As Seen on TV
How Starlink borrows from Overwatch
The practice of making a television series or film specifically so it can produce a lucrative toy line is common enough that there’s a dedicated word for it: toyetic. But Starlink kind of goes the other way. The game and its accompanying toys are so lovingly created, so well thought out, it feels like they’re begging for a proper TV adaptation to back them up.
The game’s cutscenes have the stylings and production values of a computer-animated kids’ show – and we mean that in a good way. There’s not a lot of blue sky between the crew of Starlink’s Equinox, with their personalised spacecraft, and the residents of Tracy Island, except that Starlink’s cast are individualised in a way that far exceeds ‘the one with the green sash’. There are aliens both fury and scaly, an irritating YouTuber, a metalhead engineer, a gunslinging cowboy version of Groot (needless to say, our favourite), and a guy who, there are no two ways about it, looks a remarkable amount like Hanzo.
Which raises another strong gaming influence on Starlink: Blizzard’s Overwatch. With the help of its character-focused shorts, that game has made an enormous virtue of its two dozen playable heroes, and Ubisoft seems to have been taking notes. In creating Starlink, it seems the company doesn’t just want to make the next Skylanders, it wants characters who can exist outside of the game. As a line of toys, perhaps.