Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter, Overwatch, has now been out for several highly profitable months. Like all extraordinarily successful games, Overwatch has built a buzzing fan community. Places like /r/Overwatch have become gold mines for fan content for the game. Through the fan art, something interesting has occurred: The Overwatch heroes have taken on their own fan canon. These Overwatch hero memes have given the characters a life of their own, far away from Blizzard’s intentions. The community has mutated the once mighty heroes of Overwatch team into whiny children, exasperated parents, or spoiled emo teenagers, and fans love them even more for it.
Since the launch of Overwatch, Blizzard has done very little to expand on the game’s story. Fans may be starved for new content for these characters they love. So they wind up “shipping” Mercy and Pharah. Or these hero reinventions are just the natural result of 15 million players obsessing over McCree‘s balance issues. The meme-ization of the characters is a sign of a healthy community. People do not just love Overwatch enough to pour thousands of hours into playing the same twelve maps over and over. They love it enough to grow the product with their own creativity and style.
Let’s look at the heroes that have been community favorites and the subjects of the most Overwatch hero memes so far.
Dad 76 and Mom Mercy
Who Were They?
Soldier: 76 is secretly Jack Morrison, a founding member of Overwatch. Now he is a vigilante hero wandering the world in search of his own justice. Mercy is another old Overwatch operative. She’s a Swiss doctor who specializes in healing on the battlefield.
What Have Fans Made Them?
Soldier: 76 is now your dad. The old man just seems like somebody who can teach you how to shave or how to change a tire. He has a good mixture of mobility, range, self-healing, and dexterity, making Soldier: 76 a great starter character. But also, he’s fairly boring. This, his transition into Dad 76 was an easy one. A man who is stern, who is strict, and who probably pays his bills on time.
Mercy is now your mom. She’s warm, kind and fixes your boo boos. Together Dad 76 and Mom Mercy have are the parents in the Overwatch meme world.
There is a plot hole in the Fanon here since fans often pair up Mercy and Pharah. Could our Overwatch parents’ marriage not be as stable as it seems?
Who Was She?
D.Va is Hana Song, a Korean teenager and former professional gamer who became a mech pilot to protect her country. She is cute, dresses like she’s on Evangelion, and is a Starcraft nerd. Thus she is every player’s fantasy.
What Have Fans Made Her?
There is some debate over what D.Va should become. Being the object of gamer fantasies, a lot of her fanart edges towards NSFW. But as the months have gone on, it seems the community has decided on something far sillier.
Gremlin D.Va is a tiny monster of infinite energy. She is a super deformed chibi creature not dissimilar to Umaru-chan. Gremlin D.Va exists mainly to exasperate her parents. Like a true hardcore gamer, she loves Mountain Dew and Doritos. Imagine every brat that has ruined a parent’s life in one tiny package.
In an odd case of Blizzard accepted fan canon, the newest D.Va emote actually acknowledges her Gremlin meme. In the emote, she plays a video game, eats from a bag of chips that might as well be Doritos, and sips a soda that might as well be Mountain Dew. The borders between the fanon and the canon are breaking down.
What Was She?
Ana is a founding member of Overwatch, but also the newest character added to the game. She is a veteran Egyptian sniper who specializes in healing at a distance.
What Have Fans Made Her?
Ana became Grandma Ana almost instantly. Meme Ana is pretty close to the actual Blizzard-designed Ana. The introductory trailer featured Ana putting characters gracefully to sleep. She also has an emote where she sips tea. When Gremlin D.Va has become too much trouble for Mom Mercy and Dad 76, Grandma Ana is the one who steps in. Being a grandma, Ana can slip the Gremlin some cookies or junk food behind her parents’ backs.
Less frequently Grandma Ana is paired up with Grandpa Reinhardt.
What Was He?
Reaper is one of the evil Overwatch characters. He once was Gabriel Reyes, another Overwatch founder. Now he has become a masked super villain, working to cause chaos throughout the world for unknown purposes.
What Have Fans Made Him?
It’s not a hard jump to go from being an “edgy” character to being a wanna-be edgy character. Edgelord Reaper now represents all the cliche moody teenagers of the world. He shops at Hot Topic and listens to emo music on constant repeat. Edgelords of media past such as Shadow the Hedgehog and Kylo Ren always choose him when they play Overwatch. Edgelord Reaper is also occasionally “Reapfield,” a dark and gritty parody of Garfield that exists mostly to annoy Dad 76.
Mei is Literally Satan
Who Was She?
Mei-Ling Zhao was a Chinese Overwatch scientist who was stranded in the Antarctic. When she was rescued, she was the only survivor of her team. Despite this, she remains a cheerful girl, with an ironically sunny disposition. She also kills people with icicles.
What Have Fans Made Her?
Mei seems built purely to annoy enemies and allies alike. Mei’s ice wall can just as easily ruin friendly attacks as it can block enemies. Her ice attacks freeze you, stun-locking you just long enough for her to murder you with her icicle gun. And if that’s not annoying enough, she has an ability to hide in a block of ice and heal. Mei is impossible to kill, a frustrating opponent, and the favorite character of trolls.
The contrast of her chubby high-pitched adorable outside and her reality as the bringer of death seems to have created the new Mei. The fans have decided she is literally Satan. Her little punches come with a tiny squeal, which is the cutest thing ever. But then she traps your team in the starting area just to spread madness.
Don’t believe Mei is literally Satan? Just watch her torture poor Roadhog over and over. Then she cheers when she kills him. This little girl is the most feared and despised hero in Overwatch right now, for good reason.
Credit to Kats-in-Space for the cover image used in this article.