and which damage opponents in close range. She has a Teleporter skill that allows her to place the entrance and exits points of a warp tunnel that last for a limited time, through which teammates and certain projectiles and weapons can travel through. Her ultimate ability is a Photon Barrier, a powerful energy shield that blocks opponents' fire, and large enough to cut through the entire map.[102]

The Vishkar Corporation, based in southern India, created hard light technology that allowed it to build cities, and trained its elite architechs to bend the hard light into any shape needed for that purpose; with this technology, they built the city of Utopaea to serve as their base. Satya Vaswani's potential was discovered at a young age, and she was taken from a life of poverty to train at Vishkar's architech academy in Utopaea. Becoming one of the top students in her class, she combined the light-bending technology with the traditional dances of her homeland. Given the name "Symmetra", Vishkar dispatched her on clandestine missions around the world to oversee their corporate interests.[103] Following parts of the Overwatch narrative that fans believed hinted towards this, Kaplan has confirmed that Symmetra is considered autistic.[104]

Symmetr initially was defined as a support character, and was one of the more infrequently-selected characters across all game modes during the game's first two years, due to her not being considered a fun character to play and maintaining her support abilities was considered "chore-like".[105][106] Blizzard has been working to revitalize the character since launch, revamping her skill kit twice in December 2016 and later in July 2018 to make her more amenable for player. Prior abilities, since removed, include the ability to give each player individual shields as well as a ranged shield projector that served as her ultimate, and a teleporter ultimate that would appear between her current position and the current spawn room for her team allowing players to quickly return to battle. Her Photon Projection also used to automatically lock onto opponents. The July 2018 rework moved Symmetra from a support to a damage hero, better reflecting her intended function in a team composition according to Blizzard.[107]

Symmetra is voiced by Anjali Bhimani.[108]

Torbjörn

Torbjörn, full name Torbjörn Lindholm, is a dwarfish Swedish engineer and weapons designer, and a founding member of Overwatch. His armor comes equipped with a mobile forge, and he carries a Rivet Gun that shoots molten slag and a Forge Hammer for construction and melee attacks. He can Build Turrets that auto-target enemies and can be upgraded or repaired by hitting it with the Forge Hammer, and provide Armor Packs to his teammates to give a boost to their health, which are constructed from scrap he finds on the battlefield (Scrap Collector). His ultimate ability is Molten Core, which overheats his personal forge, upgrading his turret, granting a speed bonus to turret construction and repair, as well as a defense and rate-of-fire bonus to himself and his turret.

Torbjörn Lindholm believes that technology should serve a better vision for humanity, putting him at odds with his employers, who wanted to control the weapons with artificial intelligence. His deep-seated fear of sentient machines, dismissed at first as paranoia, became reality during the Omnic Crisis, during which he was recruited by Overwatch. His engineering knowledge proved invaluable to achieving Overwatch's aim of ending the Omnic Crisis. After Overwatch was disbanded, his weapons were stolen or stashed away, and Torbjörn has set out to ensure they are not used to harm the innocent.[109]

While Torbjörn was not the first character created for Overwatch, his design, meant to bridge between Warcraft and Overwatch, became the baseline for nearly all other asset design for the game.[110] Around 2018, Blizzard has stated they were looking to revamp Torbjörn's skill set. Lead game designer Geoff Goodman called Torbjörn a "little overly defensive focused", and wanted to make the hero more capable on offense in non-payload map. Changes currently being explored includes how the turrets would be deployed, so that Torbjörn could deploy turrets a distance away from him and have them upgrade automatically, and potentially getting rid of the Molten Core ultimate altogether.[111]

Torbjörn is voiced by Keith Silverstein.[112]

Tracer

Tracer, real name Lena Oxton, is a British pilot and adventurer. She wields dual rapid-fire Pulse Pistols, and is equipped with a "chronal accelerator" which grants her the ability to either jump forward in time, crossing many meters in a split second (Blink) or rewind three seconds into the past to heal and restore ammunition (Recall). Her ultimate ability is Pulse Bomb, an explosive charge that sticks to enemies, exploding after a brief delay for massive damage.

Born in London following the events of the Omnic Crisis, Lena Oxton became the youngest test pilot in Overwatch's experimental flight program, and was tapped to test the "Slipstream", a fighter jet that used teleportation technology. During the test flight, a malfunction caused the craft to vanish and Tracer along with it. She was presumed dead. However, she reappeared months later, though suffering from a condition preventing her from maintaining a physical form and which caused her to vanish for hours or even days at a time. It was discovered that the accident desynchronized her molecules from time itself, a condition eventually called "chronal disassociation." The enhanced gorilla scientist Winston invented the chronal accelerator to re-synchronize her with the normal flow of time.[113]

Tracer was the first Hero developed for the game and used to test the gameplay mechanics.[114] Tracer features in the cinematic trailer, teamed with Winston as she tries to stop Widowmaker and Reaper from taking Doomfist's gauntlet.[115] She also appears in the cinematic short "Alive", as she unsuccessfully tries to stop Widowmaker from assassinating the omnic monk Tekhartha Mondatta in London.[116] Tracer is featured on the game's cover art, and is a playable hero in Heroes of the Storm. It was revealed in an Overwatch comic that she identifies as a lesbian.[117][30]

Tracer is voiced by Cara Theobold.

