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Hidden details you missed in Overwatch

Overwatch might be a relatively young game, especially when compared to some of Blizzard's other favorite properties, but the game has had plenty of time and tender, loving care from developers to gather a few secrets. Yes, even though the game has a now glaring lack of campaign or cohesive story to speak of, there's plenty of lore to sort through.

For one thing, the comics are filled with unappreciated tidbits of information that go unnoticed among the bigger revelations like Tracer and Soldier 76's sexualities. They're totally free to read and filled with hidden details that give a whole new perspective on the world of Overwatch. The game itself is practically festooned with inside jokes and hidden details, too. Even with approximately 40 million people hopping around Hanamura and Watchpoint: Gibraltar, there are a lot of easter eggs and little hints and nudges that designers have left for players to find while desperately trying to get away from Roadhog. The comics, maps, skins, and characters themselves hide a whole world of hidden details.

Mei's cute drawings in the crypt

As adorable and bubbly as Mei is, she has a dark backstory, which is detailed in the emotional rollercoaster that is the "Rise and Shine" cinematic. Don't let the seemingly innocuous name fool you — we find out that Mei is the lone survivor of the Ecopoint: Antarctica lab. She and five other scientists had been forced to enter cryopods and wait out the raging winter storm that had dwindled their supplies. Mei wakes up nine years later, her pod the only one still functioning. Her colleagues perished.

Thus Ecopoint: Antarctica is something of a crypt. Mei's friends remain in their cryopods-turned-coffins, but because happy-go-lucky Mei worked there, there are tons of whimsical notes she left behind. All around the Ecopoint: Antarctica map there are little notes here and there which tell the story of Overwatch's research, the storm, and the difficult decision that the scientists had to make, all from Mei's optimistic point of view. One note theorizes that "aliens!!!" could be the cause of the weather anomalies. 

Mei had also marked out their remaining food — with just 13 apparently gross protein bars, they could have lasted four more days. Before they had gone under, leaving ping pong games paused and messy desks abandoned,  Mei had already made a note that the radio tower needed repairs. She also left out her adorable yeti slippers that matched the many yeti doodles she kept by her desk. One tragic note suggests that it was her birthday when they took to the cryopods.

Not quite straight shooting: jumbled Japanese

Japanese is a hugely complicated language. Kanji, which are intricate Chinese symbols used in Japanese writing, have a ton of pronunciations and meanings that are easy to mix up. Fans had to wonder if Google Translate was the culprit behind the jumbled Japanese that has been featured in the game, namely in reference to the Shimada brothers, Hanzo and Genji. Way back when the cinematic "Dragons" was released, Japanese speaking fans were confused when they read the scroll in Shimada castle, still stained with Genji's blood. The scroll reads 竜頭蛇尾 (ryoutoudabi) meaning "dragon head, snake tail" which makes sense because the Shimada brothers control dragons. However, 竜頭蛇尾 (ryoutoudabi) is an idiom meaning anticlimax, which is... anticlimactic.

Later, when Hanzo's Genji-inspired Legendary skin was released, Japanese Twitter was again in an uproar of confusion. On Hanzo's weapon strap was 矢印 (yajirushi), which does mean "arrow" but not the kind that Hanzo shoots. 矢印 (yajirushi) means "arrow" as in an arrow sign that one might encounter on the street, a directional marker. 矢 (ya) would have been the appropriate kanji, but 矢印 (yajirushi) is what shows up if one types in "arrow" in English into Google Translate. Beginning Japanese classes will drill into students that Google Translate is not the way to go when doing their homework. The designers and devs at Overwatch should have done approximately two more minutes of research in order to avoid confusion and not get their good intentions lost in translation.

Long live the queen of Junkertown

In the world of Overwatch, everything about Australia has become Mad Max-ified. The bush is an irradiated ruin populated by scattered bands of junkers with punk aesthetics and a few screws loose, just like our two favorite Aussies, Junkrat and Roadhog. The capital city (if you can call it that) is known as Junkertown, which was added as a map in 2017. The ramshackle buildings suggest a life a of debauchery where, as the trailer said, "only the strong survive."

