We are almost done with archives, and it would seem that Jeff of the Overwatch Team may be making plans to murder off someone!
For those who follow Blizzard’s hero shooter, you can say there are three things that keep people invested: the story, the Overwatch League, and how the game itself evolves. In terms of the story, we haven’t spent enough time in the present as we have in the past. There’s nothing wrong with covering the lore, but we will be eventually looking at the story of ‘Overwatch vs Talon’, coming soon.
Yet as exciting as it is to think of what will happen, Jeff clarified that a character getting killed off in the story is entirely possible. During an open Q&A at Blizzard’s HQ to commemorate the newest event, the question came up about the current day in-game. Jeff responded by noting that the team has to earn those moments first. From an excerpt from an article written on Kotaku:
“We get in arguments about this all the time on the team,” he said. “Can we kill a character? If we kill a character, who would it be?” It’s possible, he said, but with one big caveat: if a character “dies” in the story, they’ll still be playable in the game. “We will not remove a hero from the roster,” Kaplan said. “No one has to worry about that.”
So it isn’t like if Reaper were to shoot Soldier 76 point blank with a shotgun blast, Morrison faces deletion from the game forever. Rather, the story would proceed forward with that character dead and never coming back. This leads to a simple question: which Overwatch character would bite the big one? It is one thing to have a character get killed, but another to have their death leave an impact.
Well, let’s put our Reaper masks on and dive into this fun what-if. For all we know, no actual characters will die in the story and it’s not going to happen right away either. Still, from the cast we have, it is possible we’ve discovered everything there is to know about someone, so they may take their leave if Blizzard wanted to make that happen. Here are six characters that would be the most likely to wind up in the grave soon enough.
Soldier 76: The Death of Morrison
To start things off, we have what would be the most likely candidate to meet their end. Jack Morrison was the former Strike Commander for Overwatch before an attack at the Swiss Headquarters left the public thinking he died. From there, he started a one-man string of attacks against various shadowy corporations, institutions and former Overwatch bases to avenge the fallen organization. Up to this point, he had encountered Reaper and made contact with Ana, although it is unknown if he met up with other former operatives.
If Morrison were to die off, it might lead to quite a few numbers of things. One of the bigger ones being that his death may be the tipping point in having former Overwatch members reunite to take the fight against Talon. Winston was the one to recall agents back to duty, but perhaps not everyone would be keen on following a gorilla scientist into battle. If 76 falls in battle and the world finds out who he is, it could be the beginning of a brand new Overwatch.
Ana: Making Sure She Stays Down
Another candidate to meet their end soon would be someone who also faked their death. The former second-in-command was one of the best snipers in the world who preferred quick, clean kills as opposed to having her targets suffer. That was at least until a mission where, while trying to rescue a group of scientists, she got into a sniper duel with Widowmaker and got her right eye shot out. Much like 76, the world thought Ana died that day, but she slipped into the shadows to continue her fight for justice after recovering.
Chances are that if she were to get shot down for good, it may cause some drastic changes in a few characters. Pharah knows her mother is alive (via the letter Ana wrote in her Origin trailer), and her mother’s death would spark a newfound sense of duty in her mission and why Overwatch needs to return. Outside her, though, not many others (other than Reyes and Morrison) know she’s still kicking, so it would be hard to say how her death would impact the whole cast. Still, a moment where Pharah witnesses Ana’s final moments could be a very impactful moment if done right.
Reinhardt: Lived with Honor, Died with Glory
Next up, we’ve got everyone’s favorite Crusader: Reinhardt. From his glorious defense in Eichenwalde during the Omnic Crisis to leading the charge against Null Sector during the Omnic Uprising, Reinhardt has seen his fair share of battles. Time has not been favorable for him though as, even to this day, his body can’t keep up. So much so it was one of the main reasons Brigitte stepped up to fight by his side.
Should Reinhardt fall in battle, it would strike Brigitte the hardest. How would she react if she wasn’t able to keep Reinhardt safe? It may drive her to become a Crusader in her own right, but she wouldn’t be the only one affected. Reinhardt has made connections in his life with so many people, meaning a very good number of people would miss him, including the next person on our Overwatch Hitlist.
