Overwatch is an organization dedicated to international peacekeeping. At the time of its founding, between 30 and 20 years before the present day, Overwatch was a special forces unit within the United Nations comprised of elite and enhanced soldiers tasked with putting an end to the Omnic Crisis.
After succeeding in its initial mission, 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.
Shortly before the present day, Overwatch was disbanded by the United nations after the apparent death of its leaders during an investigation that identified reckless and criminal conduct by Overwatch operatives. Despite the organization being declared illegal, a handful of former agents are attempting to re-assemble Overwatch without official sanction in order to rectify growing global dangers.
The Omnic Crisis and the founding of Overwatch Edit
Overwatch was born at the lowest point for humanity during the Omnic Crisis, in response to the failure of individual nations' responses (including Russia's giant, human-piloted mechs called Svyatogors, the United States' Soldier Enhancement Program and Germany's power-armoured Crusaders) to the omnic armies.
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. At Overwatch's founding, Gabriel Reyes, senior officer and closest friend of Jack Morrison, was assigned as Strike Commander. But as Overwatch continued operations during the Crisis, Morrison became the group's heart and public face. 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 focus its efforts on the omnics' command and control infrastructure, eventually rendering most of the omnic armies inert; while the rest of humanity's armed forces finished the job, none doubted that humanity's success was due to Overwatch.
The golden age: New mission and new heroes Edit
After the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch experienced a tremendous rise in prominence. New funding and resources gave the now-public organization far-reaching global influence. Overwatch recruited many skilled, renowned, and amazingly talented fighters, scientists and adventurers from all over the world to form the ultimate organization of peacekeepers.
This change in remit came with a change in leadership. Jack Morrison was promoted to Strike Commander, possibly as his skillset and public profile made him better suited to leading Overwatch as a public peacekeeping organization (rather than its former identity as a military strike force) than Gabriel Reyes, who was re-assigned to head up the newly-formed Blackwatch, Overwatch's secret, covert operations division. Captain Ana Amari became second-in-command of Overwatch below Morrison.
Many of Overwatch's prominent operatives joined during this period. One such was Dr. Angela Ziegler, a renowned medic from Switzerland known also by her field 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.
Mercy was one of the team who saved the life of Genji Shimada, the youngest son of the Shimada Clan, a criminal organization. After his fight to the death with his brother, Genji was brought back to life in a cyborg body by Overwatch and was tasked with bringing his former clan to justice.
Overwatch also welcomed Winston, a super-intelligent, genetically engineered gorilla from the overthrown Horizon Lunar Colony, as a scientist and soldier. One of his greatest achievements in Overwatch was saving the life of pilot Lena "Tracer" Oxton. A malfunction during her test flight of the experimental Slipstream aircraft had cast Lena adrift in time; Winston's development of the chronal accelerator not only anchored her in the present but granted her fantastic, time-bending abilities. Shortly after, Lena transferred from flight operations to field combat training, and soon became one of Overwatch's most effective field agents.
With the aid of Tracer and Genji, Winston apprehended Doomfist, one of the villains who sought to bring down Numbani, a city where humans and omnics have been living together in peace since after the Crisis.
Of Blackwatch's roster, little is known. The only acknowledged agent to work for Blackwatch is 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 with his gang. Taking up Overwatch's offer, McCree was brought under the wing of Reyes and became a member of Blackwatch.
Losses and departures Edit
Even in Overwatch's heyday, some of its brightest stars were laid low.
A high-ranking agent of Overwatch, Gérard Lacroix, was assigned to an operation against Talon, a terrorist organization. Talon had kidnapped Gérard's wife, Amélie Lacroix after unsuccessful attempts to eliminate him. Eventually, Overwatch was able to retrieve her safely from Talon. Two weeks later, Gérard was assassinated in his bed and Amélie seemingly recaptured.