Widowmaker

Widowmaker, real name Amélie Lacroix, is a French sniper and assassin. She wields the Widow's Kiss, a versatile rifle that fires in full automatic at close-range, and can convert into a sniper rifle for long-range kills. She also uses a Grappling Hook to reach high ledges and Venom Mines to disable enemies. Her ultimate ability is Infra-Sight, which activates her recon visor to highlight all enemies through walls for her and her team, similar to a wallhack.

Amélie was a ballet dancer and was the wife of Gérard Lacroix, an Overwatch agent heading operations against the terrorist organization known as Talon. When their assassins were unable to get close to Lacroix, they kidnapped Amélie and reprogrammed her as a sleeper agent. She was found and returned home by Overwatch agents, unaware of what had happened; two weeks later, she killed her husband in his sleep. Returning to Talon, she underwent extensive training in the covert arts, and her physiology was altered to slow her heart, turning her skin blue. Her emotional responses numbed by the conditioning, she feels little more than the satisfaction of the kill.[118]

Widowmaker appears in the intro cinematic, teamed with Reaper to steal Doomfist's gauntlet from the Overwatch Museum; a boy visiting the museum uses it against her.[87] She is also featured in the animated short "Alive", on a mission to assassinate the omnic monk Tekhartha Mondatta, an advocate for peaceful human-omnic relations.[116]

Widowmaker was the most popular defense character during the game's open beta.[93]

Widowmaker is voiced by Chloé Hollings.

Tank heroes

D.Va

D.Va, real name Hana Song, is a South Korean mecha pilot and former pro gamer from Busan. She pilots a combat mecha armed with twin Fusion Cannons, shotgun-like weapons that require no ammunition or reload time. Her mecha is equipped with rocket Boosters for short bursts of flight, as well as a Defense Matrix that allows it to shoot enemy projectiles out of the air. She can also fire a volley of Micro-Missiles that do splash damage on impact.[119] D.Va's ultimate ability, Self-Destruct, overloads and detonates her mecha, dealing massive damage to all enemies in a huge radius within line of sight. If her mech is destroyed (either by her ultimate or in combat), she ejects and continues to fight on foot, armed with a mid-range Light Gun, until her mecha can be summoned again.

To protect its cities against a massive omnic that rose from the East China Sea, the South Korean army developed automated battle mechs, deployed in a task force named MEKA (Mobile Exo-force of the Korean Army). As the omnic learned from its battles with the South Korean military, it disrupted the mechs' drone-control abilities, forcing the army to turn to human pilots. They elected to recruit professional gamers, who they believed possessed the necessary skills to pilot their mechs. Hana Song was the reigning StarCraft II world champion at the time, with a reputation for playing to win at all costs and showing no mercy to her opponents. She has since become a global icon, streaming footage of her combat missions.[120]

D.Va was the fifth Overwatch hero added to Heroes of the Storm, released in May 2017 shortly after the game's version 2.0 update.[121]

D.Va is voiced by Charlet Chung.[122][123][124]

Orisa

Orisa is a one-month-old, four-legged female Omnic built by 11-year-old robotics prodigy Efi Oladele, to be a "mechanical peacekeeper" of Numbani. Her primary weapon is the Fusion Driver, a long-range projectile-based machine gun; its alternate fire mode, Halt!, releases a slow-moving projectile that the player can detonate to draw in nearby enemies towards the point of detonation, similar to Zarya's Graviton Surge.[125] She can launch a deployable Protective Barrier similar to Reinhardt's shield which can be used for strategic defenses, and can Fortify her structure to temporarily prevent all forms of crowd control against her, such as Lúcio's sonic blasts or Reinhardt's Earthshatter abilities. Her ultimate ability is Supercharger, a deployable device which gives Orisa and her teammates, provided they are in line-of-sight, an attack boost similar to that of Mercy, though the Supercharger itself can be destroyed by enemy fire and deactivates after a few seconds.[126]

Rebuilt from the wreckage of an OR15 defense robot after an attack by Doomfist in her home city of Numbani, Efi upgraded the hardware and software on the Omnic, emphasizing public safety as its primary objective. Efi's upgrades on the robot also created a sentient identity, in which Efi dubbed the robot Orisa from its designation number. The name derives from "orisha", spirits in the Yoruba religion of West Africa.[127]

Kaplan believed that Orisa would strategically play similar to Reinhardt as the "anchor" for an advancing team that allies would focus around.[127] Besides being a second anchor tank beyond Reinhardt, Orisa's design came out of trying to push the boundaries of what they could do with a female character in the game, giving her the quadruped tank design and other features. They developed her personality to be somewhat between that of RoboCop and GLaDOS, with the veteran experience of the existing Omnics Zenyatta and Bastion. Because of these disparate elements, the design team came upon the idea of introducing Efi, so that the strange design of Orisa would be that of the Overwatch world as seen through the eyes of an imaginative child.[128]

Orisa, the game's 24th hero, was revealed on March 2, 2017. Unlike the previously introduced hero, Sombra, which was the subject of a protracted alternate reality game that was met with some criticism, Blizzard opted to tease Orisa over a much shorter period via social media, introducing the character of Efi and new events in the Overwatch narrative happening on Numbani a few weeks before Orisa's reveal.[127] Orisa was available on the Public Test Servers on the reveal, and was added to the game for all platforms on March 21, 2017, though her appearance in competitive mode was held off for one week as to give time for players to get used to the new character.[126][129][130]

Orisa is voiced by Cherrelle Skeete.

