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January 5, 2023

The Complete Guide to Understanding Overwatch's Intriguing Lore

Overwatch 2 takes place after the somewhat obscure events of Overwatch. Click to catch up with the story.

Overwatch has a lot in store regarding lore content, and Blizzard has been gradually releasing the story through a variety of media, including comics, short stories, and animated videos.

With the release of Overwatch 2 this year and much more content that is yet to come, it is high time that we refresh our knowledge of the Overwatch lore so that we might be able to appreciate the story and the game even more. So, read on to learn where it all started and how things are going in the world of Overwatch.

The Omnic Crisis

The beginning of the Omnic crisis overwatch 2

Let's start from the very beginning; the world and events of Overwatch are shaped predominantly by a war between robots and humans known as the 'Omnic crisis'. Long before the main game's events, a company called Omnica Corporation set up several factories known as 'Omniums' in multiple countries.

These Omniums would mark a revolution in robotic manufacturing as they were automated and based on self-improving software algorithms. The Omnica corporation promised an economic revolution through the advanced robots manufactured in the Omniums.

However, these claims would never come to fruition as several instances of malfunction are reported, and after further investigation, the Omnica corporation is billed for fraud and is dissolved. All the Omniums which were operating under the corporation are decommissioned.

The Formation of Overwatch

Sometime later, multiple Omniums somehow reactivated and started mass-manufacturing powerful robotic war machines called Omnics. These Omnics start an all-out war against humans. Their siege starts in Russia, rapidly spreading to multiple other countries in a matter of days; this is the beginning of the Omnic Crisis.

In response to the Omnic assault, humans implement their war strategies. The Russians release a line of manned assault robots known as the Svyavotogor. The Germans form a paramilitary organization known as the Crusaders, of which Reinhardt Wilhelm is a part.

The United States of America launches the Soldier Enhancement Program, a highly-classified project to turn ordinary troops into powerful super soldiers.

Soldier 76 was one of the first enhanced Soldiers in Overwatch

The Soldier Enhancement Program sets the basis for Overwatch, as two of its most prominent leaders are enhanced through it. These soldiers are none other than Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison. When all other attempts to repel the Omnic Invasion fail miserably, the United Nations orders the formation of the Overwatch strike team to deal with the Omnics once and for all.

The original Overwatch team consists of Gabriel Reyes, Jack Morrison, Ana Amari, Torbjorn Lindholm, Mina Liao, and Reinhardt Wilhelm, who joins in place of Balderich von Adler after he sacrifices himself fighting against the Omnics. Gabriel Reyes is selected as the newly formed team's first Strike Commander.

Overwatch achieves several victories against the Omnics and gives a newfound hope to humanity.

The End Of The Omnic Crisis And Formation of Blackwatch

Overwatch launches successful attacks on the Omnic command, and as a result, most of the Omnic armies are now neutralized, marking the end of the Omnic Crisis. With the threat of the Omnics now dealt with, Overwatch transitions into a peacetime organization, with Jack Morrison replacing Gabriel Reyes as the new Strike Commander.

Reaper, also known as Gabriel Reyes.

Reyes was given command of the newly-formed Blackwatch, which was Overwatch's covert operation unit. Blackwatch operated off the grid, and its operations were highly secretive. Blackwatch captures outlaw Jesse McCree in one of their sting operations during this time. McCree is given two options: he could either join Blackwatch under Reyes or be imprisoned, and he accepts the former.

With the end of the Omnic war, humans and Omnics started co-existing with each other. However, there is still some deep-rooted hatred for each other in certain communities, and the problems between both groups give rise to many issues.

The Golden Age

Due to their role in ending the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch team members are hailed as heroes and celebrated worldwide; this is the Golden Age of Overwatch. On the other hand, Omnics from a Himalayan monastery gained fame and appreciation due to their efforts towards Human-Omnic harmony.