Her reappearance was to cost Overwatch one of its founding members. Captain Ana Amari was part of a team led by Strike Commander Morrison on a mission to rescue captured scientists from Talon. Whilst Ana 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 its visor off - revealing the face of Amélie Lacroix. The shock of seeing Amélie alive and working for Talon was followed by the realization that Amélie herself had killed her own husband in his sleep, and Ana froze, giving Amélie - now Widowmaker - time to take a fatal shot at Ana.
Further, after completing his mission and destroying the Shimada clan as a criminal organization, Genji departed Overwatch, seeking an answer to whether his cyborg nature made him human.
The seeds of the fall Edit
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. Rumours 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 closest to Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes have pointed to the rift that opened between the two men after the former was promoted to Strike Commander and the latter demoted to Blackwatch command after the Omnic Crisis as the true cause of Overwatch's fall from grace.
Over time, and despite the best efforts of the core Overwatch team, Reyes began to resent Morrison more and more for receiving the public's attention and accolades while he laboured in the shadows. Efforts to mend the relationship between the two leaders were to no avail. Reyes secretly fomented a rebellion within Overwatch, and even before the organization's downfall, some agents, including Jesse McCree, departed rather than choose sides.
The downfall of Overwatch Edit
Soon, rumors became suspicions and then outright accusations against Overwatch of negligence resulting in high-profile mission failures, corruption and mismanagement, weapons proliferation, and human rights abuses; any remaining good will amongst the authorities was almost certainly destroyed by the public uncovering of the existence of Blackwatch.
A special United Nations committee launched a lengthy and highly secretive investigation into the claims. During the investigation, 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.
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 put the now former agents of the organization on notice: Any continuation of Overwatch operations was deemed illegal and punishable by prosecution.
The dismantling of Overwatch led to an unforeseen tragedy at one of its bases of operations. 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 the scientists stranded. The scientists entered cryostasis in a last ditch effort to survive until rescue came. Years later, when the cryogenics chamber was finally discovered, all the research had been lost and Mei-Ling Zhou was left as the only survivor.
Heroes never die Edit
Several of Overwatch's former agents continued to apply their talents in the name of peace after the organization disbanded. Some stayed within the bounds of the Petras Act, like Dr. Ziegler, who used her Valkyrie suit to heal the sick and wounded.
Others skirted its bounds. Reinhardt, somewhat unhinged by his time in battle and the fall of Overwatch, became a quixotic figure, traveling Europe with his companion, Brigitte, and putting a stop to a gang that had been terrorizing small towns. Torbjörn halted a former friend's plot to use a Titan, a mass destruction weapon, to gain money. Tracer came to London to attend the speech of Tekhartha Mondatta and stumbled across Widowmaker's mission to assassinate the omnic. Although Tracer attempted to intervene, Widowmaker was successful in killing Tekhartha Mondatta and damaging Tracer's chronal accelerator.
Others flouted the Act. Jesse McCree was branded an outlaw after foiling a robbery at the Rikimaru restaurant in Hanamura and eliminating a group of Talon operatives that attacked a train in the United States (although he kicked the item that the operatives were seeking off the train, reasoning it was better to let the Talon team's reinforcements have it rather than put civilians at further risk).
And a select few returned from the dead. Strike Commander Jack Morrison escaped death in the explosion of the Overwatch headquarters. He donned a mask and created a new persona, Soldier: 76. In this guise, he infiltrated Watchpoint: Grand Mesa, a former base of Overwatch, to steal valuable technology and prototypes (including a Heavy Pulse Rifle), wounding several Helix guards in the process. Soldier: 76 went on to execute a string of attacks against criminals across the world, in order to hunt down the old enemies of Overwatch and shed light on the conspiracy that brought his organization down.
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. Shrike and Soldier: 76 encountered each other in Egypt, when Ana saved her old comrade from a trap set by the assassin known as Reaper. The trio recognized each other's true identities, resulting in the retreat of Reaper - revealed to be none other than Gabriel Reyes - and the alliance of Ana and Soldier: 76.