Reinhardt

Reinhardt, full name Reinhardt Wilhelm, is a German soldier and adventurer, and one of the founding members of Overwatch. He wears a heavy suit of Crusader power armor, and carries a rocket-powered war hammer (Rocket Hammer) as his primary weapon. His main ability is a wide hard-light Barrier Field mounted on his arm that allows him to protect himself and teammates behind him from enemy fire. He may also launch a flaming projectile that ignores enemy barriers (Fire Strike), or use a rocket booster to Charge into the enemy lines, crushing them against walls. His ultimate ability, Earthshatter, makes him slam his hammer against the ground, sending out a shockwave that incapacitates enemies in front of him.

Reinhardt Wilhelm is a decorated Bundeswehr veteran from Stuttgart who lives under a knightly code of chivalry. He served as lieutenant to Colonel Balderich von Adler, commander of the Crusaders, which served alongside the regular army to act as their shield. Reckless in his younger years, Reinhardt often left his comrades behind to find glory in battle. That would change during the battle of Eichenwalde, where he lost his left eye to the blade of an OR14 assault omnic. Retreating into Eichenwalde Castle, Balderich gave Reinhardt his Overwatch initiation medal and sent him to rejoin the others, admonishing him to "be their shield". Reinhardt remained in Overwatch service well into his fifties, his code of ethics and his blunt honesty making him a respected member of the team, until he was forced to retire due to his age and left to watch as Overwatch collapsed.[131] When Winston issued the call to arms to his Overwatch comrades, Reinhardt - living in the ruins of Eichenwalde - answered without hesitation, despite the belief of his friend Brigitte that Overwatch had tossed him aside due to his age.[132]

Reinhardt was the most popular tank character during the game's open beta.[93]

Reinhardt is voiced by Darin De Paul.[133]

Roadhog

Roadhog, real name Mako Rutledge, is Junkrat's enforcer and bodyguard of unknown nationality. He wields a Scrap Gun that fires shrapnel in a mid-range automatic firing mode, or a short-range shotgun-like single shot. He also carries a NOS canister filled with "Hogdrogen" to self-heal (Take a Breather), and employs a Chain Hook to pull distant opponents towards him. His ultimate ability, Whole Hog, allows him to put a top loader into his scrap gun, firing it in full auto mode with increased knockback, wider spread, and no need to reload.

Mako Rutledge lived in the Australian Outback in the period after the Omnic Crisis. The government of Australia, in an effort to make peace with the omnics, allowed them to take possession of the omnium and the territory around it, displacing the human residents. Mako and other angry humans formed the Australian Liberation Front to strike against the omnium and the omnics that resided around it. In the end, the ALF overloaded the fusion core, destroying the omnium and turning the Outback into a radioactive wasteland, severely disfiguring Mako's face. Mako donned a mask and took to the broken highways on his chopper, forsaking his humanity little by little until he became a ruthless killer.[134] He has since joined up with Junkrat as his bodyguard, in exchange for half of whatever treasure the ex-Junker knows the location of.

Roadhog is voiced by Josh Petersdorf.[95]

Winston

Winston is a genetically engineered gorilla, scientist and adventurer. He wields a short-range Tesla Cannon that requires no aiming and electrocutes enemies at close range, and wears armor that incorporates a Jump Pack, allowing him to make leaps across great distances and damage foes on landing. He can also deploy a Barrier Projector that provides a temporary spherical shield to protect himself and teammates from enemy fire. Winston's ultimate ability is Primal Rage, in which he briefly gives in to "the beast within" to get massively increased health and powerful melee attacks with knockback, although he foregoes his primary weapon.

Winston was among a group of genetically enhanced gorillas living at the Horizon Lunar Colony, a research base on the Moon, intended to test the effects of prolonged habitation in space. He took his name from his mentor and caretaker, Dr. Harold Winston, the colony's chief scientist, from whom he also gained his signature eyeglasses. When the other gorillas rose up, killed the human scientists, and took over the colony, Winston escaped to Earth in a rocket he built himself. He later joined up with Overwatch, offering his scientific expertise to the team (such as building Tracer's chronal accelerator). When Overwatch disbanded, Winston went into seclusion at an old Overwatch base in Gibraltar.[135]

Winston appears in the intro cinematic,[87] as well as the animated short "Recall". The short recalls how he gained his glasses from Dr. Harold Winston, as well as fending off Reaper and agents of Talon who attempt to hack his database of Overwatch agents.[88]

Winston is voiced by Crispin Freeman.[136]

