Overwatch Soldier 76
Blizzard releases its final animated short featuring masked vigilante Soldier 76 before the launch of its multiplayer shooter Overwatch. Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment has released the fourth and final animated short ahead of the 24 May launch of its highly anticipated multiplayer shooter Overwatch. Titled, Hero, the short film was released on 22 May and stars the masked vigilante Soldier 76 – the most picked offensive hero in the recent open beta.

Set in Dorado, the episode follows the gold-hearted, grizzled ex-Overwatch agent who is on a personal mission to investigation illegal activities of the Los Muertos gang. However, an "unexpected complication" – a local girl named Alejandra – threatens to "compromise his objective".

Besides expanding on Soldier 76's mission to hunt those who brought Overwatch down, Hero also highlights the hostility of citizens towards the Omnics – AI-controlled robots that were intended to help humans.

In July, Soldier 76's Origin trailer showcased the popular character's backstory as a pivotal figure in the Overwatch world. Formerly known as Jack Morrison, he led Overwatch for 20 years and helped end the Omnic crisis before humanity labelled the group as criminals.

"It was a conspiracy," he said in the earlier short. "Overwatch got hit from inside and out. Our enemies blew up our headquarters and me with it. They thought I died; part of me did. But the war goes on."

In keeping with Blizzard's signature Pixar-esque style and penchant for rich story-based franchises, the latest cinematic short sets the stage for some of the character conflicts in the Overwatch world leading into the game's launch.

"I didn't start this war," Soldier 76 says. "But I'm damn well gonna finish it."

Since the game does not have a story-mode, the company has continued to flesh out the Overwatch lore with a series of animated shorts, digital comics and a graphic novel, Overwatch: First Strike.

Blizzard's previous animated shorts saw genetically-engineered gorilla Winston's desire to bring Overwatch back again, deadly French assassin Windowmaker stalking her prey, and the emotional story between warring brothers Hanzo and Genji.

The company's recent open beta for the upcoming game attracted 9.7 million participants across PC, PS4 and Xbox One as the biggest beta ever for a Blizzard game.

Overwatch is set to launch on 24 May for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.