In this thread on the official Overwatch forums, a user by the name of OhEmGee made an interesting point about how balance and mechanical changes could refferenced in Overwatch's overarching narrative:
"If we make the lore tell the real story of Overwatch, I believe it will be much richer and a much more valuable asset to the game.
So… as an example… let’s take Hanzo’s scatter arrow. Why, within the universe, might he have switched his ability? Maybe one day he fired a scatter arrow and a ricochet hit someone he cared about that was coming round a corner… and so he decided it wasn’t safe to use. Maybe his arrows came from a specific factory that was infiltrated and shut down."
-Overwatch Forum user, OhEmGee
Not a bad idea. There has been a number of significant mechanics changes throughout Overwatch that, with a little bit of creativity, could have been explained through Overwatch Lore. How did D.Va acquire the new Micro Missiles Tech? What about Symettra's brand new Hard Light technology?
Or Bastion's Ironclad passive during his rework? Turns out, that last detail was, in fact, inspired Lead Writer Michael Chu propose the passive's name as to better explain why it exists:
Turns out, the fateful day that Torbjörn identified Bastion as more than a war machine not only secure the omnic a spot in Overwatch, but also some sweet new defensive tech. The passive is called Ironclad due to Torbjörn involvement with a guild of the same name prior to the Omnic Crisis.
Torbjörn also has a skin named "Ironclad", further linking the two heroes. While it's not exactly as obvious as the type of references the original poster had in mind, Chu's post does reveal that he is open to the idea.
Who knows -- maybe in a future comic or short we will see an explanation as to why Reaper no-longer collects visible souls on the battlefield or how Mercy's resurrection ability keeps changing. Most players don't even notice these type of details, but the lore aficionados (who represent a not-insignificant part of Overwatch's mass appeal) at least have something to look forward to.
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