We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the “Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post.
In videogames, combat is a language. Each weapon is a way of speaking, a mouth. To shoot is to communicate. Usually, this takes the form of subtraction: you speak curses to ward away your enemies, or break down obstacles, or just burn a mark of selfhood into the environment around you.
Ana speaks in tongues. She takes the familiar language of the sniper—the ultimate, silent expression of ruthless will—and reconfigures it into something maternal, protective, compassionate. It’s simple but effective: she has a gun that heals people. Stand back, take aim, and help. Speak words of comfort to your allies.
Your gun does harm enemies, sure, but it’s a secondary function at best, and frankly isn’t very effective. Every moment you spend fighting you’d be better off helping. Ana takes the core language of the shooter and flips its polarity.
I’m not a very good Ana player—my accuracy leaves something to be desired—but I adore playing her anyway. She’s a stab in the heart of the formalist notion that points of mechanical interaction are the only phenomena that matter.
Shooting Ana’s weapon feels markedly different than, say, Widowmaker’s. Yellow light spirals out of a successful hit, an aura of life blooming around your allies as you do your salvific work. I feel powerful and protective, whispering encouragements behind the barrel of my healing gun. Get up. Keep moving. I’m here to help.
Genji – Genji is with you
McCree – Who you kidding? McCree is Overwatch‘s true shooter
Pharah – Don’t play fair, play Pharah, exclusively
Reaper – In defense of Reaper, the patron saint of mall-goth teens
Soldier 76 – Soldier 76 is here to make everyone else look good
Tracer – A series of limericks about Tracer, because why not
Bastion – Bastion is the machine pointed at the world
Hanzo – Hanzo “looks like a good man,” my Japanese mom raves
Junkrat – I have fallen in love with Junkrat
Mei – Here comes Mei, the badass nerd hell-bent on revenge
Torbjörn – An ode to hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Torbjörn
Widowmaker – Widowmaker made a widow of me
D.Va – An ode to D.Va, the sassiest dream girl this side of Overwatch
Reinhardt – An ode to Reinhardt, tortured scion of a broken land
Roadhog – An ode to Roadhog is an ode to ugliness
Winston – Winston, the Science Gorilla, is in charge
Zarya – Zarya makes Mother Russia her bitch
Lucio – Inside the idiot party-bubble of Lucio
Mercy – Mercy is the most terrifying character in Overwatch
Symmetra – Go ahead, sleep on Symmetra
Zenyatta – Praise be to Zenyatta, then chill the heck out