Overwatch: The Villain Conundrum
As far as we have come along with Overwatch and this expanding world, if there’s one thing the game may be lacking in terms of hero and villain it has to be the strong sense of villainy. Some are satisfied with just the multiplayer experience and the competitive contention, but there’s no arguing that those with very high investment cling to the idea that there could be a more direct story to Overwatch. One that doesn’t just involve putting pieces together from these various hero/villain backgrounds, or reveals through cinematics and/or comics.
In my opinion, the solution to this is the villain conundrum. One that questions how we tread that line of villainy rather than fully embracing it. First off the number one problem begins with the fact that Blizzard uses the word ‘Hero’ too strongly to label these characters as a whole. Clearly not all of them are heroes and shouldn’t be treated as such. Reaper, Widowmaker, Sombra, Hanzo are all characters we would consider villains. But not all of them started out as villains. Unfortunate circumstance led them down their path with too much that would make you sympathetic towards their actions. When you look at what Overwatch and the various legitimate heroes around the world fight against, they are but pieces in a bigger wheel. Addressing the issue of villainy in the world of Overwatch means taking a look at the forces which pull the strings. Talon, Los Muertos, the Vishkar Corporation, and even Doomfist.
Let’s start with Doomfist. This was a character who as they said wasn’t planned to be a major character. Now when you say this its a bit confusing because just by name this is someone who you would look for to strike fear. “Oh man. They say he could level a skyscraper”. Yeah like that isn’t going to make you crazy to see a guy like that in action. Someone like Reaper is a mercenary with a reputation, but he isn’t someone you would see as an end of the world or world domination kind of villain. You can reach higher than what Reaper has to offer on a grand scale. Doomfist is where you make up for that lack of an individual entity who embodies chaos in the world. The worst thing that could happen in this world right now is another conflict breaking loose between humans and Omnics. Doomfist is that villain who could kill that peace and create more casualties that the world will struggle to come back from. Blizzard still say that he may be a possibility, yet the truth remains that it would be a crime not to have him available to us eventually.
Now if we were to think bigger, then we would actually give a face to Talon. This is a terrorist organization that serves as the main antagonist in Overwatch’s narrative. But if you really think about it, do they really exist? How do you sell us on an organization that doesn’t really have an appearance in much significant? The first and only time we actually saw any agents of Talon was during the ‘Recall’ cinematic starring Winston. Sure Reaper, Widowmaker and Sombra are affiliates of Talon. Though they still are their own persons at the same time. Nothing is clear about the extent of their involvement aside from Widowmaker who they technically created.
Taking a step further we have the Vishkar Corporation. Corporate evil is a thing whether we want to acknowledge it or not. For some reason there has been this debate where some say Symmetra is a villain while others try to find reasons for why she’s in the middle. But regardless Symmetra is a field agent for the Vishkar Corporation, and nothing about them is right for what they do in the name of what they call building a better future. This always comes with people getting the short end of a stick, people losing what’s theirs because it doesn’t fit a plan, and simply being told what they want. Even if Symmetra questions some of it, again this is something you don’t overlook. It goes without saying that Vishkar would be trickier to incorporate in comparison to these other forces. The best way right now to at least engage us on a level where we could understand what makes them tick would be to allow us a map where we see this future vision of theirs. Or even just a tour through their headquarters. Either would suffice.
Los Muertos might be a bit of a stretch for me to bring up. I do this because even revolutionary/criminal groups can present a danger based on perspective. There’s no denying some things about them come with good intentions, but their way of going about things can’t be overlooked. Case and point what we have seen in the Soldier 76 cinematic. The closest presence they have shown in the game had to be through Sombra’s alternate skin. Aside from that you take what you see from the artwork spread throughout Dorado. These could easily be the enemies in the Vs. AI. mode. A missed opportunity if you ask me.
All these things aren’t to say that they need characters placed in the game to represent these villainous forces, but there could be more effort into making their presence known without the need for outside sources. I’m a big supporter of outside content, but there’s just not enough of it within the game to really flesh out the world of Overwatch. New cosmetics and seasonal events are cool, though eventually we will have to take a step back and get a little substance.