Overwatch Echo: everything we know about the elegant new robot

overwatch echo release date
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Overwatch Echo is on its way to Blizzard's shooter soon. This kind of thing doesn't happen often, but after making the rounds through tank and support with Sigma and Baptiste, it's time for another damage hero. That's where Echo comes in: an elegant robot with a kind heart and cool laser fingers.

Originally unveiled in McCree's cinematic short and later again in the reveal trailer for Overwatch 2, fans assumed she'd be one of the new heroes coming in the unconventional sequel. On the contrary, Echo might be one of the final heroes coming to Overwatch as it winds down and makes way for the new game.

Besides a few laser-focused damage abilities, Overwatch Echo has a fascinating power that could make her an easy pick on any team. Here's everything we know about Overwatch hero 32.

When is the Overwatch Echo release date?

The Overwatch Echo release date is April 14, 2020. Today, in other words. In March, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan did warn that Echo would have to spend plenty of time in the PTR due to the sheer power of her ultimate, 'Duplicate', but it seems like now she's ready to join the main game.

While Blizzard hasn't revealed a specific time, expect the update to take place around 6pm BST (1pm EST, 10am PST).

Who is Echo?

Echo is hero number 32 in Overwatch. She's the fourth new damage hero in the game since launch. The last damage hero added was Ashe all the way back in November 2018.

Her official arrival on the Overwatch roster is hardly her first appearance. She was first introduced in the Overwatch short 'Reunion' in November 2018, when Ashe was initially revealed. In 2019, she showed up again in the Overwatch 2 reveal trailer 'Zero Hour' as she flew in to rescue Winston in a moment of desperation.

Overwatch Echo abilities: Will hero 32 be OP?

  • Left click: Tri-Shot - Echo fires three shots at once, in a triangle pattern.
  • Right click: Sticky Bombs - Echo fires a volley of sticky bombs that detonates after a delay.
  • Shift: Flight - Echo surges forward quickly, then can fly freely.
  • E: Focusing Beam - Echo channels a beam for a few seconds, dealing very high damage to targets with less than half health.
  • Jump while mid-air: Glide - Echo can glide while falling.
  • Q (Ult): Duplicate - Echo duplicates a targeted enemy hero and gains use of their abilities.

Echo's abilities are a fun hybrid of existing damage roles. Her most obvious comparison is to Pharah because of Echo's flight ability, but she trades Pharah's raw damage output for higher mobility in the sky.

Wait, she can become other heroes??

Yep, you read that right. Echo's ultimate ability allows her to target an enemy hero and literally become a clone of them for 15 seconds. During that time, she can use all of that hero's abilities. She also builds ultimate charge incredibly fast for the duration.

In a video discussing Echo's abilities, Jeff Kaplan said that the boosted ultimate charge is high enough to use Tracer's ultimate multiple times if done right. That's just one example, but the possibilities for this ability are much deeper. In a moment, Echo could ambush a fight as an extra Reinhardt ready to Earthshatter or make a clutch switch to Baptiste to save her team from a D.Va ultimate.

Echo's backstory

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Echo's backstory starts with her creator, Singaporean scientist Dr. Mina Liao. Liao was an expert in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics working for the Omnica Corporation. Despite pure intentions, she was instrumental in creating the omnic robots that would ultimately wage war against humans in the Omnic Crisis.

After the crisis, Liao was recruited by Overwatch as a founding member. Her past role in the Omnic crisis made her hesitant to accept, but it was her experience with omnics and good intentions that qualified her for the job. Because of the crisis, Overwatch had a strict policy about limiting the role of robots and AI. Still, Liao believed that AI had the power to "transform humanity for the better," and began work on the Echo project to prove it.

The first iteration of the Echo robot had a series of safeguards that kept her from her full potential, but Liao had secretly programmed Echo with an AI that learns new skills from watching. After Liao's death in an attack on an Overwatch facility, Echo's true nature was revealed.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.