I haven’t gotten emotional over an Overwatch trailer since the Overwatch 2 launch trailer. But the trailer for season 4 finally got me. Beyond teasing the season’s new skins, which feature a galactic space pirate theme, and the release of the newest hero Liveweaver, the season 4 trailer feels like it’s Overwatch returning to its narrative roots of hope, optimism, and inclusion.
Overwatch, since inception, has been about an idealistic set of cosmopolitan heroes coming together to save a world in crisis. That message is in the game’s DNA with its bright colors, futuristic aesthetic, and Tracer’s signature line, “Cheers, love, the cavalry’s here.” I wouldn’t say Overwatch 2 has gotten away from that message, but it’s been de-emphasized in favor of the necessities that come with being a product that’s meant to make money. We get the flashy skins, the balance updates, the events, and all the various and sundry things designed to keep players engaged and spending. And make no mistake, that’s present in today’s trailer and accompanying blog highlighting all the new stuff coming in season 4. (My favorite of which is the new PvP event that pits two space-faring factions against each other in a war for the fate of the galaxy.)
But there’s something about hearing the voices of these heroes I’ve come to love one by one, saying, “United by compassion, as long as we stick together, we can make a new possibility for everyone,” that just hits like a semi truck loaded with dynamite. The season 4 trailer also teased the game’s first-ever Pride event coming in June, and at a time when the most vulnerable subset of queer folk is being violently legislated out of existence, a game standing up for queer people and including queer characters is a tiny comfort but a comfort nevertheless.
It sucks in the US right now with the concerted attack on trans people and lawmakers upholding the rights of guns over the children they kill. And it was nice to hear, from an unlikely source, that there can be a better future and, critically, that it must be fought for and not merely hoped for.
Overwatch 2 season 4 begins on April 11th.