Activision Blizzard positive about possible Overwatch Movie

Ex-Disney executive wants Overwatch be the basis of a multi-format franchise

The idea of an Overwatch movie is a mouthwatering one. Blizzard's series of animated shorts has shown that over and over again. But for the first time, someone who actually works at the publisher has shown his support for the idea.

Speaking to MCV, Tim Kilpin said “We would like that very much.” When asked whether an Overwatch movie was a possible next step after the upcoming Call of Duty film.

And Kilpin is certainly a man whose opinion counts. This year he was brought in to head-up the company's new Consumer Products Group, which is tasked with taking the company's biggest brands and turning them into Disney-like franchises, which can profit across a huge range of media formats and product lines.

And Disney-like is more than just a namecheck, as Kilpin used to head-up franchise management for Disney itself, which included making Pixar's movies so profitable. And that brings us right back round to an animated Overwatch movie.

The appeal is obvious. The characters are brilliant, the best of them have already been brought to life with a Pixar-like level of care and character design. It's undoubtedly an embarrassment of riches for any scriptwriter to make a start with.

Then there's the huge international appeal of the brand. Hollywood is increasingly hooked on the additional income from the Chinese box office (it's what saved World of Warcraft and many others in recent years), and with a notably global look to the roster, there's really something for everyone here in terms of casting.

"It's not just the game as a driver, it's linear content [movies and TV] as a way to expand the audience and expand the opportunity..."

Tim Kilpin, Activision Blizzard

But while box office makes the headlines, the real driver of Disney and Pixar's huge success are the waves of consumer product that follow each movie, it's these that allow the company to continue to invest so confidently in its core offering - something that Kilpin knows better than anyone else on the planet.

"We're a platform and a portfolio, these franchises exist across multiple platforms, so it's not just the game as a driver, but it's linear content [movies and TV] as a way to expand the audience and expand the opportunity and then esports [too], because pull all that together and you're talking about franchises that are frankly like no other."

Speaking specifically on the Call of Duty movie Kilpin admitted that taking a brand to a new medium was always going to be a risk:

“Anytime you take a franchise as storied as this, with this kind of legacy, and expand it into a new form factor you have to be really careful, you're absolutely right,” agrees Kilpin. “So frankly, if the script and the story isn't right we won't do it, it's not one of those situations where someone is saying 'I don't care just get it made!' that's not what's happening. We do think that if it's done well it has the opportunity to expand the base audience, beyond the traditional foundation that the game appeals to.”

Of course, expanding the audience of arguably the biggest gaming franchise on the planet is no small task. “As an M-rated game it's a core audience and we do think there's an opportunity to reach a little more broadly than that, if the storytelling is done well, that's the key.”

Of course none of this is going to happen tomorrow. But then that gives us all some idea of just how long term Activision's view is of current franchise line-up. The only possible thing holding the Overwatch franchise back is all those guns which, despite their cartoon-like renderings, won't play with a younger demographic (or rather their parents).

Want to read the rest of our interview with Tim Kilpin, with plenty more on the company's plans for both Overwatch and Call of Duty, then head over to this week's digital edition.