Canceled Overwatch Graphic Novel Would Have Limited Game

Canceled Overwatch Graphic Novel Would Have Limited Game

Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan explains the reasoning behind First Strike's cancellation.

As Overwatch continues strong approaching its one-year anniversary, Blizzard continues to release comics, trailers, and other merchandising to go along with the core game. However, one of the rare cancellations was an Overwatch graphic novel titled, Overwatch: First Strike. According to Overwatch's director, the comic would have limited the Overwatch universe.

Overwatch First Strike cover

At a press conference celebrating Overwatch's one-year anniversary, director Jeff Kaplan told Polygon why the company decided to cancel the Overwatch graphic novel, which would have given fans an in-depth look at an early episode in the lives of various Overwatch heroes.

"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," said Kaplan at the press conference.

The director prefaced with how the art and writing were both up to Blizzard's standards and how "it was a really hard decision" to cancel the graphic novel. Ultimately however, it was the fact that First Strike was "a very specific, contained story" "We [Blizzard] thought, 'Hey, if we go down this path, it really closes all these doors[,]" said Kaplan.

Editor's pick

Overwatch - How to Play Soldier 76

Overwatch: First Strike was revealed at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. The story would have taken place during the Omnic Crisis, a major story point in the Overwatch universe, most recently featured in the Overwatch event, "Uprising." The cover of First Strike showed off popular Overwatch heroes like Soldier 76 and Reaper looking like their "Origins" counterpart, before 76 became a robotic super soldier, and Reaper donned his cloak and skull mask.

As Kaplan said in a recent Q&A video for Wired, the fan theories that drive the Overwatch fandom have become a huge part of the game. Overwatch routinely includes community jokes like D.VA's affinity for doritos as in-game easter eggs. As such, the open-ended nature of some of Overwatch's major story points have also been aggressively writ by community.

On the one hand, this allows Overwatch to build a bridge to the fan community that has so wholly supported the game. On the other hand, it sounds as if Blizzard might be hesitant to clarify some of Overwatch's story for fear of closing some of the valves to community creativity.

How did you feel about the cancellation of Overwatch: First Strike? Do you think it was for the best, or a mistake?

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Jeff Kaplan Reveals What Convinced Blizzard to Go With Cross-Compatibility for Overwatch 2

Kaplan says not letting Overwatch "die on the vine" took some convincing.

BlizzCon 2019 is Blizzard's Most Crucial Show in Years

The wayward company has a chance to set its tone for the future, for better or worse.

New Overwatch 2 Art Leaks on Blizzard's Website

We may have just learned who Overwatch's next hero is and what WoW's next expansion is called.

Overwatch 2 is Set to Premiere at BlizzCon 2019 - Report

It'll have hero talents and an actual story.

Blizzard's Overwatch Team Says the Nintendo Switch Port Has Been "Eye-Opening"

Bringing the hero shooter to Switch took more than just a visual overhaul.

Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Switch Launch Event Amid Ongoing Public Backlash

The Nintendo New York event has been abruptly cancelled.

Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

More News

The Early Access Period for Dreams Is Coming to an End Soon

If you want in on Dreams before the full release, now's the time.

The Game Awards Has Around 10 New Games and Projects to Reveal

It'll run for almost three hours, too.

You Can Dress Up Apex Legends' Robot as the Droid From Jedi: Fallen Order

Pathfinder looks good with BD-1's red racing stripes.

Control Isn't Coming to Xbox Game Pass After All [Update]

Xbox Head Phil Spencer indicated that it was, but Remedy says otherwise.

More on PC

The Game Awards Has Around 10 New Games and Projects to Reveal

It'll run for almost three hours, too.

You Can Dress Up Apex Legends' Robot as the Droid From Jedi: Fallen Order

Pathfinder looks good with BD-1's red racing stripes.

GTA Online: Is the Unholy Hellbringer Worth it?

There's a very strange weapon for sale in GTA Online.

Control Isn't Coming to Xbox Game Pass After All [Update]

Xbox Head Phil Spencer indicated that it was, but Remedy says otherwise.

GTA Online: Is the Widowmaker Worth it?

We take a closer look at the big sci-fi blaster sold at Ammu-Nation.

GTA Online: How to Play Arena War

Own the arena with our ultimate how-to guide on Rockstar's maddest update yet.

Life Is Strange 2 Series Review: Brothers, A Tale of Two Wolves

Life Is Strange's sequel has wrapped up, so our journey with Sean and Daniel has come to an end.