Atlas News: Horizon Lunar Colony

Blizzard Entertainment posted a new transmedia article from the point of view of Atlas News, which reports that Horizon Lunar Colony’s database and monitoring systems are still up and running, but Lucheng Interstellar has not been able to reestablish contact with its communication array.

Lucheng Interstellar, however, shared the last email logs leading to the final moments before losing communication with the Horizon Lunar Colony.

For the first time in years after Horizon Lunar Colony went offline, new information has been revealed as to the fate of the program.

At a press conference today, Lucheng Interstellar revealed the surprising fact that the colony’s databases and monitoring systems are still up and running this day. While no direct communication has been established with the facility, the company has successfully retrieved personnel logs sent days and moments before the base lost contact with earth. Below are some of the transmissions Lucheng shared.

Horizon Lunar Colony

 

Horizon Lunar Colony Transmission Log

Lucheng Interstellar has released its first image of the colony's still-operating integrated monitoring systems. A Lucheng spokesperson told Atlas News the connection is unstable, but the company is working around the clock to gather new information.

 

Exploration Video

 

Log Analysis

1. The first message by Nevsky mentions Simon and other gorillas are troublemakers. These are the same being tracked in what looks like a GPS tracker system. There are two gorillas missing that haven’t been found by the GPS tracker: Winston and Hammond. Winston being Specimen 28, means there are at least 28 gorillas in the Horizon Lunar Colony. That, however, doesn’t mean there are not more gorillas in the Horizon Lunar Colony. Maybe most of them are below if there are multiple levels beneath the ground.

2. Flores emailed all staff to complain about strange noises coming from the ventilation system throughout the base, and requested a Ventilation System inspection. This could mean a few things. One of them that one of the gorillas or other type of animal has escaped into the ventilation system. Or that an intruder has infiltrated their base. Whichever the case, the fact that Flores describes he can hear the noises throughout the facility means that the source is mobile throughout the ventilation system, rather than static in one isolated place.

3. Dr. Harold Winston emailed Yoshida back to agree with his recommendation to confine the gorilla specimens to their quarters. He also mentions there won’t be new cargo transports coming from Earth any time soon.

4. This email also confirms that the genetic therapy was responsible for the sudden aggressive behavior change in the gorillas, or at least that is what the scientists think is going on. Nevertheless, not all of the gorillas were affected by the gene therapy. Meaning some remain docile as normal, which kinda puts in doubt whether the gene therapy is at fault or there is something ulterior going on behind-the-scene (more of that shortly, later in this article).

5. The Specimen Training Module map marked 12 scientists in the premises, and 7 gorilla troublemakers.

6. Apparently, the noises in the Ventilation System is Hammond — which Zhang reports has been missing from his cage for a week. Zhang also specifies that Hammond is a small specimen. Either Hammond is a baby gorilla, or a chimpanzee, but considering that Hammond and Winston are both not found nor tracked in the Specimen Training Module, this might mean that both escaped together. However, non of the emails mentions baby Winston is missing. Whether Hammond acted alone or accompanied by baby Winston, one thing seems a good bet to speculate: Hammond is responsible for the Gorilla rebellion that killed all the scientists.

7. Dr. Harold Winston’s last email is marked as High Priority, and asks all personnel to assist him in Airlock E-35. There is an emergency malfunction with the airlock. Taking a look at the Breaking Update’s map image, E-35 is likely referring to The Observatory. This is the location where we saw Dr. Harold and baby Winston in the Cinematic, looking at Earth. A concept art in the Overwatch Visual Source Book shows there is a giant telescope in this room.

8. The fact that Hammond has been missing from his cage for a week and no one has searched for him [might] indicate something extraordinary is going on here. These scientists and gorilla handlers not looking out for a missing specimen means Hammond might have some sort of limited mind-control ability that makes the scientists forget about him. What if the gene therapy did not trigger the gorillas’ behavior change — maybe Hammond’s mind-control ability was responsible?

 

Characters

The recent Atlas News report for the Horizon Lunar Colony mentions 8 primates. The Horizon map now available on PTR provides the scientists names in one of the rooms where you can find their space suits.

Primates

SPECIMEN STATUS

Tracking

Specimen 9: Simon
Specimen 10: Dyson (unknown — an orangutan has a 1 on the suit)
Specimen 15: Calvin (unknown — an orangutan has a 1 on the suit)
Specimen 20: Susan (chimpanzee — seen in video feed in the Observatory)
Specimen 23: Hypatia (gorilla — seen in video feed in the Observatory)
Specimen 24: Marie
Specimen 26: Ellie (gorilla — seen in video feed in the Observatory)

Not Found

Specimen 8: Hammond (potentially a chimpanzee)
Specimen 28: Winston (gorilla)

 

There is a room inside the Observatory (spawn point) with four video feeds showing paused images of the primates. It clearly shows not all of them are gorillas. One is an orangutan, and there are at least four chimpanzees.

 

Scientists

The space suits are listing the last names of each scientist.

Zhang
Winston
Azzarelli
Nevsky
Yoshida
Patel
Dnyango
Flores
Khouri

 

Conclusion

This Atlas News report is kinda vague, but highlights two things in particular that can fuel some well-deserved speculation: either a new map, a new Arcade event, a new hero; or all of the above.

1. Blizzard Entertainment has made similar tease campaigns leading up to special events such as the recent Overwatch: Uprising. That Overwatch: Uprising event was not a Holiday or Seasonal event (which could be considered fictitious), but rather a historical event. The Overwatch: Uprising actually happened within the Overwatch mythos. This new Atlas News report is describing something that happened years ago before Lucheng Interstellar lost contact with their base in the moon. As such, Blizzard is likely teasing they might soon announce a new historical event (playable in the Arcade Mode).

