Overwatch as a Shared Universe: Game Worlds in a Transmedial Franchise

Blom Joleen
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

Transmedia storytelling implies that each medium is a device with the same storytelling capacity to equally contribute to a single coherent world. Specifically games become an issue when transmedial worlds rely on storytelling and the imagination, since they tend to disrupt the sense of coherence within transmedial worlds. Through a case study of the Overwatch franchise (Blizzard Entertainment 2016 – 2018), this paper challenges the notion of transmedial worlds central to the idea of transmedia storytelling. Based on Anderson’s notion of Imagined Communities (1983), it proposes instead to consider transmedial universes that include games such as Overwatch as shared universes that take into consideration various types of worlds, such as virtual worlds, by focusing on how the Overwatch franchise supports the connection between consumers.