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Name: Overwatch
Abbreviation(s): OVW
Creator: Blizzard Entertainment
Date(s): May 2016
Medium: Video Game
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Overwatch official website Overwatch Youtube channel
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Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It centres around a group of heroes on a futuristic Earth, fighting against each other in teams of 6 to win each round. Lore is revealed not only through details of setting and character within the game world, but also narrative events, Youtube animations, comics, and other releases from Blizzard. Its large and diverse cast of playable characters, and evolving lore has created a large fandom and community.


Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities.

In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world: Overwatch.

It ended the crisis and helped to maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But after many years, Overwatch's influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded.

Overwatch is gone… but the world still needs heroes.

Now, conflict is rising across the world again, and the call has gone out to heroes old and new. Are you with us?



Overwatch has a large community with 11159 works on Archive Of Our Own as of 26 Feb. 2017. It is much less popular on Fanfiction.net however with only 6 fanworks as of 26 Feb. 2017.

According to statistics from Tumblr Fandometrics, As of February 2017 Overwatch is the No.1 most popular video game fandom on Tumblr and has been all year.


  • Calling Soldier: 76 'Dad76' or 'Grandad76'. Many fanworks are based around him being a father figure to the other Overwatch members.[1]
  • It's popular to draw the Shimada brothers' dragons as Noodles, Dogs or Cats. Examples include:
  • Using in-game voicelines in fanworks and fanart is very popular. An example is this fanart of McCree by Aledbr on Tumblr.
  • New character skins are popular choices for fanart.
  • Many fanworks make fun of McCree's ultimate, Deadeye. Notable fanworks include:
  • There is a meme of Genji saying 'I need Healing', due to Genji players in-game typically being hard for supports to heal but constantly requiring healing.
  • LGBTQ headcanons are commonplace, for example Jamison "Junkrat" Fawkes is often headcanoned as a transgender man, and Aleksandra "Zarya" Zaryanova as a transgender woman.


Shortly after the game's release, McCree/Hanzo quickly become the juggernaut pairing of the fandom with Reaper/Soldier: 76 as a close second. This gave way for Slash to dominate the fandom shipping activity. Femslash is also popular, with pairings such as Pharah/Mercy gaining attention due to their compatibility in gameplay tactics and Widowmaker/Tracer after both starred in the animated short Alive.

After the release of Orisa, a crack ship of Orisa and D.Va's mech appeared. In the Overwatch fandom, shipping robots (or Omnics are they are called in canon) is very popular, as many have humanoid characteristics and interact with the other characters extensively.

Crossovers are not popular in Overwatch fanworks. The large cast of Overwatch heroes (plus canon non-hero characters such as Emily and Efi Oladele) make even the longest fanfics easy to keep self-contained.

Shipping terminology can be found at the List of Overwatch Pairings.

Canon Influence

Some in-game events have been influenced by fan activity. An example of this is a shrug made by Reaper in the Uprising comic. Fans loved this so much that it was put in as a spray and emote. Another example is a voice line by Jack Morrison, wherein he says 'I'm not your father'. This is one of several voice lines he has which references being (or not being) a fatherly figure, due to the fandom's tendency to see him as a dad to the rest of the Overwatch team.

Sombra ARG

The Sombra ARG (Alternate Reality Game) was started in July 2016 and ended at Blizzcon 2016 with the announcement of new Overwatch hero Sombra. It was a trail of clues left by Blizzard in and out of Overwatch, which alluded to the new hero. Clues were varied, including hexadecimal numbers in Ana's video release and hidden messages on in-game objects such as newspapers.[2]

The ARG led to many groups of players and programmers working together to solve the mystery, although some felt that the ARG went on too long.[3] It also spawned fanart from people trying to guess what Sombra would look like. Fanart examples include Sombra on Dorado by Orroko and Sombra Uncloaked by Sadhira.


Between the strong fanons of the fandom and the sporadic updates in both lore and gameplay, there are constant dust-ups over any number of issues in the Overwatch fandom.

New Characters

After an animation adding Ashe to the cast of characters in early November 2018, fans complained about the series adding its fourth white woman in a game that prides itself on diversity and for using the same body type as many of their other female heroes.[4]


Video Game

  • Loverwatch is a fan-made visual novel currently in development based on Overwatch. It's formally announced routes are for Bastion, Genji and Mei.


  • Hang the Fool is a highly popular McCree/Hanzo fanfiction by AlmaMeDuele. As of 11/03/2017, it is the most popular Overwatch fanfiction on AO3 with over 275,000 hits.

Fan Films

  • Heroes Never Die - Mercy is put to the test as she is haunted by the memories of her past, but is faced with an impossible situation in the present.



Fanwork Trends

There is a strong trend in Overwatch Fanworks for there to be a focus on angst or hurt/comfort. This is due to the occasionally very dark canon lore. Hurt/Comfort is especially prevalent in the Reaper:Soldier 76 fandom[5], as both characters carry deep scars, both physically and emotionally. Many characters, including Jesse McCree, Genji Shimada and Junkrat/Jamison Fawkes have also canonically lost limbs / body parts, which are another avenue for angst and hurt/comfort fics to prosper.

Interestingly, Overwatch is popular with fans who have never played the game. Some of the fandom have not played the game and instead are fans of the overall rich lore and characters.

Archives & Fannish Links