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Overwatch Sniper

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For other uses, see Sniper (disambiguation).

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Overwatch Soldier triangle arm.svg
Sniper City 17.jpg
Overwatch Sniper
General information

Combine Overwatch


Transhuman Sniper

Individual information



Overwatch Pulse Sniper Rifle

Game information



Ted Backman[1]

"Gordon, I can't move. These snipers got me pinned down."
Barney Calhoun[src]

The Overwatch Sniper is a soldier in the Combine Overwatch, trained in the use of the Overwatch Sniper Rifle. Snipers are encountered hiding in high, concealed areas where they can get a good field of view. They are never seen holding their rifle but the blue transparent sighting beam emitting from it is. They can be detected by the beam or by the sound of the rifle firing on another target. Gameplay wise, it succeeds the HECU Sniper featured in Half-Life.


Snipers are very accurate, and will take leading shots (firing ahead of any moving target so the pulse from the rifle hits them dead on). The round travels much slower than other bullets, so sidestepping the shot is not too difficult at long range. Even on the Easy difficulty, however, snipers will anticipate the movement of targets and fire ahead. On the Hard difficulty, they almost have a guaranteed hit, and can take the player down in 2-3 shots without armor. They will also shoot breakable objects to limit the amount of cover available to the target.

Snipers seem to take the doctrine "shoot anything that moves" quite literally, shooting at any living creature (except allied Combine forces), such as birds, and even signs.


Snipers usually set up in well fortified 'nests', effectively invulnerable to ordinary gunfire. Explosives are a different matter, however, and if the player can get close enough, a hand grenade will blow the sniper out of his hole nicely. This can be easier said than done, however, because if the sniper spots the player before they're within range, which is often the case, they'll have to avoid his fire to get close enough. The Submachine Gun's secondary fire and RPG rockets are also ideal and can substitute for grenades. If one can manage it, it might also be worth practicing using the Gravity Gun as a grenade launcher to extend the distance of his grenades. In Episode One if the player grabs an allied orange Rollermine and throws it right in the window where a sniper is at, the Rollermine will take it out in no time.

Snipers will try to expose the player from cover if they're hiding behind light or breakable objects by shooting them. Even unbreakable objects such as barrels can be knocked some distance by the impact of the bullet.

Though the player never gets an opportunity to use the weapon, Alyx Vance occupies a sniper's nest and uses the rifle on two separate occasions:

  • In Episode One, Alyx uses a sniper rifle to aid Gordon Freeman in an area of City 17. However, Gordon does not see her holding the sniper rifle as she becomes hidden in the same way as an Overwatch Sniper.
  • In Episode Two, Alyx again uses a sniper rifle to aid Gordon as he travels through a zombie-infested mining complex. This time, though, the rifle is visible to the player before they descend into the complex. It is in a fixed emplacement in a window, suggesting that the recoil of the weapon makes firing it freehand difficult, or simply as a form of control to prevent it from being taken by the player. Another reason why it may be bolted to the window is because of its immense size; it is as big and as cumbersome as an RPG Launcher. This could also explain why the weapon is never knocked out of sniper's nests by explosions. Also worth noting is the fact that it had to be recharged by a Vortigaunt before it would function. Some players have found a bug during this sequence: If the player manages to detonate any form of explosive in the sniper's nest Alyx is supposedly occupying, the corpse of a Combine Soldier will inexplicably fly out. This could be explained in that it is probably that the developers simply changed the specific sniper NPC to read Combine and zombies as enemies and Gordon as an ally. Therefore, it is the same NPC, just with different readings on who to shoot.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 kill allc1709snipers.png Counter-Sniper (5G)
Kill all of the snipers in City 17.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Concept art for a female/robot-like Overwatch Sniper, designed by Ted Backman.
The leak Sniper Rifle.
  • An early piece of concept art for the Overwatch Sniper presents it as completely robotic, with a set of binoculars for eyes, and with a more feminine design. It is said it was to work in concert with an early version of the Overwatch Elite,[1] though the specifics are unknown.


  • If spawned using console commands, the sniper's model is a normal Overwatch Soldier which the sighting beam emitting right in front of the soldier's groin. This is because it was never meant to be seen in this context by the player, so the appearance is most likely a placeholder. As well, the NPC is immune to bullet fire, and can only be killed by explosives. When it is killed it will always be propelled forward by the mechanism they use fall out of the nests in-game.
  • If the ammo cartridge for the sniper rifle is spawned using console commands, the texture on the ammo box is pink with the repeating words "OBSO1337" ("leetspeak" for obsolete) wrapped around it. The box, however, cannot be picked up as the game doesn't recognize it as ammunition
  • Upon seeing an incoming grenade a sniper will often shout "Look out!", "Watch it!" or "Shit!".
  • The sound-script for the Overwatch Sniper references the names of sound files that indicate that snipers were originally to talk over their radios, similar to the normal Overwatch Soldiers. Within these, sniper refers to itself as "scalpel", in keeping with the medical terminology used by the Combine. Only one sound file of the unused sound-script voice lines called sn_blockdown.wav still exists alongside the used sniper weapon sounds, however it is never played in-game.


List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]