Here we go again. Blizzard are teasing us with the tiniest pieces of Overwatch lore and I can't get enough of it. Yesterday, the Overwatch Twitter account tweeted out a personal log from a Dr. Mina Liao, who's been building an Omnic codenamed "the Athena prototype". Now, I don't know about you, but this all sounds like we're about to get our first proper look at Echo, the Omnic hero Blizzard have been teasing for over a year.
"The Athena prototype has been deemed a success," the tweet reads.
If you're not in the know, Athena is the name of the AI you can hear in the dropship when you're playing Overwatch, and she's popped up in a couple of animated shorts as well. Fans have speculated for a while that Echo is essentially Athena in a robot body (kind of like how the Normandy's AI, EDI, gets a smoking hot body in Mass Effect 3, but less creepy). While Liao doesn't mention Echo explicitly, it's been known for a while that Echo was going to be making her way to Overwatch, we just had no idea when.
We first met the pretty blue Omnic back when Ashe was announced in 2018, which feels like a lifetime ago now. In the animated short Reunion, Ashe tries to steal a pod that Echo is being kept in by blowing up the freight train on Route 66. We don't know why she was in said pod, or why McCree just happened to be there with her "on" button to save the day, but hey! It's really cool and it's beautifully animated, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you've yet to watch it.
So, why do I think this means Echo is about to be released? Well, for starters, the timing is perfect. For the last three years, Overwatch has consistently released a new hero consistently every March. We got Orisa on the 21st in 2017, Brigitte on the 20th in 2018, and Baptiste on the 19th in 2019. Going by this logic, Echo could drop as early as next week when Overwatch gets its Tuesday update.
For seconds, we got an even better look at Echo alongside another new character, Sojourn, when Overwatch 2 was announced at BlizzCon last year. During the event, Blizzard said that at least one more character would be making their way to the original game. While they confirmed that Sojourn would be coming to Overwatch 2, they did no such thing for Echo - despite the fact we've known about her for longer.
It's still unclear exactly what role Echo will be. To me, she lools a bit too petite to be a tank, and a bit too kind to be damage, so my money is on her being some sort of healer.
I'm hoping she'll be a cool flying character to be honest. When she appears in the above trailer for Overwatch 2, she's flying around and shooting blue beams at that massive mech attacking the rest of the squad. It's too soon to say right now, but this could be a glimpse of what to expect when she's released.
If all this teasing has given you the itch to play some Overwatch, the story-based PvE missions are all currently live for the annual Archive event. We'll get more of these sorts of missions in Overwatch 2 as well, though right now Blizzard are keeping pretty quiet on the sequel's release date.