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Everything We Know About Overwatch's Athena

Overwatch fans, get hyped — it looks like there's another hero on the way. It's been a little while since Sigma came on the scene, so it's about time we met a new character in the Overwatch universe. Overwatch feeds its fans through a slow drip of lore and hints to the greater story behind the game. We've been left thirsty after the announcement of Overwatch 2, a sequel title that will finally, finally go in-depth into the story of Overwatch's rise, fall, and phoenix-like rebirth. We're just not sure when that will happen.

In the meantime, Blizzard has promised that we'll get a few new heroes in the OG Overwatch roster before the sequel launches. Thanks to a tweet on the official Overwatch Twitter account, we heard from another scientist who appears to have indicated that she has created a new hero; one who might be familiar to die-hard fans.

Who is Dr. Mina Liao?

First of all, let's get to know Dr. Mina Liao. It was her personal log that the Twitter account teased, and for good reason. Dr. Liao is one of the founding members of Overwatch, which is why it's surprising we haven't heard from her before now.

Back in 2017, we were likely going to have a proper introduction with her in the canceled graphic novel, First Strike. According to Overwatch creative director Jeff Kaplan, the novel was killed off because it would have limited the story. Whatever the story was — it was set during the first omnic crisis that launched Overwatch — Dr. Liao was at its center. She was on the front cover, after all. 

Because First Strike was canceled, Dr. Liao has remained something of a mystery. This fragment of her personal log is the first hint we have as to her personality and the big secret project she was working on.

What is the Athena Project?

Dr. Liao's personal log (which isn't so personal now that it's been tweeted for the world to see) centers around the success of the "Athena Project." Dr. Liao says that its approval — from our very own Soldier 76, no less — comes at a great time. People are afraid of omnics, even as they become more and more human-like with feelings and even purported souls of their own. Whatever the Athena Project is, it has to do with the value and respect of artificial life.

"I can only hope that this project will change the conversation," writes Dr. Liao, "That people can understand the value of artificial life is so much greater than whatever we have to gain by treating them as our property, or our servants."

Is Athena already in the game?

It looks like the new hero will be an omnic, some kind of artificial life that's surprisingly human. That seems to be what Dr. Liao was alluding to in her personal log, anyway. What's more is that we already know of a character named Athena in the Overwatch lore. When Winston reluctantly retired from the team after it was disbanded, his only company was his computer AI, Athena.

Athena is a smart, loyal, and yes, surprisingly human AI. Initial concept art appeared to have teased a body for her, but the sleek white-and-blue design appears to have been given to Echo, a hero in Overwatch 2. Therefore we have no idea what a corporeal Athena might look like. All we have to go off of is her A-shaped, blue logo as seen on Winston's computers. Rumor has it that she will be a support, but really, we're in the dark as to what the Athena Project is.

Blizzard is surely going to make an announcement soon. The company likes to tease out information slowly, keeping us all on the edges of our seats until it finally dishes on the details. We'll be sure to cover those developments here as they unfold.