Is LEGO Overwatch Cancelled?
When LEGO announced the launch of a theme based on the Overwatch video game in 2018, I was incredibly excited. At the time, I had over 600 hours in the game, and the prospect of getting all my favourite characters in minifigure form was amazing. The first wave didn’t disappoint in that respect and my dream of getting the full roster was looking good.
Unfortunately, it appears not many shared my enthusiasm. Here we are three years later and there’s been no word on a new wave since late 2019. This begs the question, “is LEGO Overwatch cancelled?”. I’ve been following this topic for years, and in this post I’m going to share with you everything I know.
The Overwatch theme initially launched with the singlular Omnic Bastion set (75987) in late 2018. It was just a small display piece with only 182 pieces costing $25. I feared the Overwatch theme wouldn’t give me the figures I so wanted, but my fears were put to rest with the launch of the first wave in 2019.
In them, we got minifigures for a total of 12 characters from the game (not including the Shimada Henchman). There were only 25 characters in the game at the time, so this was a solid first chunk. However, some notable absentees from this lineup would be
Later in 2019, LEGO released another tiny wave consisting of just two sets. These sets gave us minifigures for Hammond, Junkrat, and Roadhog, and came in sets which cost €19.99 and €49.99 respectively. In hindsight, this wave being so small could be considered a red flag for the theme as it ultimately proved to be it’s last.
LEGO doesn’t release sales figures on a theme-by-theme basis so I can’t definitively say whether the theme failed or not. The only thing I can say with certainty is that LEGO Overwatch wasn’t among the top 6 best-selling themes of 2019 as per their annual report for that year. As a result, it’s very difficult to say for certain how it did. However, there are ways to get an okay estimate.
We can look at average sales figures for the theme on Bricklink to get an idea of the theme’s average resale value. Generally, you’d expect a retired themes’ sets to increase in value the longer they’ve been retired, as the supply decreases but the demand remains or even increases. This is where we get our first indication that LEGO Overwatch maybe didn’t do too well….
Tracer vs. Widowmaker (-22.2%)
Set Number: 75970
Original Price: €14.99
Average Resale Price (New): €11.67
Hanzo vs. Genji (-41.1%)
Set Number: 75971
Original Price: €29.99
Average Resale Price (New): €17.68
Dorado Showdown (-23.5%)
Set Number: 75972
Original Price: €29.99
Average Resale Price (New): €22.95
D.Va & Reinhardt (-2.7%)
Set Number: 75973
Original Price: €39.99
Average Resale Price (New): €38.95
Set Number: 75974
Original Price: €59.99
Average Resale Price (New): €45.83
Watchpoint: Gibraltar (-29.1%)
Set Number: 75975
Original Price: €89.99
Average Resale Price (New): €63.85
Wrecking Ball (+15.8%)
Set Number: 75976
Original Price: €19.99
Average Resale Price (New): €23.15
Junkart & Roadhog (-24.7%)
Set Number: 75977
Original Price: €49.99
Average Resale Price (New): €37.67
If you looked at all these numbers and thought to youself “okay that’s great but what does it mean?”. The important takeaway here is that only a single Overwatch set has managed to retain it’s original value.
Looking at now-retired themes from the same year, we see the same thing happening with the Hidden Side and LEGO Movie 2 themes. Both of these were largely considered to be flops, with Hidden Side cancelled after just 2 years.
This is not conclusive by any means. Supply surpassing demand is all that’s happening here, and that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no demand. However, you would think a theme like Overwatch would have more demand this long after it’s ‘cancellation’. While certainly not a positive sign, this doesn’t look great for LEGO Overwatch.
(Image Credit: Yuumei)
Not long after the release of the second wave of Overwatch sets, the theme potentially suffered another setback. Overwatch’s publishers Blizzard came under heavy fire from the public after suspending Blitzchung (a professional Hearthstone player) for comments made in support of the Hong Kong protests. Blizzard even took it a step further and even fired the casters who conducted the interview.
I know that I was incredibly annoyed at Blizzard because of this, and actively wanted to boycott them too. It was only well after the fact that I decided to pick up the two new sets, and even then I felt dirty doing so.
At the time of writing this, Blizzard have come under heavy fire again. This time they’re being sued for workplace harassment. This isn’t strictly related to LEGO Overwatch, but it’s noteworthy when considering their relationship with The LEGO Group going forward. TLG may feel the need to distance themselves from such a controversial company moving forward, which could kill any chances of LEGO Overwatch’s revival.
The Fall of Overwatch
The problem with dedicating a LEGO theme to a video game is the theme is only ever going to be as successful as that game is. Sadly for LEGO, Overwatch was a game that peaked in it’s relevancy early on in its’ life cycle. This essentially meant, as hard as it is to hear, LEGO Overwatch was a sinking ship.
Looking at the twitch viewership graph below gives us our first insight into the games health. The game peaked in twitch popularity in August 2019 during Overwatch League with 47,000 viewers. The game dropped off hugely in October 2019, with average viewers dropping to just 14,659. Since then, the viewership hasn’t drastically improved either.
Now, Twitch viewership is absolutely not directly indicative of the active playerbase by any means. However, as you’re about to see, it does play an important part in forming an overall picture of the games’ health over time.
Google Search Trends
Taking a look at Google Search trends reveals a troubling….uh trend. Looking at the graph below, we see that the “Overwatch” search term peaked in popularity around it’s release in Summer 2016. This makes sense, but what’s concerning is the constant downward trend since then.
