Overwatch: What is Blackwatch?

Overwatch: What is Blackwatch? - McCree

Blizzard's hero-based shooter Overwatch is unique in that much of the game's story and lore isn't found in the game itself, but rather through other media, like animated shorts and comics. While Blizzard has recently started adding more lore in-game, there's still a lot that Overwatch players may not know about the game world if they haven't checked out some of the supporting materials.

For example, some fans may be wondering what the group Blackwatch is, especially now that there are new Blackwatch skins in the game. Since there are some fans that only play the game and don't bother reading the comics or watching the shorts, we've put together a brief explanation of Blackwatch, its exploits, and its known members.

What Was Blackwatch?

Overwatch: See the New Bastion, Blackwatch Skins - McCree

Before we get into its known members and some of the group's notable exploits, it's important to explain what Blackwatch is exactly. To put it simply, Blackwatch was the covert ops section of the titular Overwatch team. Whereas Overwatch was a public group of heroes similar to something like the Avengers, Blackwatch engaged in secret missions that often included assassinations, torturing enemies, and other morally questionable actions.

Overwatch, and by extension Blackwatch, was eventually blacklisted from entering certain countries as the popularity of the heroes waned. However, Blackwatch continued to send agents to these areas to gather intel for Overwatch. The most notable example Blizzard has shown of this so far is when McCree was sent to London seven years before the start of the events in the actual Overwatch game to gather intel for the team during the infamous King's Row Uprising.

Who Was in Blackwatch?

Whereas Jack Morrision, aka Soldier: 76, was the leader of the main Overwatch group, Gabriel Reyes (known in the game as Reaper) was in charge of Blackwatch. As far as we know, Reyes served as the commander of Blackwatch for the group's entire existence, from its formation to its eventual destruction.

At the time of this writing, it's unclear how many members Blackwatch had, but we know of at least two other characters on the current roster that conducted these secret operations alongside Reyes. One was Jesse McCree, the gun-slinging cowboy known for his devastating High Noon ultimate ability, who joined Blackwatch when given a choice between it and spending the rest of his life in prison. The other was Genji Shimada, a cyborg ninja with a dark past.

It's likely that Blackwatch consisted of more operatives than just Reaper, McCree, and Genji, but so far, it's unclear who else served in the group before its dissolution.

What Happened to Blackwatch?


As time went on, Blackwatch's exploits became known to members of the public and governments around the world. Both it and Overwatch were restricted from entering some countries as a result, and eventually, the United Nations voted to officially end the two organizations.

The tensions between Overwatch and Blackwatch came to a head in a confrontation between Reyes and Morrison, who blamed each other for the downfall of the two groups. Their battle resulted in an explosion that left many believing Reyes and Morrison were dead, though both resurfaced later as Reaper and Soldier: 76, respectively.

While Blackwatch is technically no more, Reaper has continued to engage in Blackwatch-like operations as a part of the terrorist organization Talon. These operations have included attempts to steal Doomfist's gauntlet, an assassination attempt on the CEO of Volskaya Industries, and a mission to retrieve Winston's list of Overwatch agents.

Even though Reaper was the leader of Blackwatch and is regularly contracted by Talon, along with Widowmaker and Sombra, he doesn't seem to be in a leadership position in the terrorist organization. Perhaps more details on Talon's leaders and its other members will come to light as Blizzard continues to expand the Overwatch universe.


As Overwatch continues to grow in popularity, Blizzard will reveal more details about the organizations that inhabit the game world. Through the comics, animated shorts, and maybe even in-game story content if the Uprising event is popular enough, more members of Blackwatch and the Talon terrorist organization should be confirmed.

In the meantime, fans can expect Blizzard to flesh out some of the other groups in the game as well. For example, the extremist Omnic faction Null Sector, which is heavily featured in the new Uprising event, is mostly a mystery at this point, beyond the fact that it consisted of a bunch of deadly robots. It would be nice to learn more about Null Sector, and discover if it had some significant members like those in the Blackwatch crew that could be added to the Overwatch roster at some point in the future.

Overwatch is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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