Since it launched back in 2016, Overwatch has been incrementally expanding its universe, adding new characters and locations over the years, expanding the lore with each update. Blizzard refers to these past events as the Overwatch Archives.
Periodically, Blizzard drops new cinematics and comics, focusing on one (or a few) characters, adding context to who they are and what they’re fighting for in Blizzard’s unique world of heroes and villains. That said, while Overwatch 2 will feature story missions to tie things together, Blizzard has never outright given players a proper timeline of events. Sure, they might have released a short “previously on” trailer when OW2 was announced at BlizzCon 2019, but that glossed over a lot. To give you the fullest picture possible, here’s a look at the story of Overwatch (so far) prior to the events of the upcoming Overwatch 2.