While Gabriel Reyes narrowly survived the explosion at the Swiss headquarters of Overwatch, something happened to him (or, perhaps, he had something done to him) in the meantime. Some speculate a failed genetic alteration which forces his cells to simultaneously decay and regenerate at a hyper-accelerated rate. Regardless, his already-enhanced abilities as a member of the Soldier Enhancement Program have been further bolstered by unearthly, ghostly abilities. He developed a new identity as Reaper and a new purpose: hunt down and assassinate former Overwatch agents. Reaper has either been working for Talon or has allied with the terrorist organization when convenient, as he has been regularly seen working alongside Talon's soldiers and agents.
Inspiring a new generation EditDespite its public fall from grace, Overwatch's reputation as a force for good was never entirely quashed amongst the public. A museum established an exhibit dedicated to the organization's achievements and exploits, and while the body of Jack Morrison was never found, his empty grave rests in Arlington National Cemetery.
The noble goal and good works of Overwatch seem to have inspired a new generation of unique individuals to employ their abilities in the name of peace and justice. Of note are Lúcio, a Brazilian DJ who shot to international fame after leading the populace of Rio de Janiero against the cruel order imposed on the city by the Vishkar corporation; D.Va, a South Korean professional video gamer and mech pilot who fights an omnic threat to her country; and Mei-Ling Zhou, a Chinese scientist who saved a nest of endangered arctic wildlife from a collapsing glacier after waking from cryostasis.
The recall EditEven though he remained in seclusion at the old Overwatch base called Watchpoint: Gibraltar and busied himself with new inventions, no former agent of Overwatch held onto the dream of a better world at the heart of the organization more fiercely than the gorilla scientist Winston. He monitored news channels for updates on the worsening global situation, particularly the death toll from the Second Omnic Crisis. Although tempted on multiple occasions to activate a routine within the Watchpoint's systems that would send a recall to active duty to its database of former Overwatch agents, Winston heeded the advice of his only companion in exile, the Overwatch artificial intelligence Athena, who reminded him of the consequences of contravening the Petras Act and counselled him to accept the current state of the world.
This changed when Watchpoint: Gibraltar was recently attacked by a Talon infiltration team headed by Reaper. Though Winston managed to thwart the attack, Reaper almost succeeded in stealing the database containing the identities and whereabouts of Overwatch's former agents.
Deciding to choose his dream of the world as it could be over the threat of criminal prosecution if caught, Winston activated the recall, summoning Overwatch back into action.
Overwatch Now: Outlaws and Adventurers Edit
The public began to suspect Overwatch's return after Winston and Tracer thwarted an attack on the museum exhibit dedicated to Overwatch by Reaper and Widowmaker, attempting to retrieve Doomfist's gauntlet. A report by journalist Olympia Shaw highlighted the brave actions of two children at the exhibit and speculated on the gift of hope that Tracer and Overwatch had given not just the boys but the world.
It is unclear how many Overwatch agents have returned to active duty under Winston's leadership. Tracer is certain, with Mercy, Torbjörn and Reinhardt likely. Many other as-yet unidentified former agents exist in the Overwatch database. Some have also suggested that Athena herself may take to the field via a robotic body.
While Jesse McCree is already an outlaw and potentially has little to lose by returning to active duty, his current allegiances remain unclear, and as Morrison, Amari and Reyes are listed as deceased, it is unlikely that they were sent the recall.
Also unclear is whether Winston has extended an invitation to join Overwatch to more recent independent adventurers such as Lúcio, D.Va or Mei.
Assets and Resources Edit
Even without official sanction or the backing of its supporting nations, the reconstituted Overwatch has a surprising amount of resources; it is able to rapidly deploy agents to international locations using MV-261 Orca VTOL aircraft and allow them to resupply and repair after action.
Original Strike Team (Founders)Edit
These members were recruited to combat the Omnic Crisis.
- Jack Morrison: A member of the USA's Soldier Enhancement Program, Morrison was promoted to Strike Commander after the Omnic Crisis and became a public icon for Overwatch.
- Jack Morrison was presumed to be dead at the Swiss Headquarters's explosion. He survived and 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: A member of the USA's Soldier Enhancement Program, a veteran, and friend of Morrison, who was the first leader of Overwatch in the Omnic Crisis and later came to lead Blackwatch.
