Let me preface this with a few words to explain how most of the Overwatch community feels about Bastion, the Battle Automaton.
Everybody hates Bastion.
It’s a common consensus that if you play Bastion it means that you enjoy seeing other people’s pain. You’re the kind of person that would replace somebody’s candied apples with candied onions, the type of individual to snitch on your friends for talking in class, and you’re the person who hands out toothbrushes instead of treats at halloween. A bit harsh, but it’s the truth.
The hate isn’t unwarranted, it stems from a lot of sources. Whether it be from getting obliterated by Bastion’s unbelievable burst, or just the sheer ease it takes to play that robot. The point still stands: people hate that evil little automaton. Blizzard noticed that, so they decided to create their most recent animated short called “The Last Bastion”, in attempt to sway the public’s opinion on the bot.
Blizzard has made 4 other shorts like this, showcasing the origins of different characters, but this is the first time they’ve decided not to use any words. No talking, at all. This short only uses thoughtful animation and complimentary sounds to tell a captivating visual narrative. A bold creative decision, but it paid off. ‘The Last Bastion’ is a heartwarming story and it made me change my mind about Bastion.
The first thing that stands out while watching this short is it’s Pixar-like quality. I could see this being shown right before a feature Disney film, and in fact, it could be. ‘The Last Bastion’ is impressive enough that if somebody detached it from the Overwatch universe it would still be a quirky little animation with the same impact. It’s such a simple concept as well – a robot tries to understand life after war with the help of a bird. Because it’s so easy to understand, it allows the animation to connect to a wider audience, one that the previous shorts couldn’t reach. And it connected with me.
In 7 minutes ‘The Last Bastion’ touches on a range of emotions, but curiosity and confusion are the most prominent ones. A little bird is searching for a home and stumbles upon an old war robot which is surprisingly still functioning. The flower-ridden, disoriented robot wakes up to a new world with unfamiliar surroundings, and explores in attempt to understand. On it’s adventure it passes by beautiful scenes of nature including a light rain shower in the woods, an inchworm crawling it’s first inch across a tree branch, and symphony of chirping birds. All of these things may seem like nothing in your everyday routine, but this short makes every moment of those events matter, especially to Bastion. It made Bastion so… loveable.
The flashback sequences full of gunshots, explosions, and war were the parts that hit me the hardest. It’s the first moment that it dawned on me – it’s not Bastions fault. It didn’t ask to be in a war, it didn’t plan to be overpowered it was programmed to do so. Seeing it’s innocence and love for nature made me feel like an idiot for hating on him during my Overwatch matches, I shouldn’t be so hard on Bastion or Bastion players. If you’re reading this and you still hate that robot, watch ‘The Last Bastion’, I guarantee it’ll change your opinion.