Yesterday, Blizzard released this animated short for Bastion, Overwatch’s robotic turret of doom. Contrary to its in-game behavior, it turns out Bastion is a sweetheart. The short tells the story of its bird buddy, Ganymede, and how they first became friends. It also tells the story of how Bastion turned away from a violent past.
In Overwatch lore, the war Bastion was created for is long over. Bastion was shut down and abandoned after the war, as were most of its fellow robots. When it comes back online, it heads out to resume its mission – until Ganymede intervenes.
Not to spoil it, but the short features a moment that draws clear parallels between Bastion’s situation and PTSD suffered by veterans, and people have taken notice. It’s been a great conversation starter, though there are probably already too many portrayals of veterans having flashbacks that lead to acts of violence. While PTSD is associated with a greater risk of violence, the correlation is small. People with PTSD are much more likely to harm themselves than others.
Still, the gaming community is embracing Blizzard’s portrayal — including some gamers who cope with PTSD themselves.
The Bastion short said SO much about PTSD without a single word. Im in tears. As a PTSD sufferer I appreciate it. Thank you, @PlayOverwatch.
— Got Malkrat? (@Malkarii_) August 18, 2016
Bastion short was incredible. What a way to talk about PTSD and the kinds of things trauma can do to a person.
And all without words. Wow.
— Ashleigh (@techn0madic) August 18, 2016
One of the best responses comes from Blizzard’s Battle.net forums, where user Remy300041 shared their thoughts.
So halfway through the Bastion I realized the underlying message of PTSD. I’m a veteran, have fought in combat, and for a 7 minute short, this hit hard fast. and how it can trigger from something so small, and hurt those around you if you let it take control. But then, as in this, the ones we care about and could possibly hurt, also are the ones that can come and help us overcome the pain and all associated with PTSD from combat. Amazing how in 7 minutes, something can elicit a range of emotions based on tapping into past experiences…
I don’t know if that was your entire point here, Blizzard, although I’m sure that connection has been made, but well done. I really think this is going to get different reactions based on people’s experiences in life.
The response to Bastion’s backstory may not remain universally positive, but it’s good to see that people are embracing the character, mental health issues and all.
— Jared Rea (@jaredr) August 18, 2016