Overwatch’s newest animated short channels some amazing East Asian influences

Hey, remember when Valve was putting out Pixar-ish animated shorts for Team Fortress 2, and everyone went “that’s a great idea, it introduces the characters and draws players deeper into the lore of the game’s setting”? No? Just me?

Well, anyway, it was a great idea, so it’s exciting to see Blizzard following suit with its current wave of Overwatch shorts. Previous installments zeroed in on player-characters Winston and Tracer and Widowmaker, but this latest one focuses on walking martial arts tropes Hanzo and Genji, and boy, how fun it is to watch. This is some top-notch fight choreography, and the little design touches like Genji not making a sound when he lands shows a lot of fondness for the Japanese action films that influence it. I don’t know who they have directing these shorts over at Blizzard but it would not surprise me in the slightest to hear someone from Disney or Pixar was on board.

Incidentally, cyborg ninja, especially ones filched from the jaws of death and harboring some Tragic Backstory? The fastest way to this writer’s heart. Don’t get me started on Gray Fox or you’ll soon have a 4,000 word crying essay on your hands.

Overwatch is out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 24th. You can check out our gameplay impressions here!