Man, the Overwatch 2021 Archives Event Is a Misread of What Made It Interesting

This is not the history we were looking for.

Overwatch’s Archives event was originally “The Lore Event” for the hero shooter. Every year it would include cooperative missions with story content, and skins that hinted at the history of its various playable characters. In 2021? It’s uh….distinctly not that.

While, yes, you’ll be able to play all those missions again and unlock skins from previous events, Archives 2021 eschews Overwatch history for general world history. That means characters like Tracer, Soldier: 76, and Genji are wearing skins based on the history of their respective home countries. Which uh, means Tracer and Soldier, who are from England and the U.S. respectively, are wearing the outfits of their colonial ancestors, rather than something that was evocative of their own pasts. Such as Soldier: 76 when he was part of the Soldier Enhancement Program or, I don’t know, wearing a Pride flag as a cape? It would’ve felt in line with his character, at least.

As a Soldier: 76 main, the Archives event has been a sore spot twice now, as the last time he was given a skin for the event it had its own hard to parse undertones about how Overwatch puts the military on a pedestal.

More Overwatch:

Questionable skin decisions aside, Archives has been one of the more noticeably barren Overwatch events as of late, as Blizzard has stopped creating story content for it in favor of working on Overwatch 2’s co-op campaign.

As with most recent Overwatch events, there will be three weekly challenges to unlock new cosmetics, this time for Lucio, Zenyatta, and Mercy. The original Archives story missions will be playable once again, this time with new modifiers to make things more challenging. Including: bulletproof barriers for the opposing side, healing for enemies as you do damage to their teammates, and foes that dish out electric damage when you’re in close proximity to them.

Archives will last from April 6 to April 27.