The monastery, known as the Shambali, was led by the Omnic monk Tekharta Mondatta.

The Australian Omnium Incident

Problems between humans and Omnics start rising after the Australian government decides to gift the Australian omnium to a local Omnic community. As a result, many humans are displaced from their homes, and the Australian Liberation front is formed, which launches direct action against the omnium facility.

The ALF decides to neutralize the Australian Omnium by sabotaging its fusion core; this causes a massive explosion that spreads radiation in the nearby area. This leads to further tensions between humans and Omnic communities.

Mei's Arc

After some time, a massive storm hits an overwatch-run facility called Ecopoint: Antarctica, where scientists had been commissioned to research cryostasis technology and climate anomalies.

They had lost all contact with the outside world, and their food supplies started to dwindle. As a result, the scientists decided to freeze themselves and go into a state of cryostasis until help arrived from the outside. The scientists were found about a decade later, and all of them had died except for Mei-Ling Zhou, one of the game's heroes.

Genji's Arc

Genji's arc is also built around this time with the death of his father Sojiro Shimada, leader of the Shimada clan. Genji lived a carefree lifestyle under the patronage of his father, whereas his elder brother Hanzo was trained to be the clan's successor.

Genji, the rogue ninja who is now a part of Overwatch.

The clan elders never liked Genji, and after Sojiro's death, they pressured Hanzo to kill him. Genji was, in turn, saved by Mercy and subsequently joined Blackwatch under the command of Gabriel Reyes.

The Fall of Overwatch

The Golden age of Overwatch lasts for around 20 years, after which multiple problems start arising for the organization, and it sees a gradual decline. At first, corruption allegations are leveled against Overwatch and suspicions of illegal activity. Around this time, Moira is recruited into Blackwatch to conduct experiments on Reyes.

On the other hand, Overwatch's experimental fighter jet, Slipstream, faces a malfunction and goes missing along with the pilot, Lena Oxton, aka Tracer. She is eventually found and seems to be in a state of chronal dissociation. Overwatch agent Winston works on a possible solution and builds the chronal accelerator.

Tracer is now stabilized in the present with the help of Winston, and the two overwatch agents start testing out the abilities that Tracer now has due to the chronal accelerator.

The Venice Incident

For a long time, Overwatch had been committed to destroying the terrorist organization known as Talon, which in response, attacked multiple Overwatch targets throughout the world. One of these attacks was targeted at an Overwatch facility in Oslo, Norway. In response, Strike Commander Morrison holds a press conference in which he affirms that an investigation will be conducted and better security measures will be implemented.

After the attack, Blackwatch commander Gabriel Reyes and his agent, Jesse McCree, meet up with an Overwatch agent named Gerard Lacroix at a Blackwatch facility in Rome. Lacroix informs the Blackwatch operatives that the Oslo attack was planned by a Talon leader named Antonio Bartalotti.

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Bartalloti is very well-connected and cannot be arrested directly, so the operatives decide that Overwatch should pick off and arrest his employees for bringing him down slowly.

In the meantime, a bomb is set up in the Blackwatch facility, which explodes just as Reyes and McCree are about to leave. Lacroix is heavily injured, and several other operatives have died. Strike Commander Morrison wants an official investigation into the attack and collaborates with the Italian government.

overwatch animated short depicting the Venice incident

Commander Reyes plans to kidnap Bartalloti in a covert operation in Italy; Morrison shows a bit of reluctance but leaves the final decision to Reyes. Reyes takes Blackwatch operatives McCree, Moira, and Genji with him and begins materializing his plan. 

The operatives get access to Bartalloti's manor and remain undetected. However, upon confrontation with the well-connected Talon leader, Reyes realizes that he would not be able to keep him in prison and decides to kill Bartalloti.

Blackwatch's cover is blown, and the operatives now have to fight with multiple Talon operatives as they try to escape the scene; in which they succeed and are evacuated by their pilot.

