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The History of and Story Behind the Overwatch Logo


If you’re a fan of video games in any capacity, you’re probably already well aware of the Overwatch logo. While it’s pretty understated as far as gaming logo’s go, no one can say it’s anything but bold… or instantly recognizable. But where did it come from? What team of creative geniuses decided a broken circle and a few angular appendages constituted a good idea for a logo? And what does it all mean? Find out as we delve into the history and story of the Overwatch Logo.

The History

Overwatch, for those who’ve never played, is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter from Blizzard. Set on a near-future Earth, each game consists of two teams of 6 doing battle between a cast of 30 characters (or ‘hero’s, as they’re known), each of which brings their own unique skillset and super-human powers to the mix. Players get to pick, choose, and change their hero as they adapt to the ever-changing situation of the terrain. Bending time, defying the laws of nature, and defeating the odds with their extraordinary arsenal of abilities and weaponry all come as second nature to this gang of soldiers, adventurers, scientists, and misfits. Little wonder, then, that Overwatch has become one of the most popular games of the 21st Century.

Conceived in 2014 after Blizzard canceled the super-ambitious multiplayer online role-playing game Titan, the game was initially introduced in beta and was tested too much success at BlizzCon. In 2016, it was adapted to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows. To say it was an overnight hit would be an understatement: as reported on Wiki, in the first year alone, it generated $1 billion in revenue. By the end of its first week, there were over seven million Overwatch players. By the end of its third year, there were over 50 million. Widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time, it’s popularity hasn’t diminished in the slightest over the years: last year, it won the Best Multiplayer/Competitive Game (People's Voice) at the 2019 Webby Awards, and this year it was nominated in the category of Outstanding Video Game at the GLAAD Media Awards. But enough of the potted history, what about the logo?

If you’ve seen the pictures, you’ll know exactly what the Overwatch emblem looks like. If you haven’t, let us paint a picture for you. As described, the Overwatch logo consists of two parts, the first being graphic and the second being worded. Both parts follow the same color pattern of dark silver and orange. The trademark emblem is represented by a circle of silver and orange with two openings at the top. Inside the circle are two symmetrical crossbars divided in the middle.

The Meaning

Ever since Overwatch was released, fans have been trying to work out the symbolism of its logo. So far, the jury’s still out (as are the game’s creators, who’ve proved remarkably quiet on the subject). As writes, some of the most popular explanations doing the rounds include: It’s the name of the game: look carefully at the emblem, and after a while, two letters start to make their presence know: the letter O and the letter W. Which, considering the name of the game, makes perfect sense. But is that really it? Did the minds behind such an innovative game really decide to go such an obvious route? Only they know, and so far, they’re keeping their lips firmly sealed on the subject.

It’s the peace sign: Some fans have taken the Overwatch group’s original mission as peacekeepers and applied it to the logo. The emblem, they say, is just a jazzed-up peace sign. But is it really that similar to a peace sign for the rumor to stand up? Bar the fact that both signs involve a circle, we’re not seeing it. It’s all about team work: Overwatch is a team based game. And its logo, at least according to some keen-eyed gamers, is a team-based emblem. Look carefully at the ‘crossbows’ inside the circle, and you’ll see they’re not crossbows at all. What they are (or so fans of the theory say) is two hands high-fiving in a celebration of teamwork. Are they right? Could be… it’s certainly got more basis in reality than the next suggestion….

It’s a sign of hope: Clearly, some fans are buying into the idea that the Overwatch emblem represents peace and love and all things nice more than most. According to some gamers, the crossbars outlined in the inner circle of the logo are representative of two hands praying for peace (why they should be praying for peace and not a Lamborghini, you’ll have to ask the fans). The orange top of the circle, meanwhile, represents the rising sun of hope. Of course, they might be right. But to us, it seems a pretty big leap of imagination.

Over at Reddit, gamers have come up with a slew of different theories, some of them reasonable, some of them exactly the kind you’d expect to find on Reddit. Some of the more sensible suggestions include the idea that the inner graphics on the circle represent 2 omnics (characters from the game) high fiving; a combination of O and W making a peace sign; a peace sign broken at the top with sharp edges to combine the ideas of peace and combat; or two ninjas high fiving. But all of this is supposition. No one really knows what the Overwatch logo means, because no one involved in its creation has ever told us. We can interpret, theorize, and philosophize till the sun comes up, but ultimately, we don’t know. But it doesn’t stop us from having fun guessing….

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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