The lore of Overwatch is a complicated (and, in some cases, muddled) matter. But there are certain elements that are pretty easy to follow. The self-made cowboy, Jesse McCree, originally ran with a group of rebels calling themselves The Deadlock Gang. But he got himself caught and was given a chance to start anew by Gabriel Reyes (who would later become Reaper). He served as a part of the Blackwatch Division, alongside the likes of Reyes, Genji, Moira, and presumably others. However, he got out before Overwatch came crumbling down, not wanting anything to do with the infighting. McCree is one of the more fleshed out characters in the game. So it only makes sense that he eventually get an animated short of his own, and at BlizzCon, no less.
The short wasn’t exactly unexpected. For all the surprises they do throw out there, Blizzard does tend to utilize consistent patterns. On the promotional poster for BlizzCon, McCree was the featured Overwatch hero. McCree isn’t exactly the most popular character in the game. The honor frequently jumps around between Mercy, D.Va, and Tracer. So it’d seem odd for McCree to get that kind of treatment. But, speaking of D.Va, she also factored into this speculation. The character was featured on the promotional poster for Gamescom. Then, at that very event, Blizzard released the Shooting Star cinematic. So it made sense that something similar would happen here.
Another major piece of speculation came from a recent map change on the PTR. While not presently in the live game, the Route 66 map was recently updated to feature a minor change to the payload. Specifically, the case appeared to have been opened, and its contents removed. This mirrored a similar change made to the payload of Numbani, where the Doomfist gauntlet was edited out of the map to prepare for Doomfist’s eventual addition to the game. But Route 66 is McCree’s map, in a sense. So it makes sense that the change somehow be relevant to him.
Sure enough, the short came and featured a battle between McCree and members of the Deadlock Gang over the payload. In the end, the case is opened and its contents revealed. The short obviously takes heavy inspiration from Western films, right down to the rolling tumbleweed that comes before the fight. And it’s just as gorgeously animated as all the shorts before it. Finally, it introduces fans to a bevy of new characters, two of which are going to become incredibly familiar to players very soon. The Overwatch world is constantly expanding, and while knowing about the past is great, the cinematics offer good peeks at the present. So here’s to more in the future.