With the PTR release of the new character Echo today, there is finally a new chunk of lore revealed about the Overwatch universe. But this lore revolves around two important characters in the story – Echo and Dr. Mina Liao. Liao made Echo as an adaptive robot in an attempt to use artificial life to make positive changes in the world. Since her passing, Echo has kept many of the doctor’s mannerisms and behaviors. This is the reason McCree sought her out in the Reunion cinematic.
Liao has been a relatively unknown character in the game universe. People have known she was a founding member of Overwatch, but nothing else had ever been released. With Echo, her lore has finally been revealed in part.
Teased in three tweets earlier this week, there were two bits of lore hinting at the new character. The first was a personal log of Dr. Liao. In these two paragraphs, she talks about her work on omnics and hopes that her projects can curtail the violence against the robots. Importantly, she notes her work on the Athena project and Jack Morrison’s hesitant acceptance of the prototype. Throughout this log, she remains hopeful about the future of human-omnic relations and wanting to make the world a better place.
The second tweet was a corrupted audio file. What remains is the voice of Liao saying to get back and stay down, cut off by an explosion. It appeared that this explosion occurred in an Overwatch facility, and Jeff Kaplan confirmed on-stream that this was the death of Liao. This ties directly into the origin video for Echo.
Echo’s lore begins with this audio clip before fading into an ethereal tone. Then the voice of Liao postulates on if her work has actually made the world better. Her life’s work culminated in Echo, in the hopes to continue her legacy of helping. Also in the video are other voices providing exposition. The first in the background is someone announcing her joining of Omnica Corporation. The second is Jack Morrison asking her to join Overwatch, since no one knows omnics better than their creator.
On the Overwatch website, her lore has been updated. Liao wanted to improve upon the original omnic design, but Overwatch would not allow that. Thus Echo had to be toned back a bit from what she dreamed. The Overwatch Strike Team used Echo on a few missions, but were still hesitant in full use. But when Overwatch disbanded, Echo was quarantined due to beliefs the project was dangerous.
The Reunion cinematic released at Blizzcon 2018 shows a confrontation between Ashe and McCree at the train wreck on Route 66. The crux of this is a special key to an egg-shaped white container. At the end, McCree opens this to reveal Echo. McCree, who was tasked with guarding Liao, was one of the few people that realized Echo learned from Liao and could further her work.
It looks like Echo is now a full member of Overwatch in the Null Sector attacks in Paris, and Overwatch 2 should hold plenty of new lore for her. Fresh to the world and without the guidance of Liao, who knows what directions or turns she may take.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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