This morning a new Killscreen article popped up on my Twitter feed called “Overwatch and The Pleasure of Transmedia Narratives“. Having been intrigued by the animated shorts and character profiles, I have enjoyed learning about the characters and the overall story of Overwatch despite but not having played the game.
The article looks at Blizzard’s transmedia approach to the narrative of Overwatch and how this has been beneficial to them. By choosing not to convey the game’s narrative, lore and character backstories in the actual game itself but rather through animated shorts, comics and bios Blizzard is keeping the game focused on the gameplay. This is a wise choice for a competitive multiplayer team-based shooter that is aspiring to become a new eSport. It also allows players to opt in for narrative, rather than having it forced upon them.
In many of the projects I have worked on the game designers have felt obligated to shoehorn in a narrative. Often, this falls flat, doesn’t work and distracts from the game-play.This article can be both useful and interesting to game designers as it demonstrates a different approach to in-game narrative and story-telling. It looks at how heavy narrative and lore may be interesting but might not suit the game-play and shows an approach that compensates for this: transmedia story-telling. Similarly, this article can act as an introduction to those unfamiliar with transmedia, as McCarthy explains what it is and why it is effective.
McCarthy, C. (2016). Overwatch and the pleasure of transmedia narratives. Retrieved from