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Winston is a player character appearing in the 2016 video game Overwatch, a Blizzard Entertainment developed first-person shooter and its related media. Winston is one of the more prominent characters used by Blizzard in Overwatch media outside of the video game; the character made an appearance in the game's cinematic trailer and is the focus of an animated short released by Blizzard.

Overwatch character
Winston Overwatch.png
First gameOverwatch (2016)
Voiced byCrispin Freeman (English)[1]

The character is a genetically engineered gorilla that was part of a larger group of genetically engineered gorillas that was used by the in-universe Horizon Lunar Colony to test the effects of prolonged habitation in space.


Development and designEdit

Winston was first showcased at Overwatch's BlizzCon 2014 reveal.[2] Winston was noted to be dressed in a heavy white armor and wearing eyeglasses, as well as having an electrically-charged melee attack.[2] American voice actor Crispin Freeman provides the English voice-over for Winston.[1]

Overwatch's Principal Designer Geoff Goodman stated that Winston, and fellow tank character D.Va, were designed to have relatively low damage output because "they are both very mobile and very hard to kill. Every character in the game has strengths and weaknesses, it's part of what makes the teamplay work well."[3] Toward the end of Overwatch's beta period, Winston's shield health was nerfed, due to his "huge hitbox and tiny armor amount."[4]


Winston has a tank role in Overwatch; out of all the tank characters in the game, he is the most agile.[5] Matt Whittaker of Hardcore Gamer expressed that Winston's abilities allow "the best Winston players [to] utilize his abilities to pull opponents off of the objective, freeing teammates to either attack or defend in peace."[6] Although Winston has relatively low damage output,[3] his Tesla Cannon deals close-range damage in a cone that continuously damages any opponent within that cone.[5][6] The weapon's damage cannot be blocked or deflected.[5] Winston also comes equipped with a jump pack that allows him to reach objectives quickly, get out of battles, and damage any opponent within the vicinity of his landing spot.[5][6] Winston's second ability, "Barrier Projector", creates a bubble shield capable of taking small amounts of damage before breaking.[5] His "Primal Rage" ultimate ability boosts his health meter to 1000 hitpoints, causes massive amounts of damage to enemies when Winston punches them, and also speeds up the cool-down rate of his jump pack.[6][7]


Video gamesEdit

In the Overwatch lore, Winston is a 29-year old genetically engineered gorilla.[8] A scientist and adventurer, Winston was formerly based in the Horizon Lunar Colony, located on the Moon.[8] The Horizon Lunar Colony was established as part of humanity's space exploration; some of its first inhabitants were genetically enhanced gorillas, like Winston, used in tests relating to prolonged space habitation.[2] Due to displaying rapid brain development from the experiment's gene therapy, Winston was taken under Dr. Harold Winston's wing; Dr. Winston taught the young gorilla about science and inspired Winston about human ingenuity.[2] The other gorillas soon led an uprising and killed the colony's scientists, claiming it as their own. Winston took the name of his caretaker, created a rocket and flew to Earth where he would join Overwatch.[2] While in Overwatch, Winston invented the chronal accelerator, which helped fellow Overwatch member Tracer maintain control of her time; before this, Tracer suffered from a chronal dissociation which kept her from keeping a physical form in the present.[9]


Winston made an appearance in Blizzard's 2014 cinematic trailer for Overwatch.[10][11] Winston also appeared Recall, the first of a series of animated Overwatch shorts released by Blizzard.[12] In the Recall short, Winston is seen recalling memories of his days in Overwatch, as well as his extended Horizon Lunar Colony backstory.[13] Additionally, Winston fights back against an attack from Talon, a terrorist organization opposed to Overwatch, and seeking to eliminate former Overwatch members. Winston is attacked at his home and laboratory on Horizon Lunar Colony. In previous events within Overwatch's lore, the Overwatch organization ended with the United Nations' Petras Act, making any Overwatch-related activities illegal.[9] However, at the end of the short, Winston initiates a recall in an effort to bring back Overwatch.[9] The events of the cinematic trailer follow the events in Recall; Talon agents Widowmaker and Reaper attempt to steal the "Doomfist" weapon, used by many villains in Overwatch lore.[9] Winston and Tracer battle Widowmaker and Reaper, before stopping the two from successfully stealing the weapon.[9]

Blizzard also used Winston in a promotional cinematic teaser shortly prior to the release of Overwatch.[14]


Winston appeared in Reflections, the tenth issue of Overwatch, a digitally released comic series that ties into the events of the video game and animations.[15] The winter holiday-themed issue, titled Reflections, features Winston lamenting about spending the holiday season alone.[15] Tracer and her girlfriend, Emily then surprise Winston and spend the night celebrating the holidays with him.[15]

