Blizzard has always made sure to supply their games with a generous backstory and character background. The lore and detail of Overwatch has been greatly praised, with easter eggs and references aplenty in their maps, skins, voice lines, and even sprays. All of Overwatch’s beautiful animated shorts take place within these map locations as well.
The latest map introduced at Gamescom 2017 is Junkertown. Junkertown is set in the Australian outback, home to the mercenary Junkrat and his bodyguard Roadhog. The introduction includes narration from The Queen, the leader of the Junkers. The Queen states, “The end of the world has come and gone.”, which is a direct reference to the Omnic Crisis. After the war, the Australian government gave the Australian Omnium a large piece of land in a desperate attempt at peace. Unfortunately, this displaced many residents of the Outback, including Roadhog. In retaliation, they blew up the Omnium’s fusion core, which destroyed the Omnium and irradiated the area. There is a part in the map where piles of broken Omnics can be seen.
There is still a lot left to be discovered in the map but we already know that the attacking team starts off in Junkrat and Roadhog’s house after they were kicked out from Junkertown. The end objective is to deliver the payload, filled with gold and explosives, to The Queen’s throne room, as shown in the animated short Junkertown: The Plan. The middle area is called the Scrapyard, where The Queen oversees gladiator-style mech battles.
The Overwatch-run research facility was created to study weather anomalies. Defense hero Mei-Ling Zhou is one of the scientists who were stationed there. A new animated short called Rise and Shine was also released at Gamescom 2017, telling the story of how Mei and the rest of the scientists underwent cryostasis to preserve energy and ration supplies during a particularly bad storm.
Based in Russia, Volskaya Industries is comprised of the Russian skyline and a Svyagator Mech factory. These giant human-piloted mechs allowed the Russians to win the war against the Omnics without the help of Overwatch, but the sudden revitalization of an self-sustaining Omnic factory means that the war has started again. In the animated short Infiltration, Talon agents Sombra, Reaper, and Widowmaker infiltrate the factory to try to assassinate the CEO, Katya Volskaya.
This abandoned village in Stuttgart, Germany was the site of a key battle between the German military and an Omnic army. Balderich was a General who brought his Crusaders through the village to flank the Omnic army. They managed to break down the enemy forces but Balderich collapsed in the great hall of Eichenwalde Castle.
In the animated short The Last Bastion, Bastion is awoken by Ganymede, a yellow bird that has built a nest on his shoulder. The bird follows him as Bastion makes his way to Eichenwalde as prompted by his guidance system. On the way, Bastion finds broken remains of other Bastions and goes into battle mode, though he is later pacified by Ganymede before he reaches the village. Since Bastions are hated and feared by the human population for being capable of destroying whole armies, the short is a beautiful testament to Omnics’ humanity, the main source of conflict for the Omnic Crisis.
Dorado is based in Veracruz, Mexico. It takes place during the Festival de la Luz, an annual celebration of the end of the Omnic Crisis. In the animated short Hero, Soldier:76 is chasing down the Los Muertos gang for information. However, a girl named Alejandra was caught in the struggle, and Soldier:76 gives up chasing down Los Muertos to save her. She returns to her family at the Panadería las Nieblas (Mists Bakery), which is located just outside the first point on the map.
The home of the Shimada ninja clan lies in Tokyo, Japan. It is also the ancestral home of Hanzo and Genji. After Hanzo was named heir of the Shimada clan, he fought and nearly killed Genji under orders. Though Genji was saved by Overwatch, Hanzo assumed that he was dead and was wracked with guilt over his brother’s death. In the animated short Dragons, he returns to pay respects to Genji but is surprised by his cybernetic brother. They fight, and while Genji forgives Hanzo in the end, Hanzo must learn to forgive himself.
Located in London, England, King’s Row is the site of Widowmaker’s assassination of Tekhartha Mondatta, a prominent voice of the Omnics Rights movement. In the animated short Alive, Widowmaker fights Tracer on the rooftops of King’s Row. She manages to kill Mondatta and escape. The map has memorials built for Mondatta near the first objective point.
After Overwatch was shut down by the Petras Act, Winston and Athena continued to inhabit Watchpoint: Gibraltar. In the animated short Recall, Winston is saddened by the news of conflict and wants to recall all Overwatch agents, though he is stopped by Athena. Shortly after, Talon agents including Reaper breaks into the facility to steal data regarding the location of Overwatch agents. After the fight, Winston decides to initiate the recall.
There are still plenty of maps and animated shorts on the way, so we can expect the list to grow bigger. It’s amazing to see how the whole story of Overwatch unfolds. The lore and backstory of Overwatch and all its characters continue to grow with each update.