Two years into the lifespan of Overwatch, it’s a little weird that one of the most mysterious characters is one of the very first one revealed. I refer, of course, to Amélie “Widowmaker” LaCroix, the Talon sniper and assassin. The more lore content that comes out, the more likely it seems that Blizzard is building up to something big regarding Widowmaker. Let’s start with what we know for sure:
Widowmaker is the perfect assassin: a patient, ruthlessly efficient killer who shows neither emotion nor remorse.
It is believed that in her former life, Widowmaker was married to Gérard Lacroix, an Overwatch agent spearheading operations against the Talon terrorist organization. After several unsuccessful attempts to eliminate Gérard, Talon decided to change its focus to his wife, Amélie. Talon operatives kidnapped her and subjected her to an intense program of neural reconditioning. They broke her will, suppressed her personality, and reprogrammed her as a sleeper agent. She was eventually found by Overwatch agents, apparently none the worse for wear, and returned to her normal life.
Two weeks later she killed Gérard in his sleep.
Her mission complete, Amélie returned to Talon, and they completed the process of turning her into a living weapon. She was given extensive training in the covert arts, and then her physiology was altered, drastically slowing her heart, which turned her skin cold and blue and numbed her ability to experience human emotion. Amélie was gone.
Now, Widowmaker is Talon’s most effective assassin, feeling little save the satisfaction of a job well done.
The game tells us again and again that Widowmaker feels nothing, that she’s the perfect assassin who only feels emotion when she kills. There’s just one problem: this isn’t true. The deeper you dig into Widowmaker, the more you see that she actually cares quite a lot. For instance, let’s take a look at Ana. Widowmaker and Ana had a sniper battle years ago, and Widowmaker emerged triumphant. When Widowmaker kills Ana, she has some special lines:
“You should’ve stayed dead.”
”The ‘World’s greatest sniper’... formerly.”
As a world-class expert in being a petty bitch, I can confirm that Widowmaker is feeling spite and pride there. These emotions are so strong that she even spits at Pharah upon successful headshot:
“Like mother, like daughter.”
There’s also been a common critique about Widowmaker’s outfit and manner from day one. She doesn’t dress like a perfect killer; she dresses with style. Her hair is long, despite the fact that it could get caught. At first, this got written off as a pretty common video game trope. The more the game develops however, the more it seems like it’s intentional on the developer’s parts. Everything about Widowmaker is extra. Her Summer Games skin gives her a sunglasses visor, she constantly shows the most skin of any character, and she even has a kiss highlight intro (that gets turned into the viewer being stepped on, but that’s just even more extra points in her favor.)
In fact, the only time we see Widowmaker in full, practical sniper gear is the Ana comic Legacy, which is the first public sighting of LaCroix after her kidnapping. She’s clearly capable of dressing for the job, but she chooses not to.
So there are two options here: Either Widowmaker is extremely vain, fastidious, and chooses style over pure substance... or Blizzard have seriously messed up her design several times. While we’re talking about this, what’s with those tattoos? Are we seriously supposed to think Talon ordered their perfect assassin to get some sweet goth tattoos?
Okay, spite and vanity is a pretty limited range of emotion. What about this pre-game interaction with Ana?
Ana: Gérard was a fool to love someone like you.
Widowmaker: You don’t know anything about him.
Widowmaker spits that line, and when you dig deeper, you can see why. Amélie is still deeply in love with Gérard. She keeps a photo of him in her mansion... the same mansion she’s renovating and painting vivid colors. In the Christmas comic Reflections, she visits his grave. When she comes back to life, she sighs his name.
Is her neural conditioning coming undone? Has she just let Talon believe she’s more indoctrinated than she is? Something is definitely up with Amélie LaCroix. It’s also worth noting that we don’t know who was the one to condition her. Moira asks how she’s feeling, but Moira was with Blackwatch during Gérard’s initial run at Talon. We don’t know if the timeline allows for Moira to eventually join Talon, just as Widowmaker kills her husband, allowing the genetic scientist to subject her to that level of reconditioning. If not Moira, who else could it be?
Something is definitely up with Widowmaker, and as Talon takes the spotlight as the game’s major antagonist, it seems likely these questions will be answered sooner rather than later.