One of the unique ways that the Overwatch team has promoted their game and introduced their characters’ back stories is through a series of animated shorts. League of Legends did this during the early stages of that game, but soon stopped making the animated shorts. Overwatch’s animated shorts have become something the community looks forward to as each one is carefully made and reveals a peek at a hero’s or several heroes’ pasts.
The first from the five animated shorts currently on the PlayOverwatch Youtube channel, Recall follows the story of Winston, the scientist gorilla. The clip follows Winston throughout his childhood and reveals why he became the scientist he is today. The flashback is cut short when a group of armed men break into Winston’s laboratory along with one of the game’s primary antagonists, Reaper. Reaper attempts to steal data about Overwatch’s members after incapacitating Winston, but Winston is able to use the equipment in his lab to turn the tables and blast Reaper to pieces. The last few scenes show Winston initiating Overwatch Recall, which would contact all the old members of Overwatch and reunite his friends. At the very end, a smoke cloud, ominously resembling Reaper gathers together and leaves the lab.
The second of the animated shorts, Alive, is told from the point of the second antagonist of Overwatch, Widowmaker. The story begins with Widowmaker making a brief reference to spiders and their unfeeling nature. The scene cuts away to an assembly held by Tekhartha Mondatta, an omnic monk who preached peace between the human and omnic (robot) communities. As Widowmaker prepares to assassinate Mondatta, she is interrupted by Tracer. A chase and gunfight ensues, when finally Widowmaker is able to fire a bullet directly at Tracer’s chronal accelerator. However, Tracer was able to use her powers to time jump and avoid the bullet, but the bullet connected with Mondatta instead. After Tracer chases after Widowmaker again, and Widowmaker is able to escape after slamming Tracer into the side of a building. The scene closes with Widowmaker boarding an escape shuttle, smirking at Tracer. Her final words are, “When I was a girl I had a fear of spiders. I was told they felt no emotion. That their hearts never beat. But I know the truth. At the moment of the kill, they are never more alive.”
The fan favorite of the animated shorts, Dragons, features the brothers Hanzo and Genji as they struggle to deal with the actions of their past. The story begins with a Chinese/Japanese like clip of two dragons symbolizing the brothers originally working together and co-existing peacefully, but ending up arguing and eventually fighting. The scene jumps to Hanzo who breaks into his old family mansion to pay respects to his supposedly dead brother, Genji. However, a mysterious cyborg ninja attacks him halfway through and a battle ensues. Hanzo is forced to use his ultimate ability, but is countered by the ninja who uses a similar ability to reflect it. At that point, Hanzo realizes the ninja is his brother, Genji. Genji says that he has forgiven Hanzo for the past and that it is time for both of them to help protect the world.
Hero follows the story of Soldier: 76, or Jack Morrison, one of the founders of Overwatch. The story takes place in Rio de Janeiro where a little girl is sent to buy groceries for her parents, but is waylaid by a gang of young men attacking an omnic citizen. They take her wallet and in a desperate attempt to get back the money, she follows them to their lair. From her hiding place, she witnesses the thugs being taken out one by one by Soldier: 76 before one of them throws a grenade towards her direction. He covers her body with his own to absorb the blast, before walking off into the night. The girl realizes in the end that he is in fact one of the old members of Overwatch and a hero.
The Last Bastion
The fifth animated short, The Last Bastion, begins with Bastion being woken up in the forest by a bird tapping on his head. He walks around for a while, seemingly enjoying himself in the nature, while making friends with a little yellow bird. However, the sound of a woodpecker, similar to that of gunfire causes him to turn into tank mode and blast through his surroundings. Bastion trudges on sadly before he reaches a wide field with a city in the distance. Bastion finds a broken omnic and connects to it to experience a battle found in the field a while ago. He is surprised to see himself in the battle and starts marching purposefully towards the city with his gun held ready afterwards. The little yellow bird returns and convinces Bastion to turn away from the city and return to the forest, symbolizing him turning his back on his war-torn past and finding peace in nature.
Videos Source: PlayOverwatch Youtube Channel (Official Overwatch Channel)