Promotional art for Tracer as she appears in the original Overwatch.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Who were the original 12 Overwatch characters?

The Overwatch universe began with a small list of heroes.

Boasting one of the most diverse and exciting casts of characters, Overwatch’s list of heroes has someone of any background or playstyle to enjoy or connect with.

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Now at over 30 characters, Overwatch‘s roster of heroes, scientists, oddities, and more began with a short list of personalities initially revealed during BlizzCon 2014. Overwatch was revealed for the first time at that same BlizzCon with a cinematic trailer featuring Tracer, Winston, Reaper, and Widowmaker. Those four heroes were just a fraction of the original cast of characters.

Here is the complete list of the original Overwatch heroes.

Who were the original 12 Overwatch characters?

Overwatch started off with 12 heroes, with many remaining fan-favorites to this day. Here’s the full list of original Overwatch heroes:

  • Tracer
  • Symmetra
  • Pharah
  • Hanzo
  • Reaper
  • Winston
  • Torbjörn
  • Bastion
  • Mercy
  • Widowmaker
  • Zenyatta
  • Reinhardt
Tip: There used to be four classes!

Back in the first Overwatch, there were actually four classes that characters could fall into! They were Offense, Defense, Support, and Tank. Eventually, Blizzard combined the Offense and Defense classes into the Damage class that it is today. Similarly, the character Symmetra was a Support character when the game first launched!

Overwatch was born and expanded upon from this list of heroes. When the game launched in 2016, there were 21 starting heroes. The list keeps growing, and the heroes become more powerful and exciting. With the release of Overwatch 2, the last has continued to grow.

Who was the first Overwatch hero?

tracer in her original skin and over the shoulder pose
Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Very early development of Overwatch started with the creation of the first Hero character, Tracer, who was heavily influenced by another character from an unreleased title called Titan. Blizzard used Tracer and one map based on the Temple of Anubis to test what they had.

How many characters did Overwatch 1 have?

The original Overwatch started with 12 characters, but released on May 24, 2016, with 21 characters. After that, 10 more characters were released periodically until Overwatch 2‘s release.

Here are the original characters and subsequent release dates:

  • D.va – Release
  • Reinhardt – Release
  • Roadhog – Release
  • Winston – Release
  • Zarya – Release
  • Bastion – Release
  • Cassidy (Formerly McCree)
  • Genji – Release
  • Hanzo – Release
  • Junkrat – Release
  • Mei – Release
  • Pharah – Release
  • Reaper – Release
  • Soldier: 76 – Release
  • Symmetra – Release
  • Torbjorn – Release
  • Tracer – Release
  • Widowmaker – Release
  • Lucio – Release
  • Mercy – Release
  • Zenyatta – Release
  • Ana – July 2016
  • Sombra – November 2016
  • Orisa – March 2017
  • Doomfist – July 2017
  • Moira – November 2017
  • Brigitte – March 2018
  • Wrecking Ball – July 2018
  • Ashe – November 2018
  • Baptiste – March 2019
  • Sigma – August 2019
  • Echo – April 2020

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