Yesterday, Blizzard released a cinematic video about Overwatch’s Bastion, a killer robot built for the specific purpose of annoying everyone to death. It told the heartfelt story of a budding bird/bot relationship. And also PTSD.
Bastion isn’t exactly Overwatch’s most popular character. In the game’s early days, especially, he was the bane of everyone’s existence, a low-skill bullet tube with the power to drop anybody he pointed his dumb face at in a heartbeat. These days, most people understand how to counter him, but it’s still fundamentally irritating to be chewed to pieces like so much helpless Laffy Taffy.
The new cinematic, however, imbues Bastion with qualities that make him—dare I say it—almost likable. Our own Cecilia wasn’t sold, but many other people got broadsided by feelings while watching Blizzard’s abridged take on The Iron Giant.
Some fans even ended up having serious discussions about PTSD, something strongly alluded to in Bastion’s wartime past and panicked reaction upon hearing a woodpecker in a forest, something that, to him, sounded like gunfire. He was transported back to a traumatic time in a way that, for many, felt painfully accurate.
The PTSD angle is definitely worth ruminating on. Easy as it is for people to make fun of others for being “triggered,” this kind of thing really does happen to some people—albeit perhaps with fewer rampaging war robots. It’s not something you simply escape or ignore. Sometimes, as in Bastion’s case, even the littlest things can set people off. It’s good that Blizzard broached the topic.
However, if you treat the game as a continuation of the story canon, Bastion apparently returns to a life of combat not long after his resolution to live among the trees and marry an eligible bird bachelor. Despite Bastion’s tragic backstory, some couldn’t help but see the disconnect between the movie and the game.
Overwatch bird truthers are now A Thing:
But for a few, the video simply wasn’t enough. They still hate Bastion’s mechanized guts.