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball is the ring name for Hammond, a super-intelligent hamster mechanic, who competes in battles piloting a large spherical mech suit with two forms: a quadrupedal form used for firing his Quad Cannons, his main attack, and a nearly perfectly spherical form which gives him the ability to Roll around the battlefield but without any primary attack. He can engage a temporary Adaptive Shield that increase in strength with the more enemies that are nearby. He can use a Grappling Claw to attach to a surface, switching the mech to its Roll form, and which he can then swing around, gaining momentum and damage enemies in his path, and release at any time. He can execute a Piledriver that slams his mech into the ground, damaging and launching nearby enemies into the air. Hammond's ultimate is Minefield that launches a number of proximity mines around him that damage opponents.[137] The concept of Wrecking Ball originated from a spheric robotic tank based on magnetism skills, conceived early in Overwatch's development, alongside a push for how "cute" they could make a hero design within the game; Wrecking Ball came about when the team, looking for a new tank character, recognized the potential linkage of ideas themed around a hamster ball . Kaplan stated that the goal for Hammond to be a "very disruptive, high mobility" tank that would be fun to play.[138]

Hammond, previously known as "Specimen 8", had been among the genetically engineered animals who resided at the Horizon facility on the Moon when the gorillas led the uprising against the human scientists. Having displayed an ability to regularly escape from his enclosure, as well as a self-taught aptitude for mechanics, Hammond constructed a capsule attached to the scratch-built rocket built by Winston, and hitched a ride with him when Winston escaped to Earth. His capsule separated from Winston's rocket and landed in the Australian Outback, where he modified the capsule into a combat mech to fight in the Scrapyard arena in Junkertown, earning him the nickname "Wrecking Ball". With his winnings, he upgraded the mech further to escape from the Outback and travel the world.[139] Hammond's first mention in-game was in the "Horizon Lunar Colony" map added in May 2017.[140] Further, with gameplay changes made to the Horizon map released onto the PTR in May 2018, a new room previously blocked had been opened, showing Hammond secretly coordinating his escape from the colony alongside Winston's own plans.[141] The Blizzard Overwatch social media accounts also began teasing a new hero starting in late June 2018.[141] He was formally announced as the game's 28th hero on June 28, 2018, as well as being playable on the PTR that day.[137] He was added to the full game roster on July 24, 2018.[142][143]

Hammond does not speak, as Kaplan said "that would be completely ridculous",[139] but his animal noises are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, while his mech's computer, voiced by Jonathan Lipow, translates the squeaks to understandable words.[144]

Zarya

Zarya, full name Aleksandra Zaryanova, is a Russian powerlifter and soldier. She is armed with a Particle Cannon that can either emit a continuous beam of energy or launch an energy projectile in an arc. She is also able to project a personal Particle Barrier onto herself or onto one of her teammates (Projected Barrier), and soaking up damage with these shields raises the power of her own attacks proportionally. Zarya's ultimate ability, Graviton Surge, forms a gravity well that pulls enemies in and damages them, leaving them open to other attacks.

In her fictional backstory, Aleksandra Zaryanova's village in Siberia was on the front lines of the Omnic Crisis, which devastated the region. As she grew older, she swore to gain the strength to protect her people and homeland. She became a bodybuilder and weightlifter, expected to break a number of records in the world championships, but the dormant omnium in Siberia awakened on the eve of the tournament, and she withdrew from the competition to join the local defense forces.[145]

Zarya was initially conceived of by artist Arnold Tsang after watching a weightlifting competition. He recognized that the body shape of weightlifters was non-standard but would make for a great, tough female hero.[67] Zarya was the second Overwatch hero added to Heroes of the Storm.

Zarya is voiced by Dolya Gavanski.[146]

Support heroes

Ana

Ana, full name Ana Amari, is an Egyptian sniper and bounty hunter, and one of the founding members of Overwatch. She wields a Biotic Rifle loaded with smart darts that damage enemies and heal allies, as well as a sidearm that fires Sleep Darts. She also carries Biotic Grenades that disable enemy healing and boost ally healing. Her ultimate ability is Nano Boost, which grants an attack and defense boost to a teammate hero.

Hailing from Cairo, Ana Amari was considered the best sniper in the world, and rushed in to support the unprepared Egyptian defense forces during the Omnic Crisis. Her marksmanship and her critical decision-making skills led to her being recruited by Overwatch, and she served for many years as Jack Morrison's second-in-command during the conflict, while trying to be a mother to her daughter, Fareeha. Even with her command responsibility, Ana refused to give up going on combat missions. Remaining in service well into her fifties, Ana was believed to have been killed by Widowmaker during a hostage rescue; when Ana hesitated to make the kill shot, realizing that her target had in fact been her friend Amélie Lacroix, Widowmaker shot her through her rifle's lens, destroying her right eye, then proceeded to kill the hostages.[147][148] Though Ana survived, Overwatch soon disbanded. Initially choosing to remain out of combat as the world became embroiled in conflict, Ana realized she could not remain on the sidelines, and has rejoined the battle to protect her homeland.[149]

