Overwatch’s lore has little bearing on the game’s in-game happenings. Heroes that that are allies in Overwatch’s lore fight in-game, with nerfs and buffs adjusting gameplay outside of Overwatch’s story. But it doesn’t always have to be that way—lead writer Michael Chu posted to the game’s forum that the team is open to making references to gameplay mechanics in Overwatch’s lore.
Chu was responding to a forum post suggesting that reworks should tie into Overwatch’s lore. The forum poster said that Blizzard could explain away why Hanzo stopped using his Scatter Arrow, like if he accidentally hurt an ally with one, for example. Chu responded that Hanzo is actually carrying around a Scatter Arrow in Overwatch, despite not being able to use it.
He continued to say that the potential of gameplay and lore crossover really depends on the example.
For instance, Chu said that he named Bastion’s passive damage resistance skill to hint at a future encounter with Torbjörn in Overwatch’s Bastion comic, Binary. In the comic, Torbjörn finds Bastion and takes him under his wing.
“I named the skill ‘Ironclad’ to hint at Bastion’s (at the time unreleased) encounter with Torbjörn in the comic Binary, as he’d be the one responsible for giving Bastion its new defenses,” Chu wrote.
Blizzard probably won’t ever go as far as taking an Overwatch hero out of the game if it ends up killing a hero in the lore. The hero would simply be killed off in the lore, but stay playable in the game, according to Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan told Kotaku earlier in the year that Blizzard would never remove a hero from Overwatch’s roster even if they died in the game’s lore. After all, they’ve already killed off characters that are important to Overwatch’s story, like Widowmaker’s husband Gerard. He’s becoming more prominent in Overwatch’s lore, even though he’s dead.