Blizzard Entertainment has always been known for its beautifully done cinematic trailers and stunning character art. Its newly released animated eight-minute animated short for Overwatch, however, could easily be passed off as a Pixar creation.
Aired ahead of Overwatch's launch in May, Recall is the first in a series of animated shorts released by Blizzard that will give players an in-depth glimpse of Overwatch's cast of heroes.
Recall delves into the backstory of a genetically-engineered gorilla and scientist known as Winston who was first introduced to fans in the original cinematic trailer for Overwatch shown at BlizzCon 2014. The visually stunning, not to mention adorable, short film features flashbacks of Winston as a young gorilla on a moon base with his mentor/parent Dr Harold Winston, who teaches him about the world out there.
"Always remember, never accept the world as it appears to be, dare to see it for what it could be," Winston tells the young Gorilla while showing him planet Earth for the first time.
"In this episode, we explore Winston's thoughts and memories as he wrestles with the decision to recall the agents of Overwatch, all while the forces of Talon stage an attack on his laboratory in the abandoned Watchpoint: Gibraltar," Blizzard said in a blog post.
Set in a near-future version of Earth, the multiplayer first-person shooter is Blizzard's first original release in almost two decades and will have teams of six face off against each other. The game features a diverse roster of memorable "heroes", each with their own distinct skills, abilities and backstories that include everything from a time-jumping adventurer and a ghost-like mercenary to a transcendent robot monk.
While the game does not have its own story-mode, the animated shorts could help flesh out the colourful characters in the world of Overwatch. Blizzard is also creating a series of comic books and a graphic novel to do the same.
Although it is unlikely that Blizzard will release a short for each of its 21 characters, we hope to see one for Tracer that shows off her chirpy signature line about the cavalry, and perhaps one each for Hanzo, Zenyatta and Junkrat.
There are also several Easter eggs tucked into those eight minutes for fans to discover, including a hint at Hearthstone. It also shows 15 characters on the spinning roster of Overwatch agents seen towards the end of the clip that aren't currently in Blizzard's latest title. Some of the heroes did make appearances in various illustrations and concept art, while others are random faces.
Overwatch will hit stores on 24 May for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One for $60 (£42.31). The game's open beta will be available from May 5-9. Gamers who preorder the title will have early beta access on 3 May.