Ana had already been part of the narrative of Overwatch from the creation of the Pharah character, according to Blizzard's lead writer Michael Chu; they wanted Pharah's parents to be important characters of the Overwatch group that would influence Pharah, and Ana had been established as a sniper in Pharah's story. When they started brainstorming new playable heroes, the idea of an alchemist was raised, leading to the concept of a "skill-based support healer", according to Chu. This led to them to consider making Ana this new playable character, as these support sniper skills would contrast well against those of the already-established character of Widowmaker.[150] Ana was the first character to be added to Overwatch following its launch; she was announced and available to play on the Public Test regions on July 12, 2016,[151] and was playable by all PC and console players on July 19, 2016.[152]

Ana is voiced by Aysha Selim.[153]

Brigitte

Brigitte, full name Brigitte Lindholm, is a Swedish engineer and adventurer, who wears powered armor similar to Reinhardt. Her primary attack is the Rocket Flail that allows her to strike several enemies in close range. She can also throw the Flail in a Whip Shot to hit distant targets. She has the ability to engage a Barrier Shield to protect herself and others behind it from damage for a limited time, and when it is active, she can charge a short distance forward with her Shield Bash, stunning the first enemy she hits. Otherwise, she is able to drop Repair Packs that can help heal other allies. Her Ultimate ability is Rally that allows her to move faster, and provide nearby allies with additional armor while the ability is active.[154]

Brigitte is the youngest daughter of Torbjörn Lindholm, Overwatch's former chief engineer. She was named by her godfather Reinhardt Wilhelm, to whom Torbjörn and his pregnant wife Ingrid were indebted to after Reinhardt saved his life during "Operation White Dome" in Istanbul. As such, Brigitte became close friends with Reinhardt, and grew up on his tales of heroes and chivalry. While Torbjörn was more interested in creating weapons, Brigitte's aptitudes were for creating armor and defensive systems. After the fall of Overwatch, Reinhardt elected to travel the world as something of a knight-errant, and Brigitte, to his surprise, asked him if she could accompany him as his squire, to which he agreed. Her job included maintaining Reinhardt's Crusader armor, to which she was well-suited as it was based on a design created by her father, but as time went on, she was often required to take care of Reinhardt himself, who maintained an overenthusiasm for combat in spite of his increasing age and frailty. Eventually she decided that just maintaining Reinhardt's armor was not enough, and had Reinhardt train her in combat while she created her own suit of armor in secret, so that she could fight alongside him.[155] She appears in the digital comics Dragon Slayer and Reflections. She also appears in the animated short Honor and Glory, where she protests Reinhardt rejoining Overwatch, only for him to explain why he must go back.[156]

After about a week of teasing her announcement, Brigitte was confirmed to be the 27th Hero on February 28, 2018, and was made available to try on the PTR the same day.[157] Brigitte was released for play on all servers on March 20, 2018.[158][159] Kaplan described Brigitte as an "interesting hybrid character", as while she is classified as support, she has many similarities to a tank character. She combines certain elements of Reinhardt (armor and shield) and Torbjörn (providing armor to her allies); as her chosen weapon is a flail, she also bears some similarities to the Crusader class in Diablo III.[citation needed] Brigitte's reveal brought a return of a joking comparison between Overwatch and Paladins by Hi-Rez Studios, a game that also used pre-determine hero characters which had earlier been accused by players of copying the style of Overwatch though ultimately dropped; Hi-Rez's Stewart Chisam pointed out on social media how Brigitte appeared similar in looks and abilities to their character Ash, released in mid-2017.[160]

Brigitte is voiced by Matilda Smedius.

Lúcio

Lúcio, full name Lúcio Correia dos Santos, is a Brazilian DJ and freedom fighter. He is equipped with futuristic roller blades that allow him to skate on walls (Wall Ride), and is armed with a Sonic Amplifier gun that can damage enemies or knock them back with Soundwaves. He uses music to either heal his teammates or increase their movement speed (Crossfade), and can amplify his music at will to boost the effects (Amp It Up). His ultimate ability, Sound Barrier, grants powerful temporary shielding to himself and nearby allies. Jeff Kaplan described Lucio's origins based on the bard class from classic tabletop role-playing games, able to cast auras on their party.[161]

Lúcio Correia dos Santos grew up in Rio de Janeiro during the financial upheaval caused by the Omnic Crisis. He turned to music to lift up the spirits of his disheartened people, performing on street corners and at block parties. When the Vishkar Corporation, a multinational conglomerate, moved in to redevelop Rio, they began to crack down on its citizens with curfews and began to exploit them as cheap labor. Lúcio rose up and stole a Vishkar sonic weapon and used it against them, rallying the people to rise up and drive Vishkar out of their neighborhoods. His leadership made him a global celebrity, and he began to perform in filled arenas worldwide.[162]

Blizzard announced in February 2017 that Lúcio will be added as a hero character to Heroes of the Storm, retaining similar healing and support capabilities in that game.[163]

Lúcio is voiced by Jonny Cruz.[164]

