Overwatch‘s 32nd and final hero is Echo, an omnic whose deep history goes back to the years before the events of the game. In fact, Echo’s story reveals a few things about the origin of the Overwatch team as well as her creator. She also sheds light into the making of the game itself.
If you’ve already played a few matches as the new damage dealer and want to know a bit more about the character’s history, here’s what you need to know about Echo’s backstory:
Where Is Echo From?
Since Echo’s creator, Dr. Mina Liao, was a Singaporean scientist, the omnic is also considered to be a citizen of Singapore. Echo makes up one of several Asian characters in the game, which also includes Mei, D.Va, Hanzo, Symmetra, and Genji.
What Language Does Echo Speak?
Echo speaks Singlish, an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore. Team Singapore community lead Caldoran had previously called attention to one of Echo’s voice lines, “Shiok,” which is “distinctively Singlish slang and used to convey pleasure or enjoyment.”
Echo’s voice actor is Jeannie Bolet.
Who Is Echo?
The omnic — the Overwatch universe’s version of a self-aware robot — first appeared in an animated short called “Reunion” in 2018 and had been the subject of speculation as an upcoming hero in the months since. But Echo’s inclusion has actually been years in the making, as early Overwatch concept art included an Echo-like character among its designs. Echo was originally designed as a character named “Iris” for a Blizzard project called “Prometheus,” which would eventually become Overwatch, although some sources suggest that the design stems back to Project Titan, a canceled project whose assets were recycled for Blizzard’s shooter.
Echo’s origin story trailer describes Echo as “an evolutionary robot programmed with a rapidly adapting artificial intelligence. Echo represents the cutting edge of technology.” Her story goes back to the Omnic Crisis, a huge robot rebellion that led to the creation of the Overwatch team in the first place.
As fans of Overwatch lore know, the Omnic Crisis was a world war fought 30 years before the start of the game that devastated the planet and had long-lasting effects that are still felt in the game’s present. While peace was eventually struck between humanity and the omnics, tensions have risen again and fears of a second war act as a backdrop for the game.
In the character origin trailer (watch above), Dr. Mina Liao, Echo’s creator, is revealed to be one of the original founders of the Overwatch team, joining after she helped create the omnics that rebelled against humanity. Despite the crisis she had unwittingly unleashed, Dr. Liao still believed in the potential of omnics, and set to work on an evolution of the omnic design, creating a new robot that could adapt and learn to fill any role needed in the Overwatch team. (This is why Echo’s ultimate, Duplicate, can copy the look and abilities of an enemy target.)
Dr. Liao designed Echo to learn from observation. The more she learned, the more the omnic was able to adapt to different roles. But the Overwatch team wasn’t convinced that it was a good idea to send Echo out on the field. After all, the last time Liao’s creations had been sent out into the world, they had caused chaos all over the world.
Unfortunately, Dr. Liao died before she could watch her creation meet her full potential. The scientist was killed in an attack on her lab. Fortunately, thanks to Echo’s adaptive behavior and high artificial intelligence, Dr. Liao’s, in a sense, conscience lives on inside of her greatest creation.
After the death of her creator, Echo was put on ice, with the Overwatch team deciding that she was too dangerous of an asset to introduce into the world. Echo was looking at very early retirement, but it was not meant to be.
As previously revealed in “Reunion,” Echo was rescued by McCree from the Deadlock Gang thugs who tried to kidnap her and use her for their own gain. McCree reactivated Echo and asked her to join him in Overwatch. The omnic has been working with the team ever since.
Echo also appeared in the “Zero Hour” cinematic trailer for Overwatch 2. She teamed up with Winston and the rest of the heroes to quell an attack on Paris by Null Sector, an omnic terrorist group. Expect to see way more of Echo in the sequel, as she takes her rightful place as a hero of Overwatch. Dr. Liao would be proud.