Blizzard’s animated short films could lead to a full-length ‘Overwatch’ movie
The robotic heroes of Blizzard Entertainment’s futuristic online shooter may soon be the stars of an Overwatch movie, thanks to the success of the popular animated short films. The game itself doesn’t offer much in the way of storytelling or character exposition, so Blizzard has filled in some of the gaps with a series of origin stories detailing the various heroes’ rise to power.
The production and direction of the Overwatch animated shorts has always been top-notch, and the gorgeous animation rivals that of Pixar. Eight shorts have been released so far, and they are truly a labor of love for the studio. Some of the clips even played in theaters across the country as part of the game’s launch events.
“The animated shorts are probably the thing that we have the most fun making,” director Jeff Kaplan told Polygon earlier this year. “We really love working with our animation group and digging out the stories not tied to any constraints of gameplay — we can tell any stories we want.” You can check out more behind-the-scenes info in a short “making of” documentary about the Rise and Shine episode.
There’s no doubt the studio has the talent and expertise for a full-length animated film, something fans have been clamoring for since the first cinematic trailer was released. Now, a representative from Blizzard has confirmed that they’re fully in support of the idea too.
“We would like that very much,” Tim Kilpin of Activision said to MCVUK in a recent interview. “These franchises exist across multiple platforms, so it’s not just the game as a driver, but it’s linear content [movies and TV] as a way to expand the audience.”
With more than 35 million players, an Overwatch movie would certainly have worldwide appeal, considering the popularity of the game in huge markets like China. Hit video games rarely translate into box-office success, however, as Blizzard’s own venture with their live-action Warcraft movie illustrated.
In the more immediate future, Activision is currently exploring the possibilities for a Call of Duty film. “Anytime you take a franchise as storied as this, with this kind of legacy, and expand it into a new form factor you have to be really careful,” Kilpin cautioned. “So frankly, if the script and the story isn’t right, we won’t do it.”
While a full-length movie may be years away, several more origin features are planned to round out the second season of the animated shorts. With more than 20 appealing characters to draw from, it’s a sure bet they won’t run out of story ideas any time soon.