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Exploring The Narrative in Overwatch Game

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Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment, 2016) is an online multiplayer First Person Shoots (FPS), premiered at Blizzcon 2014 as Blizzards first original franchise in seventeen years. The backstory for this game is that a group of heros were brought together because of an uprising of robots known as the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch was the name of the task force assembled to try and stop the Omnic Crisis.

In the Beginning Set in the future about 60 years from now, but the actual story behind the game starts 30 years from now. Mankind developed all sorts of technology flying cars, laser guns, and artificial intelligence; but not just any artificial intelligence, they created sentient robots. They called these robots Omnics. The facilities were called omniums. These omniums were common all across the world. For a while humans and Omnics existed side by side. Of course, it wasn’t always a perfect union but it was peaceful. Peace did not last long, the ominums suddenly turned against the humans and the Ominums began to make militarized omnics. These weaponised Omnics quickly began to brutal attack against the humans hoping to overthrow them. Because Omniums where all over the world, it was hard for individual nations to try and contain the problem, this wasn’t a simple attack it was a large scale threat.

The United Nations needed to try and find a solution, something they could do to help. Gabrielle Reyes – a secretary-general of the UN, formed a team of the world’s best soldiers, hoping that this team would be able to come together and tackle the Omnic uprising, bringing down the threat. They called this team Overwatch.
“Overwatch, was filled with soldiers from all over the world. The appointed leader was a military veteran and member of the soldier enhancement program called Gabriel Reyes (AKA – Reaper). His second was another member of the same soldier enhancement program and a close friend: John “Jack” Morrison (AKA – Soldier 76)”.

Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison lead the team with Gérard Lacroix, Torbjörn Lindholm, Reinhardt Wilhelm, Ana Amari, and Liao in the ranks. Of course, over time the team grew, but these were the original seven and were considered to be the original founders of the Overwatch team. The team was tasked to work together and take down the omnic uprising, they battled valiantly and eventually prevailed. While Gabrielle Reyes was given command of Overwatch, Jack Morrison was the man who shaped the structure of Overwatch and helped to transform it into an effective fighting force. Morrison has the ability to bring out the best of those around him.

Jack Morrison’s services did not go unrecognised and when the Omnic Crisis was over Jack Morrison was promoted to the position of Overwatch’s first official commander. Overwatch’s success gave them instant fame, the world loved the team and Overwatch quickly became and international peacekeeping force taking down terrorist organisations and combating crime gangs. The team recruited more agents. And as they recruited more agents they decided to expand and do more than peacekeeping, the team began to explore things like medical research, space travel and exploration and Climatology they wanted to better the world they lived in and took an active role in watching over the Earth’s ecosystem. The Fall of OverwatchAll good things come to an end, Gabrielle Reye was upset that he was excluded when the command position was assigned to Morrison. Gabrielle and Jack’s friendship dissipated and this lead to struggles within the overwatch team.

Tensions rose as the Overwatch team became divided, some of the team sided with Gabrielle Reyes and some with Jack Morrison. And as if the inside conflict wasn’t bad enough; the Overwatch Organization was now under attack from an unknown outside force. Allegations accusing the team of Corruption, Mismanagement and human rights abuse were made and suddenly the once loved heros were viewed with suspicion. A series of investigations were launched so that they could hopefully put a rest to the terrible allegations surrounding the team. Unfortunately, before the United Nations could come to any form of conclusion tragedy hit the team.

Overwatch’s Switzerland headquarters were destroyed in what was referred to as an accident. This ‘accident’ unfortunately claimed the lives of both Gabrielle Reyes and Jack Morrison. The United Nations said there was no foul play involved in the attack. People questioned if the constant argument within the team had come to some sort of an explosive head. Between the investigations of Overwatch and the deaths of Gabrielle Reyes and Jack Morrison the Overwatch organisation fell. Twenty Overwatch stopped the Omnic Crisis, the team disbanded; its members, that were once considered to be heros, where now disgraced.

The game starts with a cutscene, Winston makes a video addressing the former agents of Overwatch, asking them to step up and fight. Crime is at an all time high and winston points out about the good Overwatch used to do, what Overwatch used to stand for. However, by doing this because Overwatch was disbanded, any activity carried out by the group is considered illegal; the group is still considered to be outlawed. At present time in the game Overwatch exists as an independent organisation of heros, some new and some old. They all play their part in hopes that they will be able to make the world a better place again. Why Is The Narrative Important? In terms of Narrative in games, most the time it’s not important. Normally, the story is only present to move the game along in a way that makes sense.

In simplest terms narrative in games is a means to an end. Especially with first person shooters, in those sorts of games if a developer doesn’t need to include a narrative, they won’t. Overwatch’s Narrative is left mostly open despite having a few events that were given to us a part of the world by the developers. while we are told about the Omnic crisis and why Overwatch was formed, a lot of the story is left to the community. And that is an intentional part of the design. Game Designer Michael Chu (2016) said “We just wanted a big universe that people could interact with.” Allowing the gaming community to create Fan-Art, Fan-Fictions, Fan-Theories. The game was left open so it could inspire creativity in it’s players. And this is an amazing feature that can bring people together. Websites like Tumblr, DeviantART, Archive of Our own. Are full of active and passionate people that create content based around Overwatch. People who love the idea so much they create fan-art and stories for fun and post them for other people to see. It’s something that I personally love to see with films or games, but it doesn’t happen often. Normally when there is a set story people get defensive over the ‘cannon’ story and won’t tolerate fan ideas that change that.

However because Overwatch is so open it allows for creative freedom, there isn’t a ‘set cannon’. Vince Ingenito (2016) comment on “Overwatch exists at an intersection between design and artistry […] their diverse appearances, origins, and personalities are all laid bare with every pose they strike.” Ingenito talks about how the diversity of the group, how because each of the hero’s are so different it makes the game so much more interesting. Giving each of the characters a story, a life before Overwatch; an origin. And I agree with Ingenito, having the diversity within the team and knowing that each of the characters, these people have personality, hace strengths and weaknesses. It makes the game feel a little more thought out, gives the game a purpose and meaning and I think it makes it more enjoyable knowing that these people are doing something that they know is right. Knowing that they’re seeking justice for people who can’t.


  1. Blizzard Entertainment. (2016) Overwatch Logo. Available at: Image 1: Blizzard. (2016).
  2. Overwatch the original team. Available at: Unlisted Author. (2016).
  3. Post Omnic Crisis: The Golden Age . Available: Last accessed 10/11/2017.
  4. Image 2: Blizzard (2017), Image : Protests against Overwatch, Available: Blizzard Entertainment. (2016).
  5. Overwatch: Tracer Origin Story. [Online Video]. 19 August 2016. Available from: [Accessed: 7 December 2017].IGN. 2016. Overwatch Review. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 7 December 2017].
  6. Polygon. 2016. How Overwatch still stuffs story into a campaign-less game. [ONLINE] Available at: <a></a>.

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Exploring The Narrative In Overwatch Game. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
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