The trailer shows players the ins and outs of Junkertown while a speech tells them that the world has come and gone — this is a post-apocalyptic existence and anyone who thinks they can hang onto their old lives needs to wake up. "So step into the Scrapyard. No rules. No mercy. Only the strong survive. This is your queen. Welcome to the apocalypse. Welcome to Junkertown."

We don't see the Queen of Junkertown in the trailer, but she is on the map — players found a poster of her, clearly labeled "The Queen" in spray paint. The Queen has a frankly badass look that would make even Furiosa jealous: mohawk, spiked pauldrons, lip ring, and a scarred, smirking face that says, "Go ahead, try me." Fans speculated that The Queen could be a future addition to the ever-expanding Overwatch roster. After all, Doomfist was teased through in-map posters before his reveal. Maybe one day soon we'll have the post-apocalyptic royal ready to cause some mayhem with in-game.

The old legend of Masamune and Masamura

While the fact remains that Overwatch has had some translation mix-ups that a freshman Japanese student would make, we have to give kudos to the designers for a tiny detail that brings Japanese culture fittingly to the forefront in one skin. Genji's demonic Oni skin features a mask straight out of a kabuki play, but it's not the mask that's important.

Genji carries two swords: one he uses primarily for defense, like blocking projectiles, and the other for offensive attacks that slash through opponents like wet paper. His defensive short sword bears the kanji 正宗 "Masamune" while the other kept on his back says, 村正 "Muramasa" at the hilt. These are the two names of rival sword makers from an old Japanese legend. They were considered the best swordsmiths in the world at the time of the 13th and 14th centuries. In order to determine who was the best, they each made a katana and laid the blade in the running water of a nearby river. Muramasa's blade cut anything that came near — fish, leaves, and twigs. Fish swam around Masamune's sword and the leaves that hit it were not cut. Muramasa said that he had won, but a monk passing by begged to differ. He said that Muramasa's blade cut indiscriminately and was bloodthirsty, while Masamune's katana refused to cut the innocent, which made him the finer craftsman and thus the winner of their contest.

Genji has two swords: the bloodthirsty Muramasa and the harmonious Masamune.

Deckard Cain at the Diner

Blizzard loves to interweave references to their own games within Overwatch. Heck, Blizzard World is an entire map dedicated to in-jokes and other referential content. Each attraction is based on one property or another, with whole areas that players desperately want built IRL dedicated to StarCraft, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Diablo. We'd give some serious vacation days in order to ride the haunted house-esque Tristram Cathedral, wherein Deckard Cain invites us to "stay awhile and listen..."

Diablo's Deckard Cain appears elsewhere in the world of Overwatch. The beloved NPC is gone, having been killed off in Diablo III, but he is far from forgotten. In fact, fans have all the more reason to eagerly anticipate a new Diablo game (and maybe be disappointed in Diablo Immortal) because apparently, according to Overwatch, Deckard is alive.

On the Route 66 map, where few law-abiding citizens travel, there are plenty of references to Diablo, Hearthstone, and animated favorite King of the Hill. Other than the "hot as the burning hells!" Diableaux Hot Sauce posters in the Panorama Diner, players should pay careful attention to the walls. There they will find a check signed by Deckard Cain. The memo line reads "delicious" and the check is dated 5/15/12, the day that Diablo III released. What's really interesting is that when Reddit sleuths scanned the check's barcode, it read, "Cain lives!"

Heroes never die: the story of Wu Hongyu

Blizzard usually does right by its fanbase. The developer has a good track record of listening to and acknowledging fans and an even longer history of memorializing and honoring its players. All throughout Azeroth there are graves, shrines, and other areas dedicated to players who have passed away. Designers in Overwatch have done the same since the game's launch, honoring late players and proving that heroes never really do die.