Mercy

Mercy, real name Angela Ziegler, is a Swiss field medic and first responder. She wears a winged Valkyrie suit, which allows her to rush towards targeted teammates through the air (Guardian Angel), as well as slow her own descent while falling (Angelic Descent). She wields a Caduceus Staff that alternately heals her teammates or boosts their damage output, and also carries a medium-range Caduceus Blaster as a sidearm. Her Resurrect ability allows her to revive one fallen ally. Her ultimate ability is Valkyrie, which boosts her healing and attack boosts, firing rate, Resurrect cooldown, and gives her infinite ammunition for a brief period.[119]

Angela Ziegler was head of surgery at a Swiss hospital when she developed specialized applied nanobiology to heal injuries. Her work earned her the attention of Overwatch, who recruited her as their chief medical researcher; the Valkyrie suit she wears was her own design. Though opposed to Overwatch's militaristic approach due to her parents being taken by war, she knew that their resources allowed her to save lives on a global scale. When Overwatch disbanded, she dedicated herself to helping those who were affected by decades of global war.[165]

Mercy was the most popular support character during the game's open beta.[93] Like Symmetra, Mercy saw a major redesign in a September 2017 update, as initially her ultimate ability was Resurrect that could be used to bring all downed players in a small radius back to full health, but which encouraged Mercy players to stay out of battle until needed. With her present kit, Mercy has become a divisive character in the game's meta, being nearly always picked as part of a team composition in competitive modes, but changing the dynamics of a match's ebb and flow.[166]

Mercy is voiced by Lucie Pohl.[167]

Moira

Moira, full name Moira O'Deorain, is an Irish geneticist, a leading member of Talon, and Minister of Genetics for the city of Oasis. Overwatch executive producer Jeff Kaplan has labelled Moira as a "hybrid" hero; while categorized as a healer, she possesses abilities to also deal a high amount of damage. Her main weapon is the Biotic Grasp, which uses biotic energy to heal allies in a small cone in front of her; the biotic energy is gained by applying the Grasp to opponents to drain their health in a similar cone.[161] Her skills include Fade, allowing her to teleport a short distance, and Biotic Orb, a rebounding sphere that has one of two effects depending on how the player uses it: healing any allies it touches, or damaging enemies it touches. Her ultimate ability is Coalescence, a beam that heals all allies and injuries all opponents it passes, bypassing any shields that may be in place.[168]

Originally from Dublin, Moira O'Deorain made waves in the scientific community more than a decade prior to the game, after publishing a controversial paper detailing a methodology for creating custom genetic programs that could alter DNA at a cellular level. Most scientists found her research dangerous due to its perceived ethical shortfalls, with some even going so far as to accuse her of having the same obsession with scientific advancement that started the Omnic Crisis. Adding to the controversy, other geneticists were unable to reproduce the results of her research. With her career stalled, Moira received a lifeline from an unlikely source: Blackwatch, the covert ops division of Overwatch under the command of Gabriel Reyes. Her involvement with Blackwatch was kept a secret until inquiries following an incident in Venice revealed her work, forcing Overwatch to publicly disavow any ties to her or her work. After Overwatch disbanded, Moira was employed by the Ministries, the scientific collective that founded the city of Oasis in southern Iraq, as the head of the Ministry of Genetics. She was also financed by Talon, and (along with Doomfist and Reaper) is among the members of its ruling council who appear in the game. Her origin story video reveals that she is responsible for transforming Gabriel Reyes into Reaper.[85][168] She had made an appearance in Doomfist's introductory comic, released earlier in 2017.[169]

Moira was announced at BlizzCon 2017 as the game's 26th hero on November 3, 2017,[168] and was made available to play on the Public Test Region a few days later.[170] Moira was added for all players in all regions on November 16, 2017.[171] Kaplan said that Moira had been in the works for months well prior to this, having anticipated that the Overwatch player base had been asking for another healer character.[161] Kaplan believed that Moira's fit as a healer depends on the proper team composition where the team generally stays in close proximity, but that her abilities can help support those that tend to separate from the group, like Genji.[161] Art-wise, she was envisioned by Arnold Tsang to be a warlock- or mage-like character, with robes, sleeves and hand motions that evoked a use of magic.[172] This subsequently created some difficulty with her character animations, specifically her sleeves; while they had done long flowing clothes before for Reaper, animating the sleeves with the complex hand movements took several months. This particularly was true for her Legendary skins, which animator Hak Lee said took between three and five months to properly animate.[172][173] Moira's animations in game were found by some journalists to be close references to various anime, such as her running animation matching that of Naruto Uzumaki from the anime Naruto. Chu acknowledged that many of Blizzard's animation team are anime fans and some references had filtered into characters and customization items, and for Moira, the anime-like touches helped to make her character visually distinctive among a fast-paced battled within the game.[174]

Moira is voiced by Genevieve O'Reilly, an Irish voice actress that Chu said was perfect for the role.[173][172]

Zenyatta

Zenyatta, full name Tekhartha Zenyatta, is an omnic monk and wanderer. Rather than moving on foot, he floats above the ground in a meditative pose. He is surrounded by a circle of floating metal orbs named the Orbs of Destruction (resembling prayer beads), which he can use to launch a form of energy to damage foes, either one at a time or through a charged-shot. He can also cast these orbs onto teammates as Orbs of Harmony to regenerate health, or onto enemies as Orbs of Discord that lower their defenses. His ultimate ability is Transcendence, which makes him temporarily invulnerable and applies massive regenerative effects to his allies in a large radius around him.

