The game is set 60 years in the future, but the story really starts a mere 30 years down the road. It’s a future brimming with technological advancements — teleportation technology, flying cars, laser guns, and clear steps forward in robotics. Mankind developed artificial intelligence — real artificial intelligence, creating sentient robots for the purpose of bolstering manufacturing and creating economic equality worldwide. These robots, called omnics, and their facilities, called omniums, were incredibly common all over the world. People existed side by side with omnics, and while it wasn’t exactly utopia, it was peaceful.
Unfortunately, that peace didn’t last. For some reason, the ominums went rogue, and began churning out armies of militarized omnics that promptly began a global effort to overthrow the human race. Uprisings sprouted up all over the world — because the omniums themselves were scattered all over the world. And despite mankind’s technological prowess, there was very little the individual nations of the world could do against such a large-scale threat. Understandable, considering the omnics likely had access to every piece of technology the human race had.
Desperate to fight back, the United Nations came together to try and find some kind of solution. Gabrielle Adawe, secretary-general of the UN, formed a team of the world’s best soldiers and best technology, creating an elite strike unit that was hopefully capable of bringing down the threat. This team, called Overwatch, was filled with soldiers from all over the world. The appointed leader was a military veteran and member of the soldier enhancement program — a man from Los Angeles named Gabriel Reyes. His second was another member of the same soldier enhancement program and a close friend: John “Jack” Morrison. Rounding out the command group was Angela Ziegler, head of medical research for the program.
The team itself was fairly small to begin with, with notable names like Gérard Lacroix, armorer Torbjörn Lindholm, pilot Lena “Tracer” Oxton, Genji Shimada, Reinhardt Wilhelm, and Winston — a super-intelligent genetically engineered gorilla who also happened to be a brilliant scientist. There were others involved as well, but those were the “biggest” names. And they performed exactly as hoped — together, the team took down the force behind the omnic uprising and saved the world.
The result was utter adoration. The world fell in love with Overwatch, and the team transformed into an international peacekeeping force that delved into exploration and discovery. New agents were recruited, and the organization’s goals expanded to include more than just keeping the peace. Overwatch delved into space exploration, medical research and advancements, and climatology, keeping careful watch over the Earth’s ecosystem.
And through it all, they also kept a close eye on maintaining the peace, taking down terrorist organizations and keeping a watchful eye on the world. But even though Overwatch was beloved, it didn’t mean the organization wasn’t without its own problems. Although Reyes was given command of Overwatch, it was Morrison who shaped the overall structure of the team and turned it into an effective fighting force, bringing out the best in those around him and enabling them to end the Omnic Crisis. His service didn’t go unrecognized, and after the Omnic Crisis was ended, Morrison was promoted to Overwatch’s first official commander.
This…didn’t go well, not internally. Reyes was upset that he was overlooked for the command position, and consequentially the friendship between the Reyes and Morrison evaporated, leading to conflict within the team. Some sided with Reyes, others with Morrison, and the tension was tearing Overwatch apart from within. On top of that, the organization was under fire from a series of shocking allegations accusing Overwatch of negligence, corruption and mismanagement, weapons proliferation, human rights abuses, and more. Protests broke out as more and more people began losing trust in the organization and its agents.
The UN launched a series of investigations into the claims, but before they could come to any conclusions, tragedy struck — Overwatch’s Swiss headquarters were destroyed in an apparent accident that claimed the lives of both Morrison and Reyes. Although the UN claimed that there was no foul play involved, some wondered if their constant bickering finally led to an explosive conclusion. Between the deaths and the investigation, Overwatch crumpled.
Thirty years after it was founded, Overwatch was officially disbanded. Its agents, once shining heroes, were now viewed with suspicion and derision by the media and by the world. Most people around the world don’t know exactly what happened to the Swiss headquarters — all they believe is what they hear in the media, and the media isn’t particularly kind. Still, there are those that look at Overwatch with fond memories, even though the organization fell apart in disgrace.
Despite Overwatch’s downfall, there were still former agents that had fond memories of the organization and what made it work so well in the first place. Heroism, sacrifice, nobility, peace… the world grew a little darker the day Overwatch died, and without anyone to watch over it, the bright hope of the future only continued to dim. It was Winston who saw what the world had come to, and decided to try and reform the team — without the UN or anyone else involved. He traveled to Watchpoint: Gibraltar, an old Overwatch outpost, and launched a satellite drone that restored Overwatch’s old communications network.
Today, Overwatch exists as an independent organization of heroes — some new, some old, some even emerging from retirement. They’re all doing what they do best: trying to make the world a better place. Whether or not they’ll succeed is still anyone’s guess. But if Winston and the rest of the team have their way, the dark days following Overwatch’s fall will fade to distant memory, and the world will return to a place of exploration, discovery, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
(Taken from http://blizzardwatch.com/2016/02/19/know-your-lore-overwatch-and-the-omnic-crisis/)