Overwatch was born from Project Titan’s ashes. Project Titan was Blizzard’s first original game that wasn't a franchise since World of Warcraft. In 2007, Blizzard posted numerous job listings for environment and character artists, prompting speculation that they were starting a new project. This proved to be true, as Blizzard confirmed it was a brand new game in 2008. The game continued to grow and change with each rework and reassessment, even changing directions entirely in 2013. Finally, Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime announced the cancellation of Titan and said that “We didn’t find the fun. We didn’t find the passion.” Ultimately, the ambitious Project Titan was scrapped, but a core team of developers and designers from Project Titan stayed on and created Overwatch.
Each hero has different footstep sounds. Overwatch features a lot of beautiful details, including their attention to sound. The game is actually hard to play well without listening to in-game cues and voice lines. It’s common knowledge that each hero has different voice lines for ultimates depending on whether they are on your team or the enemy team. However, even the footsteps of heroes are all different. If the game music is turned down, it is possible to learn each hero’s footsteps, so you’re never caught by surprise at the McCree turning around the corner. Crouching will also decrease the sound of footsteps, useful if you’re sneaking around the enemy team lines. The only hero without footsteps is Zenyatta because he floats! (Although interestingly enough he can still get caught in Junkrat’s trap!)
Winston was not his original name. Winston is the name of our favorite giant gorilla in a spacesuit, but he actually took the name after his scientist handler, Dr Harold Winston. While researching effects of prolonged extraterrestrial life on genetically enhanced hyper-intelligent gorillas at the Horizon Lunar Colony, Dr. Winston became attached to a young gorilla, Specimen 28. Later on, as the gorillas grew more belligerent and ultimately plotted for the scientists’ demise, Specimen 28 escaped to Earth, building a makeshift rocket and taking Dr. Winston’s suit. Specimen 28 adopted Winston’s name, glasses, and optimism.
Pharah was originally meant to be male In early character designs, Pharah was a male named “Rocketman”. Her character was created from “bottom-up”, meaning that her abilities were first designed and then only was a character made around it. Her general idea was simple and straightforward: some dude shooting rockets from the sky.
Enemy voice lines are in their native tongues. Ultimates are a big part of Overwatch and can turn the tide of a game. Each hero has a different voice line for their ultimates but sometimes you may be unsure if it’s a teammate’s ultimate or an enemy’s. A good way to differentiate is that almost all enemy ultimate voice lines are in their native tongues, such as an enemy Zarya’s “Ogon po gotovnosti” in Russian or Mercy’s “Helden sterben nicht!” in German. As a general rule, start running when you hear angry Japanese yelling from either Hanzo or Genji!
McCree’s Deadeye has a tumbleweed roll by. When McCree activates his ultimate Deadeye, a tumbleweed rolls by in accordance with his cowboy theme. The tumbleweed itself doesn’t do much and disappears after a while. In his recent Summer Games event skin, however, the tumbleweed changes into a beach ball that matches his lifeguard skin!
Lucio and Symmetra have history. Lucio is a professional D.J. while Symmetra is an architect and it doesn’t seem like they should have much in common. However, some players have noted that their in-game voice lines to each other seem particularly hostile. Their backstories are related to the Vishkar Corporation, at which Symmetra is employed. Vishkar encroached upon Rio, Brazil in an effort to “create perfection”, destroying many people’s homes and lives in the process. Lucio, enraged by this, broke into Vishkar to steal the sound technology (that he wears into battle now) and lead a riot against the company to drive them out of Brazil.
D.Va is a professional StarCraft 2 player from South Korea. In South Korea, professional Esports players are superstars in their own right, having huge fan bases and being invited to talk shows and such. D.Va rose to fame competing in StarCraft 2 tournaments before being crowned StarCraft’s #1 Player at the age of 16. At the age of 19, she was drafted by the military to pilot giant mechs, as Omnics have managed to hack through remotely-controlled drones. D.Va, seeing this as a new game, abandoned her Esports career. She now streams combat operations to her adoring fans instead, turning herself into a global icon.
Bonfire with sword through it is reference to Dark Souls In the map Eichenwalde, there is a small room with a lit bonfire with a sword through it. This is a reference for Dark Souls, a game notorious for being brutal on its players. The bonfire allows for players to heal up and save in Dark Souls. Naturally enough, there is a large health pack next to it, for the Overwatch heroes that would need healing too!
Widowmaker was brainwashed by Talon. Amélie Guillard was once an accomplished ballet dancer in Paris. She married Gérard Lacroix, a prominent Overwatch agent leading operations against the terrorist group Talon. After a few failed assassination attempts on Gérard, Talon changed their target and kidnapped Amélie instead. They broke her will and suppressed her personality, turning her into a sleeper agent. She was soon found by Overwatch agents and returned to Gérard. Two weeks later, she murdered him in his sleep and escaped back to Talon. Talon then continued to process her into the perfect killing machine, slowing her heart rate so her skin turned blue and numbing her emotions so she feels nothing. However, in the comic released by Blizzard for the Christmas event in 2016, she is standing over her husband’s grave with a fresh rose. Fans speculate that her brainwashing might be wearing off.