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The Overwatch story, at its core, is about heroes. They are people with varied occupations clinging to the hope of a better future for the world in which they live. There is no better way to delve into the past of a hero who is a symbol of the game than with the release of his own comic: Tracer: London Calling. Before you read the second issue, find out more about how this iconic character from Overwatch he has become who he is today.
FROM TEST PILOT TO TEMPORARY TRAVELER
Lena Oxton (codename “Tracer”), the youngest member to participate in the Overwatch experimental flight program, was a famous pilot known for her daring flying skills and optimistic demeanor, and she was also the first to try the flight. OWX-01 Slipstream, a prototype fighter with a teleporter. However, on the inaugural flight of the Slipstream, the plane’s teleportation matrix broke down, and Oxton fell victim to temporary vagaries: he disappeared completely.
Hours, days and even weeks passed. There was no trace of life left and there was no response from Oxton, so the Slipstream was considered destroyed and the pilot dead. Months later, when Oxton miraculously reappeared after the incident, Winston, the clever genetically engineered gorilla scientist in the service of Overwatch, investigated how to anchor it to reality. Their work resulted in the Chronic Accelerator, a device that allowed Oxton to stay in the present and that nullified the chronological dissociation that desynchronized his molecules from time flow. For Oxton, this accelerator became a fundamental part of his being: it kept his entire body linked to his timeline and allowed him to speed up and slow down time at will for brief periods.
Following the incident, Oxton began his training to become an Overwatch agent. The idealist Jack Morrison, leader of the organization, was impressed by Oxton’s skills and determination, so he sent her on an unauthorized mission: the first. Oxton supported an assault team consisting of Dr. Angela “Mercy” Ziegler, Torbjörn Lindholm and Reinhardt Wilhelm to quell a rebellion instigated by the omnic separatist group Null Sector on the streets of London. Together, they managed to liberate the city.
In the years that followed, Oxton was an important member of several strike teams and served on many missions, including the capture in Havana of Maximilien, a twisted financier of the terrorist organization Talon, and the defeat and capture of Doomfist in Singapore.
After the signing of the Petras Act and the subsequent dismantling of Overwatch operations, Oxton, unwilling to be forced into the tedium of a clerical job at Royal Airforce, began to act on his own account. He started a new life in London with his girlfriend, Emily, and became a vigilante to prosecute crimes and combat daily injustices.
Now, as the comic tells London Calling, Lena Oxton becomes involved in the conflict again. Several years have passed since Overwatch’s disbandment, and the world is mired in injustice and at the mercy of selfish powers. Since the Omnic Crisis decades ago, there are places where omnics continue to fight for equality and an end to discrimination against their species. The world needs heroes again and it is well known that heroes often appear in the most unexpected places.
Oxton has befriended Iggy, an omnic who shares his passion for music. After visiting Iggy’s home in the Underworld, where most London buskers struggle to survive in the worst conditions, Oxton has promised to help her repair the network, the powerhouse of the Underworld. But in doing so, he has drawn the attention of the omnic Kace and his followers, who do not believe that humans should be trusted.
THE JUMP TO TRACER
How was the first hero created to Overwatch, Tracer became a kind of prototype for the rest of the characters in the game. It is inspired by the jumper, a class designed for the project Titan that had the Translation and Regression abilities that players already know. When the development of Overwatch, the team strove to move away from the class structure of their predecessor and created heroes with personality, depth and background. From the ashes of the jumper, the first hero of Overwatch. It was no longer just a character: had become person. He was Tracer, the embodiment of hope and optimism in the futuristic world of Overwatch.
Creating Tracer took a great deal of work around her appearance and abilities, although each trial brought her closer and closer to her current state. Although many of her abilities were from the jumper, her primary ability, the Pulse Bomb, used to freeze players in place for a time. The ability fit with the hero’s time-jumping theme, but it didn’t quite fit the team’s vision of the game and was eventually redesigned to be the known damage-dealing Pulse Bomb.
Like his ultimate ability, Tracer’s design evolved as the development of Overwatch. His background became central to his conceptual development, and to keep the design in tune with his past as a test pilot, the artists added several key elements to each illustration: a windbreaker, scarf, and aviator glasses. Although in her current design we see her with a retro-style brown jacket, striking neon leggings, an orange visor and her iconic upturned hairstyle, in previous tests the colors were more muted, she had many different hairstyles and, as a further point eye-catching, he wore a long scarf that flapped with each movement of Tracer across the map. We discarded the scarf to favor a more elegant design, but the idea remained and materialized in the form of the blue trail of energy that it leaves behind and that we see in the game today.
Now that you know more about Tracer, don’t miss his story at London Calling, written by award-winning author Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by renowned artist Babs Tarr. You can already read the digital version of the first and second installments!