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Unravelling the lore behind Horizon, Overwatch’s lunar nightmare

Overwatch’s new map is one of the most terrifying yet.

The moon holds many secrets.
Harold Winston did not have a good end.
Blizzard Entertainment

Ah, the moon. It’s big, mysterious, beautiful, and infested with angry simians. Horizon Lunar Colony is Overwatch’s latest map, and it’s pretty horrifying. While people are wondering if Hammond, the other missing monkey, will show up as an Overwatch hero... the truth is, we may not want him around. What happened on Horizon is one of the darkest stories in Overwatch yet, and we still aren’t sure of everything that happened.

This Horizon trailer gives us a few clues. Winston reminds us that he grew upon the moon, looking down and wondering what life would be like. If Winston looks through the telescope in the spawn room, he has some fond memories of his time here, as he says: “The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. By the third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth!” The moon gave him a healthy sense of curiosity and awe.

Winston legitimately enjoyed working with the scientists, and considered them family. He had bought into the dream that humanity would have a future amongst the stars. The other monkeys on Horizon didn’t agree. The tests, the rules, the experiments... they were starting to snap. One day, the simians threw a violent coup, and Winston found himself unwelcome on Horizon. As he notes, “They’re still up there. Some day, we’ll have to go back.”

The moon shows up quietly at the end of Hero.
The moon has been foreshadowed before.
Blizzard Entertainment

The Horizon Lunar Colony has been foreshadowed for a while. The base was constructed by Lucheng Interstellar—this is the company located at Lijiang Tower, and you can see from the various spacesuits and displays around that their entire deal is space and interstellar travel. The moon was meant to be a first step, with the scientists overseeing things and the gorillas being tested upon to determine their next steps for making space colonies livable.

Could the gorillas be hiding out there?
The moon goes beyond just Horizon.
Blizzard Entertainment

The moon, when shown in Hero, seemed to have some degree of sprawl built upon it. Indeed, it seems that Horizon is just the core of the moon’s construction, and if you look out the windows you can see rovers to transport and inaccessible buildings beyond Horizon.

Uh oh, spaghetti-o’s.
The Horizon rovers are both critical for transport and seemingly in trouble.
Blizzard Entertainment

The rovers are seemingly crucial for transport, since Horizon doesn’t have connections to all of the outside bases... and starting to break down. if you look at the bottom monitor, you can see 78%, which may be the current status of the contraption. This is a recurring theme throughout Horizon. The gorillas may run the roost, but they don’t have the tools to keep things together. Oxygen is at 55%, and “Mission Control” is at 20%. This is probably part of why Winston knows we have to go back up there. The apes have formed an independent political state, but there’s a very real chance that the base is slowly being destroyed around them.

Alright, let’s rewind. How did the apes take the base in the first place? Well, we definitely know the tests worked, because it was downright cunning.

There’s foreshadowing all over the map.
Raising kids is so hard when they’re angry apes from the future.
Blizzard Entertainment

The above screenshot is a scientist’s terminal, and it’s ripe with clues. Patel and Nevsky, in an exchange on the left, complain about the monkeys Simon and Hypatia getting into the break room and causing trouble. On the right, we can see that Simon’s been getting into consistent trouble, tools have started to go missing, and there are noises in the vents.

But it could have been worse, considering they’re genetically empowered apes.
This may actually be the worst way we’ve seen people die in Overwatch.
Blizzard Entertainment

This culminated in a single, brilliant move by the apes. They faked an airlock error, and when the scientists rushed in to stop the crisis, they... got flushed out into space. That’s a horrifying way to go, and it explains part of why Winston bounced so soon after the incident. Sure, he was likely emotionally torn up by the death of his father figure, Dr. Harold Winston... but it’s also obvious that these apes are not playing around.

In a brilliantly human... er, ape? moment, the new masters of Horizon proceeded to do all of this:

This is actually kind of terrifying!
No Gods, no masters, only ape
Blizzard Entertainment

After a bloodless (well, technically none was spilled inside the base), quick coup, the apes began to just absolutely lose their minds and party hard. All of the destruction on the map is basically from their equivalent of a victory lap. They wore the scientists’ lab coats like trophies, threw things around because they knew no one could stop them, and crowed at the cameras.

So, that’s the current situation. Horizon is currently ruled by a gang of furious, exhilarated apes as the station slowly crumbles around them. There’s one small benefit—they absolutely do not want to come to Earth. And so they remain the moon’s furious, free rulers.

For now.

Lucheng, Overwatch, and Helix Security International all likely have interests in re-taking the moon. It remains to be seen whether Horizon is the first serve in an ongoing plot about this conflict, or just a glimpse into the horror that went down when the gorillas took over.