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The Art of Overwatch Hardcover – October 24, 2017
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About the Author
From creators Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo) Overwatch was an immediate critical and commercial success. Since its launch in May 2016, Overwatch has amassed over 30 million users in its first 12 months. Overwatch won The Golden Joystick for best Original Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Game of the Year, PC Game of the Year, and Competitive Game of the Year. Overwatch also won Game of the Year, Best Multiplayer, and Esports Game of the Year from the 2016 Game Awards. Blizzard recently announced the launch of Overwatch League, a professional competitive league that will mimic American sports leagues with teams based in cities, regular seasons, and playoffs. The first season is expected to start in Q3 2017. Overwatch is unique in that it mixes the first-person shooter genre with a diverse set of family-friendly characters, which has created a diverse fan base of all ages, genders and nationalities. Overwatch is sure to be a success for many years to come, and may become the gold standard of eSports games. Dark Horse is proud to partner with Blizzard to give fans an action-packed art book full of never-before-seen art and commentary.
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As a collector despite this being the thickest art book I now own, it lacks more than any of my other books in details. I understand most people buy art books for visuals over exposition, but I find that to be a lackluster excuse for such empty content in this particular case. Especially when you consider the $50.00 USD asking price.
Very little is explained as to the thought process behind the visual designs, and what is there is so short or so trivial in detail it belongs more on a twitter feed than a book. Also, even for the most basic overwatch fan you've probably already seen a good chunk of the concept character art included here. So there's very little new content or a majority of engaged fans, the very fans who are mostly likely to BUY this book. If you happen to be a proactively engaged fan, outside of the 2D drawings of already in-game environments, there's very little here as far as new or unseen content goes. There's no info on rejected heroes that didn't make the cut, the holidays and events are featured barely at all, and there's no inclusion or better visuals of already shown NPC ex-overwatch heroes. (Youtube "Overwatch Recall" and skip to the ending if you haven't seen them already.)
So how does it fare as far the the art alone? Well, what it lacks in thoughtful layouts, new context, raw concept art (lacking that corporate polish), page to page images, and awe inspiring scenery; it makes up for in pure quantity. That's about all the good I can say. What the Art of Overwatch fails in giving you lore-wise and behind the scenes depth, it compensates by throwing as much content at you as possible. Of the massive repetitive content being shown, a majority is pasted on a stark white backgrounds.
Even for the most hardcore Overwtach fan, either borrow it from a friend or wait for it to drop in price. Your money is better spent on other game merch. The concept art pictures that were leaked are the only new content you'll get outside of some unused environment posters.
(Read on for more personal criticisms.)
At the most basic, any artbook should cover the behind the scenes of the work involved. What were the employees thinking during process, what breakthroughs lead to final concepts, where did the artists look to for big inspiration? SOME of that is touched on, but not very much, and what little there is not very deep.
The Overwatch game itself has a problem of making big promises; sweeping lore with grand backstories that have barely been touched on since the game's release. After a year of little progression in the main story or character stories (most released so far being minor details that don't actually further the plot), I wasn't so hopefully as to believe this book would tap into story progression. But at the very least I had hoped this book would offer new details about the characters that at least explained where they were in the current lore, like more insight to their personalities and their motivations. Which can be done through visuals alone! After a year of waiting on plot details (the most we've gotten is Doomfist's involvement with Talon) this book at the very least should have teased future feature animations, comics, or possible new heroes. Especially out of respect for its harcore audiance who has already seen 90% or more of what this entire book has to offer.
As an artist myself with many artist friends, it's easy to get lost in explaining your creations with overly enthusiastic and lengthy descriptions. Usually our biggest challenge is forcing ourselves to pull back and NOT overwhelm people. This just feels so void of passion, or as if people involved were kept under oath not to say too much. I lucked out and had $10 left on a gift card. Had I paid more than $20.00 usd I would have returned it. In fact I'm still considering it if I have the time to deal with shipping.
- Art is beautiful and displayed well as expected from Blizzard, most of the value I got from this book was by having all the images organized in a way where I can try to pick apart how they arrived at the final product. If all you want is Overwatch art organized in a nice way this book is for you. The book is made of high quality materials.
- Seems to me all descriptions in this book were done by someone at Dark Horse who interviewed Blizzard devs, and then translated that commentary. I was dissapointed to see that many times it felt like the book was talking down to me when explaining why a choice was made, how different crafts would provide input into a character, ect. As an example many times a character or environment is shown, and they would just say "And this was handed off to the Game team create".
This book takes the hard work of the OverWatch team and expands on all that we have learned plus adds in aspects some of us may have not seen published as of yet. I feel the character drawings are inspirational and show a lot of evolution through of how the team has grown and adds to the history and storylines to almost all the characters.
If you are looking for a coffee book table, a book for inspiration on drawing game art or character modeling this dives pretty deep not into the mechanics of it but the actual though process expressed through art. I could easily see even if you are not an OverWatch fan how this could be enjoyed over and over again and possibly do like I have and start framing some of the pages.
The book it self is constructed well, its sturdy, the pages are thick and glossy but not to the point you will go blind reading it under a light. I would highly recommend this book as a gift to yourself or others who are involved in Overwatch as you will not be disappointed.
This is very much an art book that everyone should have in the collection for enjoyment or study.