This incident completely blew the lid off of Blackwatch, and its existence became public knowledge. Inquiries are held against the covert cell by Morrison. Moreover, the Japanese government reports a complaint against Blackwatch for illegal activity within their borders. Maximilien and Doomfist now hold Bartalloti's power.

Null Sector Uprising

omnic robots from the null sector

The Omnic monk Tekartha is kidnapped alongside the London mayor by the extremist Omnic group known as the Null Sector. The hostages are kept inside a King's Row powerplant. The British PM does not allow Overwatch to operate within the country.

McCree flies to the UK and provides intelligence related to the Null sector. At last, Strike Commander Morrison ignores the requests from the UN Director and disregards the UK Prime minister's orders by deploying an Overwatch field team to King's Row.

Swiss HQ Destroyed

About a year after the null sector uprising, Talon leader Maximilien is captured by Overwatch and Blackwatch operatives in Havana. He reveals that Doomfist will arrive in Singapore in about three weeks, from where Winston, Tracer, and Genji capture him.

In the meantime, the UN orders an under-the-radar investigation into Overwatch and Blackwatch. In a surprising turn of events, Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes are reportedly killed in an explosion that destroys the Overwatch Swiss HQ.

Finally, Overwatch is officially disbanded by the United Nations. The Petras Act is ratified, making it illegal for former overwatch agents to have anything to do with activities related to Overwatch's original mission.

The Resurrection

Second Omnic Crisis

The tensions between humans and Omnics are at an all-time high in Russia; this marks the start of the Second Omnic Crisis. As reports keep coming in, the death toll is estimated at over 50,000.

Moreover, the mysterious entity known as Reaper raids Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Even though Winston foils his attempts, he still successfully obtains a list of former Overwatch agents that he plans to assassinate.

Seeing all this, Winston recalls all former Overwatch agents by sending a signal, to which Tracer responds immediately. Genji reveals to his brother Hanzo that he is not dead. Reinhardt ultimately decides to answer Winston's call even though Brigitte was very reluctant, as it violates the Petras Act.

Both of them had been repairing Reinhardt's Crusader armor to deal with a local gang in Germany.

Current Events

The sniper called Shrike makes several attacks on Talon operatives in Egypt, disrupting many of their operations. Soldier: 76 is attacked by the Reaper while he assaults a criminal compound in Giza, but is saved with the help of Shrike.

At this point, Shrike and Soldier: 76 reveal their identities and are none other than Ana Amari and Jack Morrison respectively, both believed to have been dead for a long time. Reaper then leads an assassination mission on behalf of Talon to kill Katya Volskaya, CEO of Volskaya industries.

His team includes Sombra and Widowmaker, who had earlier assassinated Tekatha Mondatta when he was scheduled to speak in King's Row. The mission, however, failed due to Sombra's incompetence. Another of Reaper's raids was foiled by Winston and Tracer when he tried to attack an Overwatch museum exhibit to retrieve the Doomfist gauntlet.

In the following year, Doomfist would escape from Helix Security International prison and meet up with Maximilien. Doomfist then meets with the rest of the Talon board members alongside Reaper and retrieves his gauntlet. Doomfist ultimately retrieves his gauntlet by destroying waves of defense robots thrown at him.

Finally, McCree also decides to answer Winston's recall after finishing the Deadlock gang.

Overwatch 2

The reinstated Overwatch strike team led by Winston has to deal with the Null sector and save Paris from its grasp.

overwatch heroes facing off in paris

Now that you know all about the events leading up to Overwatch 2, you can hop into the game and know exactly which war you’re fighting. And if you feel like your characters could use a little extra bling, you can head on over to to earn rewards straight in the form of Blizzard Entertainment gift cards.

This is about everything you need to know about the current situation in the Overwatch lore. Blizzard is gradually releasing new lore aspects piece by piece, and many questions remain to be answered as of yet. We're all waiting to see what's in store.



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