Overwatch Director Explains Cancellation of First Strike Graphic Novel; “Would Have Limited Us”

Following the cancellation of the Overwatch graphic novel First Strike, game director Jeff Kaplan explains how it would have limited the game's universe.

on May 18, 2017 8:02 AM

Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed shooter Overwatch has reached its first-year milestone this month after a year of being in players’ hands, with the game’s director offering some insight into what led to the cancellation of one of the game’s tie-in pieces of storytelling.

During a press event in New York City in celebration of the anniversary of Overwatch in an interview with Polygon, game director Jeff Kaplan provided some thoughts on Overwatch: First Strike, a previously-planned graphic novel set in the Overwatch universe, and what led to the project’s cancellation last fall.

Kaplan stated that while “the art was beautiful and the writing was excellent,” he expressed that “it was a really hard decision” for the team on whether to move forward with releasing the graphic novel, which would have explored the backstories of many of the Overwatch characters and revealed events leading into the game.

However, Kaplan addressed that the graphic novel’s cancellation had “less to do with the specific content in that novel and more to do with the way that it would have limited us.” He expressed that First Strike “was a very specific, contained story,” which may have clashed with the more open structure of the game’s world and story that Blizzard are trying to achieve.

Specifically, Kaplan explained that “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 the doors.'”

Overwatch is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, while the game’s upcoming “Anniversary” event will kick off on May 23rd, 2017.

 /  Features Editor
Ryan is the Features Editor at DualShockers, with over five years' experience in the world of video games culture and writing. He holds a BA in English & Cinema from Binghamton University, and lives in New York City.