A new digital comic has been posted (the Madefire motion comic version is particularly epic), and this one is a doozy: we’re seeing the world of the Overwatch task force leading up to a flashpoint event in London, which is exactly the event hinted at in the teaser video earlier this week.
Take an opportunity to read the comic and then come back here from some analysis. Consider this your spoiler warning.
As always there’s a lot to get into here, but here’s the short version:
- Many of the heroes show up in their Origins-era regalia, including Ana, Soldier: 76, and Reaper. Numerous other heroes show up in outfits that would appear to be in line with that style, including Blackwatch versions of McCree and Genji, Overwatch-colored versions of Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and Mercy, and Tracer, in addition to a training outfit for Tracer and a lab coat-clad Winston. (If I didn’t mention a hero, they don’t show up in the comic.)
- Lots of hints about the disposition of Overwatch at the end of it’s heyday, in addition to references to S:76, Reaper, and Tracer’s origin stories, are all included.
- A LOT of evidence for what the new playable event will consist of can be extrapolated from the comic.
Let’s start with the event:
Given the set-up of characters at the end of the comic (and if we’re going to assume that this event will follow a pattern similar to Junkenstein’s Revenge in that we’ve got four players vs. AI enemies) our four players are Tracer, Torbjorn, Reinhardt, and Mercy. Based on the giant mech-thing implanted in the cathedral that’s normally the offense spawn in King’s Row, and the earlier image of the tube station from the preview, I’m willing to bet that the map itself will be between those two points, and it’ll likely be more of an offense-oriented mission rather than the “hold the door” mechanic of Junkenstein’s Revenge.
It’s possible that McCree and Genji might be playable options as well, since they’ve clearly been given new skins, but there’s certainly no guarantee. As for the enemies that we’re going to be fighting, the omnic that McCree throws down against certainly looks like a good contender.
As for the story itself: this puts a lot of stuff in a row that we previously only had extrapolations of before. Principally, it shows that Overwatch as an international organization still had to obey the sovereignty of independent countries, to the extent that England’s Prime Minister refused to allow Overwatch to intervene in the struggle with Null Sector, and Morrison didn’t feel like he could violate that. The news tickers we see in the background during Lena’s talk with Morrison indicate that there are a lot of people questioning the possible overreach of Overwatch, and that Blackwatch’s dark ops activities might be to blame. It all leads to the end of the story that we’ve been told about but haven’t seen: that eventually the world turns on Overwatch completely, the Switzerland headquarters is destroyed, lots of people are presumed dead, and everyone who survives goes their separate ways.
It also shows us the many tensions at play within the organization:
- Reyes, as the chief for Blackwatch, is clearly doing a lot of stuff that he’s keeping from Morrison and Amari, including putting McCree where he shouldn’t be.
- Dr. Ziegler (aka Mercy) is less inclined to follow the rules when a humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
- Reinhardt and Torbjorn are the old guard of the organization, while Tracer (and perhaps Genji) represents the new generation.
- We’re all pretty sure Bill Petras is the director of Overwatch but Morrison never takes his calls.
Something that’s important about all this is what it tells us about what Blizzard’s storytelling in Overwatch as a franchise: namely, that the animated shorts and digital comics that dovetail in with content in the game will be where we get our story, instead of stuff like traditionally-published graphic novels, books, or even a story-oriented campaign within the game. We can talk a lot about whether that’s a good thing, but at the end of the day that’s Blizzard’s current direction, like it or not.
In the meantime, if any new information about the Uprising event or other story-ful bits shows up, we’ll have it for you here.