"X Ability is not canon"


The Devs said early on that the game is not canon, and the story would be told outside the game for the most part. The only part of the game that has any connection to the story are the Archives events.


Show us where it was lol


Because that would break the lore and make everything boring:

Remember Balderich who sacrificed himself to defend Germany from the Omnics? He was resurrected by Mercy and lived happily after.

Or remember Mondatta being killed by Widow in a terrorist plot? He was revived by Mercy and lived happily after too.


That’s how science fiction generally works though.

Functions identically to Symmetra’s orbs in her comic, and are explicitly stated to be “not magic” in an interview.

Given the more specific description of “cells degenerating and regenerating at an accelerated rate”

Talking animals is probably the least out of place thing here. Its not uncommon in science fiction to have animals that were genetically engineered to talk and be more humanlike.

Sure. Instead of describing the scientific process behind something they just say “Hard light is exactly what it sounds like” and call it a day. Michael Chu called it “firm science fiction” at a GDC conference. Is it lazy? Sure. Is that a bad thing? Not always.

The game is connected via its characters and setting, not via the story. The game has 0 effect on the story, its more or less a playpen for the characters to fight each other.

Discord Orb was specifically called out as non-canon a few years back. So you can’t just classify it as mystic monk stuff, you classify it as a gameplay mechanic like Mercy’s soul globes (part of resurrect, which is the closest to explicit “rez is not canon” we’ve gotten).

Saying “X ability isn’t canon so we don’t need to explain it” doesn’t mean it gets written off as “science” or “mysticism”. It means it gets written off as a gameplay mechanic, just the same as why Roadhog can take 2 Arrows in the head, inhale a gas that counteracts the effects of radiation, and survive two more arrows piercing his belly. Its the same reason why we can write off Sombra being able to hack Soldier 76’s ability to run but not his ability to shoot from his high tech gun or use his already activated tactical visor. Its the same reason why you can write off Ana being able to use any of her darts for equal effect on Tracer, Reaper, D.Va’s mech, Bastion, Winston, and Reinhardt. Because interesting and consistent gameplay and balance trumps lore and logical exceptions.

What did you mean by this? It is neither a loose plot point, nor a mystery technology. Hard light is what it sounds like. Light turned into matter. How does it work? Who cares, that’s not important, the writing team isn’t made up of Tom Clancy and Isaac Asimov. It is a consistent technology that is given its basic explanation in laymans terms.

Overwatch’s writing has many problems. Hard light is not one of them.


For something to be canon, first there is a need for a story.

Overwatch hasnt had any story for the past two years.


In what interview are the Shimada dragons explicitly stated to be non-magical?
Where was it confirmed that they are “identical to Symmetra’s orbs in her comic”?


We can have supersoldiers who can turn into ghostly wraith forms at will with just a bit of genetical engineering, we can have spiritual dragons housed in a person soul that can be weaponised, we can have mechanical prosthetic enhancements that allow a person to level skyscrapers at whim, we can have scientist, talking gorillas from space and intelligent hamsters, we can have person mold structures and things out of thin air that can form impenetrable barriers and teleporters…

BUT WE CANNOT have a religious monk with spiritual abilities to heal the wounded and negatively affect the minds of people, no no, that’s too much and unbelievable to work.

Despite the facts that he has apparently healing abilities and each ultimate so far has been canon in OW universe, meaning he can canonically transcend into heightened existence and become invulnerable demigod providing peace and healing those around him and even sprouting translucent spiritual arms portraying his connection to the Iris spiritual entity that we still don’t know what it is?

Nope, we can’t have his orbs being canon because we can’t explain them lol. Complete BS.

It’s one thing for mercy to not being able to raise people from the dead like zombies, because death is pretty permanent and that would very much break suspension of disbelief, but it’s another to not have spiritual abilities like harmony and discord be canon for no reason.


This one:


Both of them are bright blue semi-transparent objects that are created out of thin air. Symmetra’s is said to be a non-lethal energy drain in A Better World. Hanzo’s in Dragons seems to have drained Hanzo after it phased through him. It was never explicitly confirmed, but the scientific basis for it being hard light is there. Also gameplay rather than lore, but both were, at the time, the only abilities to phase through other players, which is a bonus similarity.


I think “spiritual abilities” is the reason. As of now, there is not one “spiritual ability” that is explicitly canon. All we know is that the Dragons are not magic (see my previous post for the source, didn’t notice your post until after I commented) and that Zenyatta has some form of “healing” that Mercy does not understand. Whether that means harmony, transcendence, or simply Genji’s mental healing is unknown. But we do at least know that Discord is non-canon.

Other than Rally, exploitable Self-Destruct/Call Mech, telepathically controlling riptire, glowing McCree, huge rez, etc… You cannot say that Zenyatta’s ultimate is 1:1 canon because this hasn’t held true in the past at all.


Except that Zenyatta explictly states on junkenstein that it’s the power of the spirit he channels and Hanzo has a voiceline that says “I choose you, spirit dragon”. For something otherwordly power that resides inside within each shimada family, it’s fairly obvious that the dragons are spiritual powers or entities.