At the time of writing this, Overwatch is searched 91% less than it was at its peak. This is the lowest Search relevancy for the game since March 2016. While not conclusive with regards to the playerbase, this certainly alludes to a declining interest in the game in general.
Occasional Milestone Numbers
Unlike games like CSGO, Overwatch’s playerbase over time isn’t an easily accessible statistic. The only official numbers we get from Blizzard come from milestone celebration posts.
From these we gather that the game hit 35 million players before growing to 50 million in 2018. After that point, I believe the playerbase drastically declined, with a report from October 2020 stating Overwatch has 10 million active players.
Now, 10 million players is hardly a little amount, but the 80% drop in the playerbase isn’t exactly encouraging…
The Cancelled Wave
In late 2019, I was browsing Brickset when I spotted a yet unreleased wave for LEGO Overwatch. Excited beyond belief, I routinely checked back in for updates over the next year. With the release year set for 2020, I figured it was only a matter of time before they were updated.
As the year went on, the release window grew thinner and thinner before it closed completely. Before that happened though, I received a quick stab to my gut in the form of a new tag applied to these sets….
I couldn’t find the archived page on the wayback machine, but I can share my chat messages to my friends at the time I noticed.
However, the story doesn’t end there. I checked back the following day and found that the sets had been given a price. Again, this wasn’t archived and I didn’t make an effort to memorize the prices sadly, but here is my reaction as ‘proof’.
The important thing to note here is the “well 4/6 do“. Keep that number in mind.
What were the Unreleased Sets?
If you’re like me, you may be wondering what these unreleased sets were. The simple answer is we don’t know. However, there were rumours going around as to what they could’ve been, so for the sake of discussion, let’s have a look at these.
The below reddit comment was posted on the 21st December 2020.
The user claims there were to be six sets released, of which only 4 had names. This lines up perfectly with what I’ve seen with regards to pricing, with “4/6” getting a price after the ‘unreleased’ tag was applied.
The user then went on to post the following screenshot of an alleged ‘leak’.
The set numbers are consistent with his other ‘leak’ and also the set numbers I saw myself on Brickset. However, it’s incredibly important to remember that these are still rumours. Anyone could’ve faked this with the same information I have, and this guy has no actual credibility.
A few weeks after this, on January 12th 2021, another redditor uploaded the following ‘leak’.
3 days after this post (and seemingly unrelated to it) YouTuber just2good reported a similar leak coming from a Spanish retailers’ website. This ‘leak’ bares the same set name with “Null Sector Titan” which could point to some legitimacy. However, both ‘leaks’ may have originated from the same source which could be completely false.
I only mention these rumours because I think it’s fun to discuss and theorize about. They shouldn’t be taken as fact nor as definitive proof that LEGO Overwatch may or may not be coming back. Until there is official word on the subject, you should handle every piece of information with the appropriate skepticism.
For what it’s worth though, I do personally believe them.
Overwatch 2 and the Future of LEGO Overwatch
Let’s say, hypothetically, the rumours discussed earlier were true. A 901 piece €100 LEGO set based off this cinematic feels extremely appropriate/likely. The rumour of a “Null Sector Titan” set, I think, could easily be a version of this omnic alongside 4-5 minifigures from the cinematic.
Given the release of this video was late 2019, a set release of 2020 works out well aswell. If we take this as fact (which we probably shouldn’t), it’s possible that the cancelled wave wasn’t cancelled, but delayed.
What I think will happen
To give my own completely subjective opinion, I think the cancelled wave was just delayed. I think we’ll see a revival of the theme in the future as Overwatch 2 approaches its release. My reasons for optimism are as follows
- I personally believe the rumours from what I’ve seen.
- Overwatch is still listed under an “active” theme of LEGOs’ on Wikipedia.
- Hidden Side, launched in the same year, never got announced as cancelled, yet is listed as a discontinued set on the same page.
- The COVID-19 pandemic could easily have contributed to a delay in the game/theme.
- I believe the demand is still there for a moderately successful theme.
- Overwatch 2 was the victim of delays, which would obviously be transferred onto merchandise like LEGO.
- A man can dream…
In terms of when LEGO Overwatch will return, well it probably won’t. But if it does, I would guess that it would be late 2022 alongside Overwatch 2.
I can’t emphasize enough that none of my speculation here is official. I have no ties to LEGO nor do I have any unique insider information. As much as it pains me to say, you should treat LEGO Overwatch as dead and, if you’re lucky, you might be pleasantly surprised some day.
Based on everything I’ve seen, LEGO Overwatch was not incredibly successful. With the consistent decline in the games playerbase and the general public opinion on Blizzard as a company, it’s probably safe to assume that LEGO Overwatch is cancelled.
However, there is space for optimism. If you believe the rumours then there’s a chance the LEGO Overwatch theme may return when Overwatch 2 launches. Wikipedia, whether it be out-of-date information or indicative of the truth, lists Overwatch as an active theme for the time being.
It’s all but confirmed that there were 6 sets supposed to release in 2020. The future of LEGO Overwatch depends on whether these were cancelled or just delayed. Which of these is true is completely up in the air, with little information to suggest either with certainty. Until we get official word one way or another, the simple answer to “Is Overwatch Cancelled” is (unfortunately) “we don’t know”.
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