If you haven’t seen it already, Blizzard has just dropped the latest Overwatch cinematic short that finally gives fans another deeper look into the game’s expanding universe. This time around, we finally get to see more of the Korean MEKA hero, D.Va aka Hana Song, and learn much more about her true personality. The seven-minute Overwatch helped us learn a bit more about D.Va’s, and not to mention, the animation was drop-dead gorgeous and entertaining to watch. Yet when it comes down to it, Overwatch’s Shooting Star falls flat when it comes to building her lore in the way that players have come to expect.
Shooting Star is far from being a bad cinematic short. It’s actually a brilliant look into D.Va’s core values and does a great job of igniting a sense of heroism within the Overwatch character. We’ve finally learned that despite her cheerful countenance, she struggles with the Omnic War and thus, carries some stiff emotional baggage and mental trauma at a young age. Along with this, she also shoulders the burden of saving the city alone (seriously, what’s going on with the Korean government?) and refuses any help from her friend. However, in the midst of a tense fight, Hana learns that she can’t do everything alone and teams up with her partner to put a swift end to the quasi-Omnic invasion.
Overall, the short pads a decent amount of support for D.Va’s lore, which is something she had so desperately needed after her whole retconning issue. Following the StarCraft II debacle, at least Hana can be accounted for as a selfless soldier who would do anything to keep her country safe, instead of just being known as some sort of bubbly gamer. That’s all well and good, but one big issue that continues to bog down the Overwatch lore is that most of these recent shorts are flashbacks.
Last year, we’ve gotten new Overwatch cinematics for both Mei and Reinhardt, which were also stunning and a great source of backstory for both characters. That said, it’s important to emphasize that both cinematics are backstories and delve into plot points we’re already familiar with. Sure, it’s a great way to flesh out their personalities and such, but it does nothing to actually move the plot forward. The Overwatch lore has been in a state of stagnation since the Zarya comic, and that dates back to last year. Heck, even the latest lore event, Archives, is a look back into what happened years ago, even before Gabriel Reyes took on his mantle as the Reaper.
D.Va’s animated short follows the same vein as its predecessors, looking back instead of moving things forward. These cinematics usually end with an unspoken message hinting that these Overwatch characters will answer Winston’s call from Recall, but if we have to wait for everyone’s backstory to before they all meet, then we’ll probably be waiting for years before anything substantial happens. Production of Overwatch shorts has slowed down significantly, and Blizzard seems to be following a trend of releasing two animations per year: one during Gamescom and another during BlizzCon in November.
Of course, there’s plenty of work that goes into creating an animated short since these things take up plenty of time. On top of that, Blizzard can’t focus all of their resources into creating cinematics when there are other pressing matters to look into, such as more heroes, maps, the Overwatch League, bug fixes, and balancing issues. Blizzard doesn’t actually need to rely on these shorts to push the Overwatch lore forward though. If Blizzard really wants to pad out everyone’s backstory, one way to do it could be through pages instead screentime. The comics act as a great way to tell more stories and keep the ball rolling in terms of character development.
With Overwatch cinematics so few and far between, these animated shorts could probably be reserved for more impactful pieces in the Overwatch universe. Lucio and Symmetra obviously have some bad blood going on, and Doomfist and Talon seem to be planning yet another war.
With D.Va’s origin story finally off the list, here’s hoping that Blizzard has something fresh planned for the next cinematic. For all we know, it could probably be more padding for another character’s backstory – Zenyatta has little to no lore, after all. But for whatever else they have planned, it’s time to start turning the wheels and unveil what’s next in store for the heroes and villains of Overwatch.