- Gabriel Reyes was presumed to be dead at the Swiss Headquarters's explosion. He survived and picked up the identity Reaper since. He seemed to be hunting down former Overwatch's agents and has been seen working with Talon, a terrorist organization and enemy of Overwatch.
- Ana Amari: An expert sniper with call sign Horus from Egypt. She was promoted to Captain and later became second-in-command behind Morrison. She was presumed to be dead in a hostage rescue operation. Her call sign in Overwatch is Ana.
- 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, only coming out of hiding recently,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: An expert weapons designer from Sweden, once a member of Ironclad Guild. After the Omnic Crisis, Lindholm had continued to develop new technology and was promoted to Chief Engineer of Overwatch, where he designed and produce weapons new weapons. His call sign in Overwatch is Torbjörn.
- 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 he received the recall from Winston.
- Reinhardt Wilhelm: A decorated German soldier and a Crusader. Wilhelm had continued to be a frontline soldier for Overwatch as a Lieutenant after the Omnic Crisis until his fifties when he faced mandatory retirement. His call sign in Overwatch is Reinhardt.
- After the shutdown of Overwatch, he kept the Crusader armor and traveled around Europe to continue to fight for justice with his friend, Brigitte. Reinhardt Wilhelm was in Nuuk, Greenland when he received the recall from Winston.
- Liao: No information about this person, except for their last name.
Post-Omnic Crisis MembersEdit
- Prominent members
- Angela Ziegler: An innovative field medic from Switzerland hired for her nanobiology expertise. She joined Overwatch before the age of 17 and became the head of medical research and a Combat Medic. 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 she received the recall from Winston.
- Winston: A survivor of the Horizon Lunar Colony uprising. Winston joined Overwatch and became their leading scientist, also a competent combatant. He saved the life of agent Lena Oxton by design a chronal accelerator to stabilize her chronal disassociation. He was also known for his subjugation of Doomfist.
- Lena Oxton: A former Overwatch pilot with fearless piloting skill. 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.
- Jesse McCree: A former member of the Deadlock Gang who turned a new leaf in Blackwatch under the call sign McCree. 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 he received the recall from Winston.
- Genji Shimada: The former heir to the Shimada ninja clan whose life was saved by Angela Ziegler using Overwatch's high-tech prosthetics. The younger Shimada joined Blackwatch under the call sign Genji to bring down his old family and left the organization when the deed is done.
- After leaving Overwatch, he went to the Shambali Monastery, Nepal to seek for the answer of his life. Genji Shimada was in Japan when he received the recall from Winston.
- Mei-Ling Zhou: 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, Zhou and other scientists decided to enter cryostasis to survive. A decade later, Mei-Ling Zhou was the only survivor.
- After waking up from cryostasis, Mei decided to continue her work on her own, for all of her scientific data was lost after the accident at Watchpoint: Antarctica. She is travelling around the world with her AI companion, Snowball. Overwatch and Winston might have not been aware of her incident and recovery, as she was not included in the recall.
- Gérard Lacroix: A high-ranking member leading missions against Talon. Killed by his brainwashed wife, Amélie Lacroix.
- Military agents
- 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.
- Lt. Maria Estrada: Pilot of the "Aurora OSS-7" found on Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
- Adams: A researcher stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Presumed dead.
- MacReady: An engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Presumed dead.
- Opara: A cryonics engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Presumed dead.
- Torres: A cryonics engineer stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Presumed dead.
- Arrhenius: A climatologist stationed at Ecopoint: Antarctica. Presumed dead.
- 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 Edit
- 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.
- 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. A notable member of Talon is Widowmaker, the former wife of Gérard Lacroix.
- 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.
- Doomfist: Defeated by Winston. Doomfist's gauntlet used to be on display at Numbani. After the release of Orisa, the gauntlet appears to be gone.
- 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 Janiero, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story
- An unknown party in Seattle, seen in the Soldier: 76 Origin Story