Last week, I went in depth with analyzing the effects of World of Warcraft returning to its roots with faction warfare, and the visually stunning cinematic that accompanied the announcement of Battle for Azeroth. This week, we’ll be looking at the somewhat out-of-left-field cinematic “Honor and Glory.”
Announced at Blizzcon, many fans of Overwatch were expecting another animated short along the lines of “Dragons,” or “The Last Bastion.” While packed with emotion, these scenes catered to some of the fan favorite and ‘meme-able’ characters that players flocked to.
“Honor and Glory” follows Reinhardt, a German ‘tank’ style character in Overwatch. He is noted for having such voice lines as “Catch-Phrase!” and “Beer!” (good job avoiding stereotypes, Blizzard). The cinematic follows the beloved character through a mission that would forever rework his view of service. Opening with a tight close up on a battered and scarred Overwatch medal, the viewer is taken into Reinhardt’s memory of when he first received the medal.
At a bar in Eichenwalde, during the height of the Omnic Crisis, the viewer is presented with a youthful version of the beloved hero. Full of gusto and confidence, he playfully chides his commanding officer, Balderich, for leaving The Crusaders, a regiment of heavily armored soldiers that serve as the immortal defenders of Germany. His commander responds that it is an honor to have been called to serve, and so he must go.
Reinhardt: The crusaders are immortal defenders of Germany! People will be singing songs about our legacies!
Balderich: Our legacies are our deeds. And this war is bigger than all of us.
This exchange is interrupted by news of an omnics approaching the city. Handing him a hammer, the two ritualistically exchange the Crusader motto: “Live with Honor, Die with Glory.”
It then cuts to a scene of the Crusaders and German soldiers fighting side by side to hold the line, while Reinhardt recklessly charges forward, cutting down dozens of omnics with ease. However, as the battle presses on, Reinhardt is outmatched. In the moment his confidence fails, an omnic uppercuts him with a blade, blinding him in his left eye. Battered on the ground, the omnic moves in for the kill. Luckily, Balderich intercepts the blow and engages the omnic, slaying it but sustaining a mortal wound to himself.
As Reinhardt and the officer retreat, they barricade themselves inside an old castle. The doors quake with the weight of the impacts they are sustaining:
Balderich: The door won’t hold…
[Balderich and Reinhardt walk down the stairs.]
Balderich: Head back to the unit. [holds his stabbed thigh] I’ll hold them off.
Reinhardt: Hah! And let you have all the glory? [laughs] We’ll fight our way back together!
[Balderich slams his rocket hammer on the ground and takes off his helmet.]
Balderich: No. I’m staying here.
Reinhardt: [in disbelief] But I… without you…
Balderich: Damnit! You took an oath to be a crusader. Now, keep it. [holds out his hand]
[The omnics crash against the door.]
Reinhardt: I… I won’t leave you!
Balderich: The team needs you. Be their shield.
This is the moment Reinhardt truly recognizes the weight of his duty. It’s not only a Crusader’s duty to defend Germany, but to protect the weak; those who have not been chosen to serve.
It’s really enlightening to see a genre renowned for its seeming mindlessness to be giving depth to the character of its ”champions.”
Alex Breth is a fourth-year student with a major in English wrtitings track. He can be reached at AB834895@wcupa.edu.