So, Does Overwatch Have a Story?

Now that we’re knee deep in BlizzCon, we finally have a pretty good idea of what Overwatch is. We now know it’s not a F2P game, we know a rough release window, and we even know how many playable characters there will be. What we don’t have a great idea of is whether or not it will have much of a story.

Overwatch was announced with a pretty fantastic cinematic trailer that teased a ton of worldbuilding elements (embedded below if you missed it last year).

It’s since been joined by this vague, yet promising description:

Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities.

In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world:

OVERWATCH.

It ended the crisis and helped to maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But after many years, Overwatch’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded.

Overwatch is gone… but the world still needs heroes.

However, after a pretty decent amount of gameplay footage and some time in the closed beta, it seems pretty clear that story is taking a backseat to the multiplayer gameplay. While the worldbuilding is certainly informing the level and character design, we haven’t seen much in terms of in-game narrative.

That being said, there’s still a chance we’ll be getting a lot more of the world of Overwatch, just not necessarily in the form of a traditional singleplayer campaign.

What kind of story content might we see?

About a year ago, when Overwatch was first revealed, Blizzard confirmed to Kotaku that the game would not feature a singleplayer story mode of any kind. This make sense given all of the gameplay is designed around multiplayer, team-based action.

However, that same Kotaku story added that in-game character “chatter” will be used to explore the various ongoing storylines and character relationships. Additionally, Blizzard was teasing the possibility that we’ll get even more story content outside of the game itself in some form (they specifically reference explaining the mysterious door in the Temple of Anubis). Finally, Blizzard added that the plot thread set up by that cinematic trailer will likely continue in some form.

overwatch concept art 1

My guess is that we’ll be seeing something similar to what Team Fortress 2 has been doing, only instead of comics, the world of Overwatch will be explored in a series of animated shorts.

“I can’t tell you where it’s going,” Kaplan told Kotaku, “but I can tell you we have a great cinematics department and they’re fired up to have this new universe at their disposal.”

overwatch concept art 2

In the meantime, is there anything story/universe related I can be exploring?

If you’re interested in the world of Overwatch, you definitely need to head over to the official site. Every single one of the game’s 21 heroes have their own bio page, complete with their names, ages, occupations, team affiliations, and best of all, pretty detailed breakdowns of their backstories.

For example, Tracer, that teleporting Brit from the trailer? She’s a former Overwatch pilot who got her powers after an experiment with a teleporting aircraft went horribly wrong. Reaper meanwhile, that scary looking shadow guy, is a mercenary terrorist who is hunting Overwatch agents for mysterious reasons.

It’s all pretty fun stuff, and while the game’s story and world is playing second fiddle to gameplay, I’m still looking forward to seeing how it develops.

overwatch concept art 3

When is it out?

Overwatch will be out in Spring 2016. It will cost $40 on the PC, and $60 on the PS4 and Xbox One.

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