Zenyatta belonged to the Shambali, an order of omnic monks that had settled in a monastery deep within the Himalayas in northern Nepal, after experiencing a "spiritual awakening" that led them to believe that, like humans, omnics also possessed a soul. Their leader, Tekhartha Mondatta, sought to heal the breach between humans and omnics and bring them into societal harmony through the spreading of their peaceful message in public rallies (one of which resulted in Mondatta's assassination by Widowmaker in London). Zenyatta disagreed with this approach, believing that only directly engaging humans and connecting with them person-to-person will bridge the divide between man and machine. He left the Shambali monastery and wandered the world, seeking to help those he meets find inner peace (such as his encounter with the cyborg warrior Genji). He made Genji, a cyborg, more relaxed and made him understand the purpose of his metallic body.[175]

Zenyatta is voiced by Feodor Chin.[176]

Non-playable characters

The following are characters who appear in other Overwatch media.

Athena

Athena is Winston's personal artificial intelligence, who supervises his vitals and keeps track of all former Overwatch agents. Together, she and Winston were able to activate the Recall that contacted all the agents at the beginning of the Second Omnic Crisis, which initiates the events of the game. She also serves as the in-game announcer.[177]

Athena is voiced by Evelyn Duah.[178]

Dae-hyun

Dae-hyun is a MEKA mechanic assigned to D.Va[179] and a childhood friend of hers.[180] He and D.Va have been working together in the MEKA unit. He was introduced in August 2018 in the animated short "Shooting Star", in which he helps D.Va defend Busan from the recurring omnic threat known locally as gwishin.[181]

Dae-hyun is voiced by Johnny Young.[182]

Emily

Emily is Tracer's girlfriend. She is an English woman living in London, with whom Tracer and Winston spent the holidays. She first appears in the comic "Reflections," where Tracer shops for her Christmas present. It is unknown how long she and Tracer have been dating, but Winston does consider her family.[117]

The introduction of Emily was lauded by critics and the LGBTQ community for confirming Tracer as the game's first LGBTQ character.[183][184]

Hal-Fred Glitchbot

Hal-Fred Glitchbot is a famous omnic film director, known for his works such as They Came From Beyond the Moon. As an omnic, he receives much prejudice from society, including being the recipient of assassination attempts. On the map Hollywood, the offensive team must escort his limousine to his trailer, while the defense must stop them. He is known for hurling insults at the players, which vary depending on which characters are being played.

His name is a play on famous real-world director Alfred Hitchcock, and the computer HAL 9000 from the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Hal-Fred Glitchbot is voiced by Travis Willingham.

The Junker Queen

The Junker Queen is the leader of the makeshift encampment of Junkertown, located in the Australian Outback. She also runs the Scrapyard, a combat arena in Junkertown.[139] She had been given a few voice lines and narrates the reveal video for the Junkertown map released in August 2017, and appears on posters around the map itself. She has shown animosity towards Junkrat and Roadhog, telling her guards to shoot the two on sight. While little else is known, the character quickly gained appeal in the Overwatch fandom, with some hoping she would be revealed as a playable hero in the future.[185][186]

Liao

Liao was one of the founding members of Overwatch, along with Jack Morrison, Gabriel Reyes, Ana Amari, Torbjörn Lindholm and Reinhardt Wilhelm. Not much is known beyond this, only that Liao is the only one of them who is unaccounted for.[187]

MEKA

MEKA, the Mobile Exo-Force of the Korean Army, is a Busan-based squad of mecha pilots, including D.Va, that protect Korea and nearby states from regular attacks by an omnic colossus known locally as the gwishin. MEKA's pilots were drawn from pro-esports and other similarly-skilled areas, such as auto racing, after the gwishin disrupted the ability to use drone mechs. The MEKA squad is overseen by Captain Myung, and besides D.Va, includes pilots Kyung-soo "King" Han, Yuna "D.mon" Lee, Seung-hwa "Overlord" Si, and Jae-Eun "Casino" Gwon. D.Va herself is supported by Dae-hyun, a childhood friend and mechanic. While MEKA was discussed in prior Overwatch media, more details of the squad were revealed as part of the August 2018 release of "Shooting Star", an animation short focused on D.Va, and the release of the Busan map that incorporates more of the MEKA lore.[188]

Tekhartha Mondatta

Tekhartha Mondatta was an omnic monk and leader of the Shambali. In the years following the Omnic Crisis, Mondatta and a group of other omnics abandoned their pre-programmed lives and settled in a communal monastery in Nepal, where they meditated on the nature of existence and came to believe that they were more than just "artificial" - they possessed their own souls, just as humans did. Mondatta was a leader in advocating peace between humans and omnics and healing the wounds following the Omnic Crisis, and travelled the world spreading his message. Mondatta was assassinated by Widowmaker during a rally in London, despite heavy security and the efforts of Tracer. In the King's Row map, a statue of him holding the hand of a human child stands near the spot where he was killed.

