Opinion – If Uprising Is What An Overwatch Story Mode Would Be, I’m On Board
This week, Blizzard began its latest Overwatch limited-time event, Uprising. In addition to bringing 100 collectibles ranging from skins to sprays, April's offering introduces the eponymous Uprising mode. In this four-player co-op mission, you battle against the invading Omnic robots in a mission that takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It's a short experience, but it kicks up a notion I haven't felt since the game launched last year.
Last May, I initially thought the game was lacking in content. I saw a handful of maps with only a few different multiplayer modes tying them together. Because of this, I felt like a story mode would do wonders for the content present in the game. However, as I played more and learned about the nuances of the gameplay and the dynamics of the characters, I learned that the multiplayer provides more than enough content for Overwatch (I've now played well over 100 hours over the last 12 months).
Upon playing Uprising mode, my dissipated desire for a story mode came rushing back. This time, it wasn't to compensate for a lack of content, but rather because what little story content Uprising delivers is so enjoyable. Joining with three other players to take on an Omnic invasion in King's Row is a blast, and the tiny story moments players ascertain from the in-game chatter add even more personality to these beloved characters. I enjoyed seeing Mercy fly over to heal Tracer while telling the speedster that the team can't lose her on her first mission. Battling against waves of repurposed Bastions and Orisas was also a lot of fun.
It's obvious that players have latched onto these characters. While plenty of opportunities exist to explore the lore surrounding Overwatch outside of the games through things like animated shorts and comics, it's thrilling to actually play through these pivotal moments and have them integrated into the experience.
Once May 1 rolls around and the event ends, I expect the Uprising mission will go the way of other timed events like Dr. Junkenstein's Revenge and Mei's Snowball Offensive. For what it's worth, I hope it doesn't, and that Blizzard views Uprising as the foundation for future PvE story content. Since Uprising's story ties into the core Overwatch experience more than any of the previous events, I would love it if Blizzard spun off a dedicated Missions mode that allows players to revisit this and other future story-based missions. Watching the Omnic Crisis play out over an ever-growing series of in-game missions (that don't disappear after a month) would be a fascinating way to flesh out Overwatch's timeline and characters.
I doubt that Blizzard will ever craft a traditional story mode for Overwatch. However, Uprising provides a blueprint for how story-driven content could work within the scope of Overwatch's multiplayer-focused gameplay. It's been nearly a year since I earnestly wished that Overwatch would incorporate some kind of story mode into its suite, but if Uprising is a glimpse into the game's potential story content, I'm fully on board.