Winston was later featured in Winston's Journey to the West, a comic in the form of a tapestry.[16] The tapestry was illustrated by SHISHIO.[17] Inspired by the 16th century Chinese novel, Journey to the West, the tapestry was released as part of the game's "Year of the Rooster" event, celebrating the 2017 Lunar New Year.[17] It was released digitally both on the Overwatch blog, as well as an animation on Madefire, where one can scroll down to continue viewing.[16][17] The tapestry uses visuals and music to tell its story.[18] The narrative of this tapestry involves Winston recollecting Dr. Harold Winston reading Journey to the West to him during his days on the Horizon Lunar Colony.[16] Winston imagines himself and other characters as the characters from the novel; Winston himself is imagined as Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King in the novel.[16]

In other mediaEdit

In 2016, the Jinx clothing line released T-shirts featuring Winston.[19] Players who purchased the Origins Edition of Overwatch receive a "baby Winston" battle pet, based on his appearance in the Recall cinematic, in World of Warcraft; these players will also receive a player avatar of Winston for StarCraft II.[20]


Winston has been positively received by gaming outlets. Nick Schager of The Daily Beast praised the animation seen in Overwatch, pointing out Winston's cinematic teaser appearance: "The charisma of these avatars is established early on, in an introductory video featuring hyper-intelligent simian warrior Winston that establishes the game’s Earth-under-siege sci-fi premise – and proves to be a tour-de-force of digital animation."[21] Schager also likened Winston to a character "out of a Pixar film (or a similarly gorgeous Disney effort like Big Hero 6)."[21]

Within Overwatch, Winston is generally considered to be a character than can disrupt an opposing team's organized strategy due to his jumping ability and wide spread of damage once within the team's ranks. Using Winston become part of the "dive" metagame strategy, where the player controlling Winston would jump into the opposing team's backfield to try take out healers and support characters, often sacrificing themselves in the process; the opposing team would need to divert their attention and focus on Winston before they suffer a numbers disadvantage, allowing Winston's allies to push through.[22] While the "dive" metagame has become less popular, players will still typically focus attention on an opposing Winston when in their ranks, often alerting their teammates with the cries of "monkey", since this is easier to say than "Winston".[23]


  1. ^ a b Paget, Mat (November 11, 2016). "Overwatch Actor Weighs in on the Strike and Why Voice Actors Matter". GameSpot. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hall, Charlie (November 7, 2014). "A guide to the first 12 characters in Blizzard's Overwatch". Polygon. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Chalk, Andy (May 31, 2016). "It sounds like Overwatch's McCree is going to get nerfed". PC Gamer. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Lingle, Samuel (June 2, 2016). "The definitive Overwatch hero tier list". The Daily Dot. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Overwatch hero guide: Winston". VG247. May 24, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Whittaker, Matt (May 27, 2016). "Overwatch Character Guide: Winston, McCree, Hanzo". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Brown, Fraser (June 17, 2015). "Watch Winston monkeying around in Overwatch". PCGamesN. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Heroes - Winston". Play Overwatch. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e Ramos, Jeff (May 24, 2016). "The definitive Overwatch timeline". Polygon. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  10. ^ Overwatch Cinematic Trailer. PlayOverwatch. YouTube. November 7, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Starkey, Daniel (May 30, 2016). "How Overwatch Became a Rarity: The-Troll Free Online Shooter". Wired. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  12. ^ Frank, Allegra (March 21, 2016). "Overwatch's first animated short is out now, introduces players to Winston". Polygon. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  13. ^ Overwatch Animated Short | "Recall". PlayOverwatch. YouTube. March 23, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  14. ^ Frank, Allegra (May 2, 2016). "Overwatch star Winston unravels the game's backstory in new teaser". Polygon. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Schwartz, Terri (December 20, 2016). "Overwatch Reveals Tracer's Girlfriend, Emily". IGN. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Plante, Corey (January 24, 2017). "'Overwatch' Chinese New Year Skins Aren't Offensive After All". Inverse. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "Overwatch Tapestry: "Winston's Journey to the West"". Play Overwatch. January 24, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  18. ^ Asarch, Steven (January 24, 2017). "New 'Overwatch' Comic For Year Of The Rooster: Join Winston On His Journey To The West". iDigitalTimes. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  19. ^ Futter, Mike (May 6, 2016). "Jinx Has An Overwatch Clothing Line Featuring Tracer And Winston". Game Informer. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  20. ^ "Overwatch: Origins Edition - Overwatch Products - Shop". Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Schager, Nick (May 29, 2016). "'Overwatch': Gaming's Newest Addiction Makes a Groundbreaking Case for Diversity". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  22. ^ Byrd, Matthew (July 28, 2017). "How Overwatch's chaotic dive meta went from savior to villain". PC Gamer. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  23. ^ Hill, Nathan (December 7, 2017). "The Overwatch Videogame League Aims to Become the New NFL". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2017.