The problem with such a setting is that there was no Overwatch agents in the moon back then, and we know that the gorillas killed the scientists. So this on itself cancels out the speculation of a possible historical event announcement set years ago when Winston was still a baby. The only way it would make sense is if Overwatch agents are sent in present time to the moon in order to investigate, retrieve data, and to reestablish the communication array back into operation. To be able to do that, however, the Overwatch agents would need to neutralize the rampaging gorillas attempting to thwart their efforts.

Update: The Horizon Lunar Colony map is available now in the PTR in the Arcade Mode. This is an Assault map with two control points: A and B. There is no Special Event, but Blizzard never provides events in the PTR. It might still happen in Live servers, though no confirmation from Blizzard at this time.

2. A second possibility (other than a historical event in the Arcade mode) is that Blizzard might actually be teasing a new playable Hero: Hammond. It has been years since baby Winston escaped the moon by building his own rocket. Lucheng Interstellar made clear they lost communication with their moon base, and we know it has been many years since baby Winston left.

We know Winston (the gorilla) was a member of the old Overwatch, before Gabriel Reyes joined the Talon. We also know that the Talon was searching for a source of power in Illios.

Though far-fetched, maybe Talon went to the moon to scavenge the fallen base, and took Hammond with them back to Earth? Who knows. At this point one can speculate Blizzard is teasing either a new hero, or a new Arcade event. What do you think?

In addition, if baby Winston and Hammond have not been found by the orbital satellite GPS, where are they? Are they in the Observatory? Is the Observatory’s outerwalls heavily-shielded, and that’s why they can’t be tracked from orbit? Are the scientists confined or trapped (as seen in the blueprint)? If so, were they killed, or are they alive — serving their new gorilla masters (like in Planet of the Apes)?

Hard to tell with so little info. It might be possible that Hammond and baby Winston are in the Observatory. Dr. Harold Winston’s last email alerted all personnel that there was an emergency malfunction with an airlock in the Observatory (E-35), and we know that Flores has heard noises in the ventilation system, and that Hammond has been missing for a week. So right off the bat, Hammond is most likely the one causing the airlock issue in the Observatory. For those who don’t know what an airlock is, in this case, it is a hyperbaric chamber or pressurized compartment (with two airlocks) located between the Observatory and the moon exterior. So basically everyone in the Horizon Lunar Colony is in trouble if that airlock opens up without the proper pressurization protocols. The equivalent of an explosion siphoning out air from the interior of the colony into space.

 

Evidence

The first evidence that Blizzard was about to announce a new map was the blueprint of the Horizon Lunar Colony. This is how the large monitor in the control center looked like before May 23 in Lijiang Tower:

 

On Tue May 23, Blizzard Entertainment updated the Lijiang Tower map, and changed the large monitors in the control center.This is how the large monitors look like now in Overwatch’s live servers:

 

Another subtle change in the Lijiang Tower banners. See the before and after comparisons below:

BEFORE

 

AFTER

 

As seen in the images above, the banner was changed to show the moon and a satellite orbiting the moon. If you take a closer look at the “Breaking Update” blueprint, it has a series of numbers on the top-right, which correspond to radar telemetry. That’s the satellite in orbit around the moon detecting the location of the scientists, and specimens.

 

I also have to point out that when I searched the telemetry via Google, it kinda resembles the telemetry for the ELDORA (ELectra DOppler RAdar) — which has an Antenna Gain of 38.7 dB, and Transmit Frequency of 9.3 – 9.8 GHz. The only difference is that the ELDORA wavelength is 3.2 (The Lunar Colony wavelength says 33.2 instead, but too close to be a mere coincidence). Was this an attempt for a real-life reference/easter egg? Unrelated? Who knows.

 

Pop Culture and Historical Figure References

The gorillas (and possibly chimpanzees) are named after notorious figures in science history, and pop culture.

SIMONpossibly a reference to Herbert A. Simon whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and sociology.
DYSONpossibly a reference to Freeman Dyson -- who in 1960 wrote a paper titled Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation, where he described the hypothetical megastructure drawing energy from the sun, now known as the Dyson Sphere. His idea was inspired from a science-fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
CALVIN

One might argue this is a reference to John Calvin -- father of the 1541 christian reform (calvinism) who supported religion and science. However, because Susan is also a gorilla in the Horizon Lunar Colony, it is most likely a reference to Dr. [Susan] [Calvin] -- a fictional-character from Isaac Asimov's I, Robot.

SUSANAs mentioned above, most likely a reference to Dr. [Susan] [Calvin] -- a fictional-character from Isaac Asimov's I, Robot.
HYPATIApossibly a reference to Hypatia of Alexandria -- born in Athens, she was a notorious mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. She became head of the Neoplatonist School in Alexandria (Egypt) around 400 A.D,
MARIEpossibly a reference to Maria Sklodowska -- later renamed to Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only person to win the award in two different fields: physics and chemistry. Delved in experimenting with X-Rays, discovered the Radium element in 1898, and coined the word: radioactivity. The element Polonium was named after Marie Curie's birthplace: Poland.
Elliepossibly a Jurassic Park reference: Dr. Ellie Sattler -- a paleobotanist. Considering Hammond is also a Jurassic Park fictional-character, maybe this is the same Ellie.
HAMMONDNaturally one might think Hammond is in reference to John Hammond -- a fictional-character in Jurassic Park (1993) and owner of the park, and likely in part it is a reference to him. However, if Hammond ends up being a chimpanzee (not a gorilla) then there is a double-easter-egg here because in 1961 the first hominid launched into space (as an experiment for later human launch into space) was a chimpanzee named Ham. Watch the original 1961 video in YouTube.

 

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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