Blizzard announces Echo as the new Overwatch hero and outlines abilties

By Heidi Nicholas,
Update: The game director for Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan, recently detailed Echo's backstory and ability in a new dev update video. He confirms a lot of what we saw in the backstory reveal for Echo's character: it was created by Dr. Mina Liao, herself a leading expert in robotics and AI. Dr. Liao helped to create the omnics and experienced a moral crisis when she saw what happened during the Omnic Crisis. She was approached by Overwatch and recruited to help them fight the omnics, and soon started work on the Echo project, developing a robot with an adaptive learning personality and a much higher level of AI.

Echo is a damage character. As shown on the game's site, her abilities include: Tri-Shot, where three projectiles are fired from her hand at once in a triangle pattern, Sticky Bombs, Flight, which boosts her forward and lets her free fly for a short time, Focusing Beam, which deals high damage to both enemies and barriers where health is under half, Glide, and her ultimate ability: Duplicate. This allows her to turn into, and play as, any member of the enemy team. Kaplan says that with some characters, Echo will be able to use multiple ultimate abilities. He says Blizzard is prepared to balance this if it proves too powerful.

Original story: Blizzard has officially revealed that the next hero to arrive in Overwatch will be Echo, an "evolutionary robot programmed with a rapidly adapting artificial intelligence." They haven't confirmed an arrival date yet, just that Echo will be "coming soon".

The trailer is titled as Echo's origin story. It's pretty brief for an origin story, and starts with Echo's creator, Dr. Mina Liao, discussing Echo's creation. "So, this is it...Did I make the world a better place?" Dr. Liao asks. "They had every reason to doubt me... and only Overwatch believed." Now, she sounds as though she's addressing Echo directly. "You are my life's work. You will be everything I dreamed. All I wanted... all I needed... was to help the world." Here, Echo takes over. "And so, she created me. Her legacy, her promise...her echo."

Dr. Liao has a complex history with Overwatch, as she helped to create the omnics, the artificially intelligent robots which led to the Omnic Crisis. It seems her creation of Echo is both her attempt to set things right, and her attempt to achieve her life's goal of helping the world. There's no details on how Echo will function as a hero yet, but since the robot is meant to be joining the game in the near future, it's likely Blizzard will release more info soon.

Meanwhile, the Overwatch Archives are still underway, and will continue running until April 2nd. Blizzard describes the Archives as made up of "story-driven co-op missions from pivotal moments in Overwatch history", with the chance to earn Archives Loot Boxes, participate in weekly Challenge Missions, and with six new Overwatch achievements. We'll update you when Blizzard provides more info.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!