Mondatta and Zenyatta take their names from Zenyatta Mondatta, a 1980 album by English rock band The Police.

Tekharha Mondatta is voiced by Sendhil Ramamurthy.[189]

Efi Oladele

Efi Oladele is an 11-year-old scientist and inventor from the in-universe region of Numbani. After her parents gave her a robotic kit, she became interested in robotics and artificial intelligence. She witnessed Doomfist's attack on Numbani, which damaged several OR15 defensive Omnics, and was inspired to used her skills to create Orisa from one of the damaged units. The introduction of Orisa as a playable character in February 2017 was preceded by biographical introductions to Efi on the various Overwatch social media sites.[190]

Pachimari

Pachimari are toys that appear through various Overwatch maps, customization items, and additional media. They are anime-like creatures shaped like an upside-down onion with cephalopod-type legs. Blizzard created the pachimari as they needed to have toys to populate UFO catchers on the Hanamura map. Their design was created by concept artist David Kang, who named them pachimari after the Korean word for "onion". Blizzard did not expect there to be much interest in pachimari, but there was a great deal of fan attention in the characters, with unlicensed plush toys, clothing, and other merchandise made by fans. Seeing this, Blizzard incorporated pachimari more into the game and media, including placing a "King Pachimari" atop the payload for the Junkertown map, and licensed official plush toys for purchase. Blizzard has stated since there is lore behind pachimari that they are waiting on introducing.[191]

Katya Volskaya

Katya Volskaya is the CEO and head of the Volskaya Industries, a robotic company with the purpose of ending the lives of the Omnic.

Volskaya was first seen in the animated short 'Infiltration' where she was subject to an assassination by Sombra, Reaper and Widowmaker. However, Sombra hacks the alarms and puts the events into motion that ensures her safety. It is then revealed by Sombra, when she confronts Volskaya, that she has information that the technology she uses in her mechs was actually Omnic to start. Sombra blackmails Katya and in return, she is kept alive. In the final scene, Volskaya hires Zarya to kill Sombra.

Katya Volskaya is voiced by Gulmira Mamedova.

Dr. Harold Winston

Dr. Harold Winston was the chief scientist of the Horizon Lunar Colony, a research base on the Moon where a group of genetically engineered gorillas resided to test the long-term effects of living in space. Harold took a special interest in one young gorilla who showed a great curiosity for the world around him, beginning with stealing Harold's glasses because he thought there would be more to see. Showing the young gorilla a view of Earth, Harold gave him a piece of advice he remembered years later: "Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be."

When the other gorillas on the moon base rebelled, Harold and the other human scientists were killed; his prodigy took his name "Winston" to honor his fallen mentor, and escaped to Earth in a scratch-built rocket. Winston also kept Harold's glasses, as well as a photograph of the two of them at the Horizon colony.

Balderich von Adler

Colonel Balderich von Adler was the commander of the Crusaders, a German paramilitary unit composed of armored warriors with rocket hammers and hard-light shields that served as support to the Bundeswehr, the regular German military. Balderich was approached by Overwatch to become one of its founding members during the Omnic Crisis, but was forced to lead a defense against an army of Bastions in his home village of Eichenwalde, in the Black Forest near Stuttgart. It was during this battle that the omnics unleashed the OR14 (a progenitor to the OR15 on which Orisa is based), which overwhelmed the Crusaders and their army comrades. Trapped in Eichenwalde Castle with his friend and lieutenant Reinhardt Wilhelm, Balderich intended to stand his ground, sending Reinhardt to protect the other troops, and giving him his Overwatch initiation medal. Armed with both his and Reinhardt's rocket hammers, Balderich held the line inside Eichenwalde Castle before collapsing into the throne in the great hall and dying from his injuries. Many years later, Reinhardt - living in the ruins of Eichenwalde - left his tarnished Overwatch medallion on the arm of the throne next to his friend's body, before leaving to answer Winston's call to arms.

These events are briefly shown in the animated short The Last Bastion, and in more detail in Honor and Glory, while the "Eichenwalde" map sees one team trying to protect Balderich's remains in the castle from the other advancing team.[132]

Balderich von Adler is voiced by Michael Piatt.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ From left to right: Junkrat, Lucio (middle), Doomfist (back), Soldier: 76, Roadhog (back), Zayra, Genji, Pharah (middle), Torbjörn, Moira (middle), D.Va (back), Symmetra (middle), Orisa (back), Ana, Reaper (middle), Tracer (sitting, front), Sombra (front), Winston (middle), Reinhardt (back), Mei, Hanzo, Mercy (back), Zenyatta, Widowmaker (middle), Bastion (back), McCree (middle), Brigitte
  2. ^ Patch 1.25 issued in June 2018 merged former "offense" (Doomfist, Genji, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier: 76, Sombra, and Tracer) and "defense" (Bastion, Hanzo, Junkrat, Mei, Torbjörn, and Widowmaker) into a single "damage" class.[4]

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