New 'Overwatch' Short Delivers Backstory, Fast-Paced Action

Jayce Wagner

Blizzard Entertainment released the second of four planned Overwatch short films featuring the game's world, characters, and illustrating what players should expect from the game's story.

The six-minute video introduces us to the world of Overwatch through the eyes of Widowmaker, but it also introduces players to the world of Overwatch. Teased is the political tension at the heart of the game world, featuring a sinister organization bent on destabilizing the world and fighting against human acceptance of "Omnics" – sentient, humanoid robots. In the "Alive" short, Widowmaker targets a politician calling for peace between humans and Omnics, though her motivations aren't fully illustrated in the tense short film.

"Alive" serves as an interesting counterpoint to the earlier Overwatch short, titled "Recall." In the earlier short, we're given a look into the Overwatch team itself, a kind of superhero team like the Avengers, which has reportedly been outlawed and disbanded in the game world. Assembled by the brilliant scientist and engineer, Winston – who also happens to be a 1,200-pound gorilla in a robot mech suit, it appears that the Overwatch team is no more. Winston wistfully gazes at old photographs and tinkers in his laboratory, while reminiscing about his upbringing on a Lunar colony.

The "Alive" Overwatch short brings the world to life in wonderful detail, with a consistent and gorgeous art style throughout, the production quality easily rivals what we see from Pixar films with lush colors and expressively exaggerated characters. The Overwatch shorts deliver on Blizzard Entertainment's long history of building solid, immersive and visually stunning video game worlds, and though Overwatch is primarily a multiplayer MOBA-style shooter, Blizzard isn't pulling any punches. The art style is superb, rivaling even some of Blizzard's recent work on StarCraft II, and Diablo III.

As The Verge reports, Overwatch will be Blizzard Entertainment's first new property in nearly 20 years, most of the developer's previous games were set in one of three fictional universes. Overwatch marks Blizzard's first entry into a brand new, original game world, since the company became a multi-million dollar juggernaut and industry icon.

"We definitely wanted to do a near-future franchise that wasn't 1,000 years in the future on the far side of an alien galaxy," says Chris Metzen, Blizzard's senior vice president of story and franchise development.

Metzen claims that Overwatch has a bit of an "Avengers vibe," but has tropes and influences from genres like sci-fi and fantasy.

[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]