Wu Hongyu was a student at Guangdong University of Technology. He and his friends had talked about playing Overwatch, hyped for the game's launch. A group chat message later translated on Reddit showed just how excited he was to play the game: "Is anyone else really waiting for the launch tomorrow?" On May 23, 2016, the day before Overwatch's release, Wu saw an alleged thief stealing his friend's motorcycle. He jumped into action to stop the thief, but unfortunately collided with the bike and was severely injured. Tragically, he died before he was able to play the game.

In the Lijiang Tower map, Wu is immortalized, his name written on one of the spacesuits. Above the suit reads, "heroes never die" in Chinese. Blizzard told Polygon, "We added that in remembrance of a brave member of our community."

Torbjörn has a ton of kids

As much as Blizzard loves them, there are no dwarves in Overwatch. Torbjörn is the closest we get to the diminutive little craftsmen and honestly, he may as well be a dwarf since he appears to be one in all but name. He's short, he's bearded, and he's one of the world's greatest engineers. Sounds like a dwarf to us.

What Torbjörn Lindholm actually is is a grumpy old Swede with a distaste for Omnics and a ton of kids. Overwatch's "Reflections" holiday comic gave fans an inside look at the families of Overwatch, and the Lindholms are certainly the biggest. In the panel that peeks in on the Lindholm Christmas, we see Torbjörn and his wife Ingrid sharing a tender moment. Torbjörn is dressed as Santa Claus but would make for a passable Odin with his eyepatch. Reinhardt has been invited over and is sat reading a story to the little ones by the fire. There are kids everywhere — hanging off Reinhardt, antagonizing the cat, and sitting on the floor, looking up in apparent wonderment. There are nine kids in total, including the youngest, Brigitte, who stands behind her godfather.

At first people assumed that the kids were Torbjörn's, but they are actually his children's children. Torbjörn is a grandfather many times over, and we have no idea how many kids he actually has as we've only gotten to know Brigitte, who was named by Reinhardt after he saved Torbjörn's life.

Reaper has no face

Gabriel Reyes goes exclusively by the name Reaper now. It's a fitting title, considering his grim appearance and ghostly abilities. He's healed by the damage that he deals to others, and he can become immaterial black smoke that disappears as fast as it appears in his wraith form. He's one of the deadliest creatures on earth and he says as much with menacing (if not slightly emo) quotes like, "I am the angel of death," and "The grave cannot hold me."

Gabriel Reyes, who at one time rolled his eyes at a pumpkin-headed specter that looks strikingly similar to his Halloween skin, is essentially dead. Reaper is all that is left of the former Overwatch agent. At one time, he was Soldier 24 to Jack Morrison's Soldier 76. He was talented, respected, even liked before something went terribly, terribly wrong. When Overwatch's Swiss headquarters were destroyed, Reaper was born.

Previous to the end of Overwatch, Moira O'Deorain had done experiments on Reyes, allowing his cells to decay and regenerate at supernatural speeds. These experiments suspended him somewhere between life and death, and may have allowed him to survive the explosion at the Swiss headquarters — most of him, anyway. Whatever is beneath Reaper's mask is horrifying enough to make a hardened old soldier like Ana aghast. He's still recognizable, if only partially. Reaper blames Jack Morrison for his curse of an existence, and is out for revenge with whatever is left of his face.

Forget hidden Mickeys, Overwatch has hidden murlocs

If there is one thing that Blizzard fans recognize, it's the garbled cry of Aaaaaughibbrgubugbugrguburgle! Murlocs, or gmmmlmrmrgmg as they call themselves, are the bipedal aquatic creatures that roam the shores of Azeroth in World of Warcraft. With their iconic ugly-yet-cute look and hilarious cry, they have become something of a mascot for Blizzard. Hordes of murlocs wander around BlizzCon and they have long been rumored to one day become a playable race in WoW, if just for the laughs. It's unlikely, but murlocs are nevertheless a cornerstone of Blizzard lore to the point that their existence is acknowledged even in Overwatch.

