Though Kiriko launched along with Overwatch 2 earlier this week, today, at the Twitch Con opening ceremonies, Blizzard debuted a nine-minute cinematic to introduce her properly.
Overwatch animated shorts are experiences unto themselves. The game’s cinematics team is uniquely skilled, knowing exactly what levers to pull and buttons to hit for maximum emotional devastation. I remember sobbing watching Bastion experience PTSD in his cinematic and cheering for Mei as she slogged through the snow in “Rise and Shine.” To celebrate the launch of Overwatch 2, Blizzard released an “Unleash Hope” video, splicing hype Overwatch moments between clips of human achievement and art over a message of hope and love. Exploiting emotion like that is extremely cynical for a video game designed to make gobs of money to do, doubly so in light of who is making this particular game, but damned if imagery doesn’t take me out at the knees.
Kiriko’s short accomplishes much the same emotional manipulation (but in a good way!). We see Kiriko and her mom, clashing over Kiriko’s newfound independence. We also get an extremely sweet moment where Kiriko interacts with a small child who is deaf whereby we learn the sign for Kiriko’s name — a sweet nod to Danik Soudakoff, a fan of Overwatch who went viral for creating ASL signs for the game’s heroes. In the cinematic’s climax, we see Kiriko unleash her offensive and healing skills on a bunch of yakuza as her slick-as-hell theme song plays. Give it a spin on Spotify, it is really cool.
To drum up even more hype for Overwatch 2, Blizzard is giving away Kiriko skins, weapons, and other cosmetics as Twitch Drops. Find out how here.
Kiriko is a tough healer to master, but her look and what her addition to the roster means for Overwatch’s lore are incredibly cool.