  1. relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
    “I’m responsible for his spiritual welfare”
    synonym: non-material, inner, psychic, psychical, psychological; incorporeal, intangible, other-worldly, unworldly, ethereal;
    transcendent, mystic, mystical, numinous, metaphysical;
    rareextramundane, immaterial
    “the spiritual dimension of human experience”

    antonyms: physical, material, corporeal, mundane
    having a relationship based on a profound level of mental or emotional communion.
    “he never forgot his spiritual father”
    (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.

  1. relating to religion or religious belief.
    “the country’s spiritual leader”
    synonym: religious, sacred, divine, holy, non-secular, church, churchly, ecclesiastic, devotional
    “spiritual music”

There are spiritual abilities in this game more than certainly. Blizz just doesn’t know how to write their own lore.

Discord has yet to become non-canon because Zenyatta has yet been showcased in any animation or comic. Don’t believe all the garbage they tell you when it’s not written in stone. They can easily retcon everything, like Dva being star craft champion.

And each ulti showcased so far has been canon, it means the abilities exist for the characters.

Valkyrie is canon too btw, it was recently used in Storm rising. So far, it’s been true for each character and I have no reason to believe they would change this.


Fair enough, but I’d rather there be an English confirmation. Things get lost in translation. Also it’s not clear if “magic” is the same thing as a spiritual ability in OW, per Nere’s comments above.

So this part is conjecture, but at least it’s well-reasoned conjecture.


It has nothing to do with explaining them. Blizzard could easily come up with a pseudo scientific explanation for them . . . if they wanted to. But instead they have chosen to have those abilities just be a gameplay feature, and not something Zen can actually do.


I have hope that they retcon those abilities back into canon, after hearing the voiceline with mercy about his healing and how it mystifies her, junkenstein voiceline with brigitte that implies he has spiritual abilities he channels and heck, the overwatch cookbook that has a line for the orbs casting protective shields and disabling enemy, while obv not canon, has to have been approved by actiblizz.

Because what does Zenyatta honestly have as a character after removing his orbs? He’d have little to no agency and how is he supposed to help innocent people getting hurt or solve problems non-violently? He can’t make people like him by chucking orbs of destruction in their faces if he cannot solve hostile problems by talking it out and anti-omnic people are everywhere in OW world. The orbs were crafted in the monastery for a purpose to channel his spiritual powers and they should stick by what they’ve said on the concept art book.

Even if some peeps here love to be nay-sayers and killjoys and apparently hate to see a character have something interesting and fun going for them instead of everything relevant just being removed, because jeff’s word is holy.

Anything can still become canon.


That’s not Zenyatta. Torbjorn also did not lose his arm to anything remotely related to Symmetra, but he has lines about that in Junkenstein.

I mean, I provided a list of counter arguments. But if you’re just going to ignore that entirely, I’m just not going to reply anymore.

This is fair.

Yeah, it’s not confirmed. At the end of the day, it’s still just speculation. But it is rooted in more than simply passing it off as magic, when we have no confirmed magic in universe, a foreign interview saying its not magic, and Michael Chu at GDC saying that the genre is “Firm Science Fiction”.


And michael chu has stated that Junkenstein universe shares similarities with the canon universe, it’s not entirely uncanon take. For instance, the source of Zenyatta’s abilities doesn’t actually change, iris exists in both junkenstein and canon universe.


Its an unreliable source rooted in magic. You cannot use evidence from one universe where magic exists as evidence that magic exists in a second, science fiction universe.


Thats really dumb though There’s 0 reason to not make it canon. Its like for instance if they said in an interview, “oh soldier can’t actually Sprint” its unnecessary and would do nothing but give him less to do.


The art book mentions zenyatta using “omnic energy”


Ok. So? We don’t know what it is, but considering Omnics are machines, and energy is, in physics, what is transformed or transferred to perform work, I don’t see the problem. We have all sorts of other words relating to machines that go with the word energy. Electric Energy, Solar Energy, Nuclear Energy, Potential Energy, Chemical Energy, etc.


Indeed it does.

Overwatch visual source book also says that the orbs serve as means of channeling omnic energy and can be released in peaceful or destructive ways.

Which does in fact mean that harmony orb is canon, because there is no other way zenyatta uses his orbs in a peaceful way, aka healing, that mercy also comments about.

I do not see how discord orb is strictly uncanon when taking this account, because all the omnic energy zenyatta uses is channeled via his orbs and used in 3 different ways, to heal, to weaken and to destroy. How in the world would discord orb then be uncanon if it’s opposite, harmony, is still canon?

Just because jeff has stated something in 2017 cuz he couldn’t figure out a good enough reason doesn’t mean it cannot be retconned to make more blipping sense and introduced into canon formats like comics or cinematics

The whole concept of this character ebodying balance of the soul, yin and yang with harmony and discord is moot if Zenyatta doesn’t actually have the abilities. A zenyatta with just harmony orb and orb of destructions as abilities is lacking.