Overwatch: Animated Shorts Every Player Should Watch
Overwatch: Animated Shorts Every Player Should Watch
While the core gameplay of the Overwatch franchise may seem to be the most alluring aspect of the games, many long-term fans point towards the varied characters of the IP’s hero roster as the main pull factor. Players can formulate an understanding of a hero’s motivations and background through gameplay alone, although much more informed opinions can be developed by looking outside of the games themselves.
Overwatch features a lengthy array of animated short videos that can be accessed online, with each one telling intimate but important stories regarding certain heroes in the franchise. These shorts can range from more comedic and inconsequential videos to extremely important and wide-sweeping narrative tales, with some Overwatch shorts being must-watches for any curious fan of the series’ lore.
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One of the most popular and well-known Overwatch animated shorts is “The Last Bastion,” which was released in 2016. As the name suggests, this particular short tells the origin story of the damage-oriented hero Bastion, and the formulation of his relationship with a bird called Ganymede. While Overwatch 2‘s free Bastion skin was front and center of a community-wide controversy, many fans deeply love the character.
Bastion plays a crucial symbolic role in the wider lore of the game, with the hero being one of the thousands of Bastion units that were turned against the human race during Overwatch‘s Omnic Crisis, which saw disgruntled hyper-intelligent robots wage war against humans in what was a deadly global conflict. Bastion is shown to be knocked out of action during combat, only to be awoken by Ganymede years later. Upon awakening, it is clear that Bastion has a higher level of autonomy and is not entirely bound by his programming, with the short depicting his internal struggle between carrying orders and developing a wholesome relationship with his new winged friend.
Honor and Glory
“Honor and Glory” is another popular animated short for the Overwatch franchise, this time telling the story of the beloved tank hero Reinhardt. The short cuts between the present-day Reinhardt and his much younger self, who is a much more cocky and self-centered version of the Reinhardt fans know and love.
The flashback scenes show Reinhardt’s time in combat as a Crusader, with the Crusaders being a modern order of Knights aligned with the German military. Outfitted with advanced gear and weaponry to provide an imposing and defensive combat presence, the Crusaders were invaluable in absorbing the attention and flak of overwhelmingly dense Omnic forces. “Honor and Glory” conveys the lessons learned by Reinhardt in his younger years, and even lets fans know how he got his infamous facial scar.
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The “Reunion” animated short for Overwatch focuses on a different set of characters, mainly the Western-inspired damage heroes of Ashe and Cassidy. With the two heroes having a love-hate relationship over their past membership of the nefarious Deadlock Gang in Overwatch, “Reunion” conveys a predictably tense meeting between the two regarding an extremely valuable score from a recent heist.
“Reunion” was released in 2018 alongside the introduction of a brand-new damage hero named Echo, who is a highly intelligent evolutionary AI developed by the Overwatch group following the Omnic Crisis. Echo is revealed to be the loot in question that Cassidy and Ashe fight over, with the short possessing all of the stylized motifs of a classic Western standoff. Overwatch 2‘s Echo and their ultimate are being talked about a lot, showing that the short aged very well.
“The Wastelander” animated short is one of the more recent animations, coming out in 2022 prior to the official release of Overwatch 2. The new Overwatch 2 tank hero Junker Queen plays the eponymous Wastelander, who engages in a brutal deathmatch in an attempt to be crowned queen of Junkertown. This particular animated short conveys the comical lore of Australia in Overwatch, in which the country has devolved into a Mad Max-styled sense of society where humans were forced to flee to the Outback during the Omnic Crisis.
In the short, fans can get a sense of Junker Queen’s bombastic humor and backstory, while becoming more familiar with the way human society has shifted thanks to the sheer scale of conflicts. Given how important Junker Queen is likely going to be within the upcoming narratives of Overwatch 2, “The Wastelander” is an animated short that players should watch.
“Zero Hour” is a comparatively lengthy animated short that was produced to announce Overwatch 2 in 2019. This animated short serves as the official cinematic trailer for the title, and also acts as the intro cinematic in-game. Due to this important purpose behind “Zero Hour,” the short predictably features a huge range of different heroes that band together to face a huge Omnic threat in the city of Paris.
The cinematic takes place one year after Overwatch‘s tank hero Winston attempted to reform the Overwatch group, with the organization looking bleak by only having Winston, Tracer, and Mei in its ranks. With these three heroes taking on the giant threat by themselves, they begin to lose hope before being saved by a litany of returning Overwatch members. The likes of Reinhardt, Brigitte, Genji, Echo, and Mercy all convene in Paris to help their old teammates, to huge levels of success.
The cinematic marks a symbolic reformation of the Overwatch group as well as the franchise itself, with Overwatch 2 effectively reforming a fractured and dwindling fan base. With the important contextualization that “Zero Hour” provides for Overwatch 2’s ongoing narrative, and the unusually dense level of playable heroes that it features, it is clear why this animated short in particular is a must-watch.
Overwatch 2 is available now for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S
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