Given the mainstream popularity of Overwatch – not to mention its success on the eSports scene – it's somewhat surprising that developer Blizzard hasn't yet looked to broaden the reach of the hit hero shooter even further by spinning off the game's colorful cast of characters into other entertainment formats.
True, in the year since the game was initially released for PC and consoles, we've had animation shorts, sporadic digital comics and even an overblown alternate reality game, but we can't help but feel Blizzard could have taken the franchise a whole lot further than it already has. Of course, it took the same studio 12 years to see the sense in releasing a big screen adaptation of its largest IP, World of Warcraft, so it's likely we'll see Overwatch gradually transition into the popular culture consciousness in the years to come.
With that in mind, we've put together a selection of our favorite, perhaps loftiest, ideas as to where Blizzard could take Overwatch next.
Overwatch: The Telltale Series
As an online-only first-person shooter, Overwatch has had limited opportunities to explore world and character-building scenarios outside the confines of the game itself. While the aforementioned digital animation shorts – along with one-off PvE events such as Dr. Junkenstein's Revenge – have allowed Blizzard's narrative team to deliver some exposition and explore the roots of a few characters including Bastion, Tracer and Sombra, the backstories of the game's larger-than-life cast of heroes would surely make for a gripping backstory.
Rather than devote their own resources into creating such a title, why don't Blizzard instead keep their focus on the core game itself and outsource the project to a studio such as Telltale Games, whose writing team have prolific form for adding an extra dimension to the worlds of existing IPs? Telltale arguably produced a better Borderlands game than Gearbox has been able to for several years with its Tales from the Borderlands, and we'd love to see Soldier: 76, Reaper and Reinhardt in one of the studio's trademark point-and-click adventures. With such a unique visual style, Overwatch's graphics wouldn't even need overhauling for the project: it's surely a match made in heaven.
Overwatch: The Slot
The only thing better than playing video games for fun is surely playing them for real money, as eSports championships have proven. But there's another way to do that. Over the years, the major iGaming developers including Playtech, Microgaming and NetEnt have all leaned on the video games industry for a little inspiration, and it's surely only a matter of time before Overwatch makes the transition into the world of online slots too. The aforementioned developer Microgaming has already turned its hand to a successful Hitman-themed slot, and as casino comparison and review site casinogames.ca states, these software houses are pouring vast sums of money into acquiring the licenses for the games they develop: could Overwatch be next?
Imagine spinning the reels, perhaps through the view of D.Va's mech visor, as the voice of Zenyatta tranquilly congratulates you on your victory or commiserate with you over your defeat. Each character's ultimate ability could serve in some way as the slot game's bonus function; there could even be a mini-game that emulated the original title's payload delivery game mode - the possibilities are endless. Considering iGaming developers are signing new deals with IP holders all the time, it's not that much of a stretch to imagine that an Overwatch slot game could become a reality before the end of the year.
Overwatch: The Movie
If Blizzard's Overwatch short films proved anything, it's that their creative team surely have the ability to turn the franchise into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. While video games have typically not adapted that well onto the big screen, recent releases such as Assassin's Creed suggest that the tide appears to be turning. Blizzard will be particularly encouraged by the fact that the Warcraft film was the highest-grossing video game movie adaptation of all time, grossing over $433 million worldwide.
While a live-action fantasy movie should not be ruled out, Overwatch would surely work best as a CGI animated feature. The game, along with Blizzard's previously released mini-movies, boast one of the most striking aesthetics in the industry, and it would be foolish not to capitalize on this when making the transition to the big screen. As for the plot, an Overwatch movie could be an ensemble effort, drawing on the game's concept to band its array of heroes together in order to save the world, or it could focus on expanding the backstory on one of the title's most beloved characters: a Tracer movie or Reaper origins story would both surely make for a fascinating screenplay.
Where would you like to see Blizzard take the Overwatch franchise next? Let us know in the comments section.
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