Torbjorn: When Swedish Engineering Falls Apart
Much like Reinhardt, Torbjorn is pretty well known in the Overwatch world. The former chief engineer of Overwatch has also seen many battles in his time, including one that cost him his arm and eye. He is one of the best in his profession as a weapons designer, including helping construct the E54 Bastion models. While his death would affect his daughter as much as it would Reinhardt’s, chances are that his death could affect a few others.
With Reinhardt himself, it would be a mix of emotions for him. Those two have gone through a lot in their lives at each other’s side and it could be the thing that either drives Reinhardt into a blind rage or tells him to hang up his hammer. Meanwhile, who knows what would happen to the weapons and other tools Torbjorn designed over the years? For all we know, his death could lead to a newfound incident where Talon and other terrorist groups may try to steal his blueprints to use for their own desires. His blueprints were a focus already in the comics and it could happen once more to write Torbjorn’s final chapter.
Mercy: A Fallen Angel
As much fun as it is to point towards the founding members of Overwatch and say how each of them dying can impact the story, there is one character who falls into that middle ground of connecting with both the older and younger cast: Mercy. This suggestion isn’t because of how dominant she was before her resurrection nerfs, but her death in the story could leave to many former members feeling a sense of remorse.
Unlike most agents, she was unsure if Overwatch should return. If she were to pass on that could make some agents feel she was right, that Overwatch aren’t peacekeepers as much as a militaristic force. It also wouldn’t help someone like Genji, to whom he owes his life to. Would her death drive Genji back to a vengeful state? Or would he do his best to cope with the loss? Either way, if a younger member of the cast was a target of an early death, Angela would leave the biggest impact.
Zenyatta: Becoming One with the Iris
In storytelling, one reason to kill a character would be to remove someone extraneous to the plot. While perhaps anyone from this article would fit this bill, the choice would fall on one onmic. For as little as we know about Zenyatta, he has the least amount of development in the entire cast. Other than saying he was “Genji’s mentor” to help him come to terms with his dual identity of being half-man, half-machine, we got next to nothing to work with.
Would there be a way to make his death impactful to the story? Certainly. Much like his Mondatta, Zenyatta can also make a big impact for omnics and how his death can be ‘the last straw’ to spark the next Omnic Uprising. Other than that though, it is difficult to say if it would be worth removing Zenyatta or if he could still get his time to shine. Either way, Zenyatta sits in a place where he has not any development since the launch of the game and if nothing’s is going to happen with him, why have him around in the game’s story? It would be nice to get a Zenyatta short.
Conclusion: Does the writer hate old people, omnics, and Mercy?
To answer that question fast, no. Still, why would the suggestions cover the older group and not some younger people besides Mercy? The answer is simple: would anyone care as much if someone like McCree or Genji died in the story? Fans would care, sure, but it isn’t like all the characters have had such an impact on everyone else in the cast as others. It isn’t like there would be people screaming out for characters like Junkrat, D. Va, Mei or Bastion. Meanwhile, it isn’t like a death of a villain will have the same impact too since we haven’t developed many connections to them yet (unless maybe if you are Reaper or Widowmaker).
When you write a death in a story, you need to take care of how you handle it. According to some writers, a death should be to advance the plot, helps to motivate others, or to help create realism in the world. It shouldn’t be just for the sake of shocking viewers, to make them feel sad or to quickly remove them out of the picture. A lot can go into the final decision and as long as they aren’t written off for the sake of getting them out of the picture, you can make a moment just as memorable as what we know from the Overwatch shorts. Besides, for all we know, this may never happen, but it never hurts to speculate the possibilities of what one character’s death can hold.
So what do you think?
Are there any characters that should die in the story? How would their death impact the world? And make sure to not say a character just because they are annoying. Every character in Overwatch has a role to play, and as things stand, we haven’t explored what everyone is capable of yet. Be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more insight into Overwatch and other gaming editorials.