Overwatch maps contain tons of winks to other Blizzard properties, and murlocs are no exception. Most notably, there is a massive murloc with a bowl of tasty looking ramen in Hanamura. The arcade in Hanamura also features some enviable prizes, like murloc plushies. You can find murloc graffiti in the Temple of Anubis. All these appearances could be attributed to fans of WoW living in the world of Overwatch, but there is one other appearance of the gurgling creatures that seems to suggest the possible existence of murlocs in the Overwatch universe.

Moira, unscrupulous scientist with no qualms about genetic experimentation, has a spray featuring an adorable but sad "test murloc" who has a frown, several bandages, and syringes protruding from its back. Moira has clearly been experimenting on the poor thing. Time to place a call to PETA.

Another hidden memorial for a late Overwatch coach

In Eichenwalde, the armor of Reinhardt's former mentor Balderich von Adler stands sentinel on the castle throne. The place is something of a memorial, with Reinhardt returning to reaffirm his dedication to answering the call of those in need. This makes the German map somber, but within the Black Forest, there is another memorial that developers added to honor the passing of a German Overwatch coach.

Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka played for Team EnVyUs before he transitioned into a coaching role. He first coached Rogue before signing on with Team Liquid. In November of 2017, he sadly passed away at the age of 30. Blizzard created The Dennis Hawelka Award in his memory, to be awarded to the player who made the most positive impact.

On the Eichenwalde map, near the attack spawn, is a small shelf below a Crusader poster. On it is a lit candle and a lily, the poster making it clear who the memorial is dedicated to: in white, Hawelka's initials are written above the message, "Crusader standing guard."

Maybe Widowmaker remembers?

The story of Widowmaker is a tragic one. She was once Amelie Lacroix, loving wife of Overwatch agent Gerard Lacroix. His life would end and hers would be remade once Talon got ahold of her. She was very briefly kidnapped, but returned seemingly unharmed. In reality, she had been brainwashed. She killed her husband while he slept, making herself into a widow.

One of the most rare skins in the game, Widowmaker's Noire skin, seems to call back to her time under Talon's experiments. There are plugs and needles all over her suit, perhaps suggesting that those were the devices used to reprogram her into the ruthless assassin we know today.

Talon is certainly a force to be reckoned with, but just how effective are their methods? Were they able to erase all of Amelie? Maybe not. In the "Reflections" holiday comic, while everyone is celebrating with family and friends (or in a drunken stupor, in McCree's case) Widowmaker is at a cemetery. She stands before Gerard Lacroix's grave and has left a single red rose there. This seems like a telling sign of regret, despite the fact that Widowmaker is supposed to be as unfeeling as a spider. Fans have gone on to theorize that she could be in the process of "waking up" and becoming Amelie once more.

Pharah is half-Canadian

Fareeha Amari (callsign "Pharah") was obsessed with Overwatch as a child. She was absolutely starstruck by her mother, who was a member of the elite heroes. Little Fareeha grew up hearing stories of the bravery and daring her mother's coworkers accomplished. She was well on her way to joining too, becoming a highly commended member of the Egyptian army. Before she was able to become a hero like her (presumed) late mother, Overwatch was disbanded.

Between her mother's apparent death and her work as a soldier, we know little about how Fareeha grew up. It is presumed that she lived with her father, Sam. We don't know much about him either, but what has been revealed by developers and the holiday comic "Reflections" clears up some serious controversy surrounding some of Pharah's skins.

In the holiday comic, we see Pharah sat in a scene with her father that practically screams Canadian. Hockey, complete with maple leaf flag, is on the television behind them. It is snowing fluffy, white flakes outside. Developers like director Jeff Kaplan have suggested that her father, Sam, is a member of the First Nations. If this is true, then Pharah's "Thunderbird" and "Raindancer" skins, controversial for what appeared to be cultural appropriation, would actually be fitting for her character, rather than making her look like one of those girls who shows up at Coachella in a feathered headdress.