Skip to main content

Why Overwatch's Comic Got Cancelled

Overwatch First Strike
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

There was supposed to be an Overwatch graphic novel tie-in for the game to release a while ago, but it was shelved... no, it was cancelled. It was cancelled hard. Well, now that the dust has settled game director Jeff Kaplan has finally explained why the Overwatch comic got cancelled.

In an interview with Polygon, Kaplan explained the committee process in canceling the comic, saying:

We sort of saw Overwatch really open up to the world, and listening to players and the stories they were telling and what they imagined the Omnic crisis to be really made us second guess what we were doing in First Strike. We thought, 'Hey, if we go down this path, it really closes all these doors.'

This doesn't mean that Blizzard Entertainment hasn't taken some liberties with the story of Overwatch. They still decided to add some backstory specific characterization to some of the characters and events taking place within the game's lore, including dropping plenty of canon elements during a Christmas special comic book, and later revealing details behind the Omnic crisis and Tracer's first mission during a recent event for the game.

Blizzard has typically used the events to introduce new content into the game, including new skins and attire for select cast members, new maps, or new modes that completely change up the way the game is played such as the PvE mode that was present during the Uprising event.

But according to Jeff Kaplan, they didn't want to get cemented into a linear narrative for Overwatch, which might disrupt the head-canon that fans have cultivated in their own minds; a sort of committee crowd-sourced canon.

A lot of people, even now, are still fleshing out how an unannounced character like Doomfist fits into the game's world. Even veteran Hollywood actor Terry Crews managed to get in on the fun, visiting the Blizzard offices and lobbying to voice the character. The event swelled so much within the community that even Hollywood heavyweight The Rock chimed in to offer his support for Crews to take up the role of Doomfist in Overwatch. Bizarre, I know.

As for the First Strike graphic novel, Jeff Kaplan explained that it originally was in development alongside the early days of the game. However, after seeing how the community took to the designs and their own community-made world building, Blizzard decided to scrap the idea. Gamespot reports that the First Strike graphic novel for Overwatch was announced back in July and was scheduled for release in November, but was then cancelled in November.

Jeff Kaplan explained that they changed and expanded the world so much that what was in the comic was no longer relevant to what they were planning for the future of the series.

It definitely makes me curious to know what the novel was like, and exactly how much of the lore they cemented into a specific kind of narrative that the rest of the team felt was too strict for what they wanted to do with the characters (or rather, what they didn't want to do with them).

I guess we'll never really know unless someone leaks the novel. Until then, you can continue to make up whatever best suits your interpretation of the Overwatch universe.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.