How Ana lost her eye: the backstory of Overwatch’s newest hero

Overwatch loves its lore, but it also tends to hide it. So it’s no surprise that when Blizzard announced Overwatch’s first new hero since launch this week, she turned out to be one of the most important characters to the backstory of the game’s universe yet—but you probably wouldn’t ever know that unless you were some weirdo who scours the internet for every bit of Overwatch lore they can. Like me. So let my obsession be your education as we dive into who this support hero actually is.

Ana Amari is an elite Egyptian sniper and one of the six founding members of the original Overwatch task force—Soldier: 76, Reaper, Torbjorn, and Reinhardt are four other founding members, and the sixth is a yet to be introduced character named Liao—second-in-command to Soldier: 76 (aka Jack Morrison). That original task force was responsible for pretty much single-handedly ending the first Omnic Crisis, saving the world and paving the way for the much larger organization Overwatch became in the years that followed.

From left to right: Unknown, Reaper, Anna, Pharah, Soldier: 76, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, Mercy, McCree, Unknown.

Ana is also Pharah’s mother, whose real name is Fareeha Amari, and also played a motherly role in her time as a sniper in Overwatch. Her Origin Story trailer focuses mostly around Ana and her daughter, revealing that she hoped Pharah wouldn’t try to follow in her footsteps by joining Overwatch for her own protection. Her digital comic Legacy echoes the ideas that protecting others was what drove her in combat, and one of her fellow agents calls her “Mama Bear,” driving home her role role as the team mom.

Indeed, her whole character seems centered around the trope of Ana being a protective mother in addition to being a world-saving soldier. Her in-game voiceover doesn't dance around this, and includes lines like “Need someone to tuck you in?” “Children, behave,” and “Mother knows best.” Shooting an ulting Pharah with Ana’s Sleep Dart even makes her say “I think justice could use a little nap.”

But aside from being a mother, she’s also an ace sniper thanks to her cybernetic eye. That’s right, she has a cybernetic eye that makes her vision six times greater than normal. Or at least she did, until Widowmaker her shot her straight down her scope, leaving her mortally wounded. She now has an eye patch where her aiming eye used to be, and it hasn’t been revealed whether or not her one good eye is cybernetic as well. 

As it’s explained in Legacy, Ana had the drop on Widowmaker during a mission, but hesitated to take the shot—a mistake that almost cost her life. The reason she hesitated has to do with Widowmaker’s backstory, which is a whole other can of worms, so I’ll keep it brief. Basically Widowmaker was the wife of an Overwatch agent, was kidnapped by an evil group called Talon, brainwashed into becoming an assassin, then “rescued” by Overwatch before her programming kicked in and she killed her husband and returned to Talon. When Ana saw her, she recognized her as that agent’s missing wife and was the first person to realize what had actually happened. She paused. Widowmaker fired. Trendy new eye patch earned.

Ana was rescued after being shot, but everyone thought she was dead—similar to Soldier: 76, Reaper, Genji, and are you seeing a trend from Blizzard here yet? Ana decided the world was better off if she remained dead, and expresses in Legacy that killing so many people was taking a toll on her. Now 60 years old, it’s not entirely clear why she decided to come out from the shadows, but her Origin trailer says she knows there are still people who need to be protected. Additionally, a file with a picture of her “Shrike” skin has been on the Temple of Anubis map since the game’s launch, so it’s possible she’s been operating in disguise until now. 

So to sum up: Ana is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who helped save the world and found the organization the game is named after. She’s the mother of one of the most recognizable heroes, was almost permanently wounded by one of its most recognizable villains, and is at least the fourth character to have come back from the dead. If that’s not starting post-launch characters with a bang, I don’t know what is. 

Blizzard will be releasing another comic about Ana early next week, we'll be sure to update this post with any important new information.

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.