Why Overwatch 2’s Cowboy Bebop collab looks a little weird

Why Overwatch 2’s Cowboy Bebop collab looks a little weird

Blizzard Entertainment’s collaboration with anime studio Sunrise to bring the world of Cowboy Bebop to Overwatch 2 was met with great enthusiasm when it was first revealed in its stylized, animated form. But when Blizzard released a full look at the in-game skins for Cassidy, Ashe, Mauga, Sombra, and Wrecking Ball, a dose of reality set in.

It was really one character in particular who stood out: Cole Cassidy, the outlaw cowboy previously known as McCree, who was dressed up as Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel. The animated promise of that crossover looked like a perfect fit. But the in-game model of Cassidy dressed up Spike looks a lot less appealing, at least compared to the original concept art.

Concept artwork of Cassidy as Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, showing the character from front and back and with an inset of Cassidy wearing a hat Image: Blizzard Entertainment

It’s common for 3D character models to deviate significantly from 2D concepts. In 2D, artists don’t have to concern themselves with reduced detail or hitboxes. Cassidy’s not nearly as lithe or as young looking as Spike.

But reaction to the in-game models from the Overwatch community was swift and incredibly unkind to Mr. Cassidy. “I just know the devs were crying trying to replicate Spike’s hair in 3D, bro,” reads a top comment on the Overwatch subreddit. “They all look good except for Spike,” reads another. “It’s like Cass ate a bee right before they were meant to go to the con.”

Overwatch players also pointed out how weird Mauga looks as Jet Black. Normally, Mauga sports a massive mane of jet black hair (with a prominent white streak) that helps define his wide silhouette. But as Jet Black, Mauga adopts the anime character’s baldness.

Still, it’s Cassidy who’s getting the most negative attention on social media platforms like X and TikTok.

One obvious design choice Overwatch 2 players are taking issue with is Cassidy’s hair, which, in the original animated trailer, was covered by a hat. Strangely, Cassidy’s Spike skin in-game does not feature a hat, despite the character wearing one in all of his other skins.

Overwatch 2 art director Dion Rogers told ComicBook.com that the unusual choice to make Cassidy go hatless was intended to more closely match the look of Spike Spiegel.

“That was something that we went back and forth on how he would feel silhouette-wise,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of gameplay choices when we remove something from a hero. But to really capture the Spike and have that hero feel like they are them or cosplaying as them. We chose to remove his hat.”

Rogers points out an important design choice in that quote, noting that Overwatch 2’s characters are “cosplaying.” That’s not supposed to be Spike Spiegel in the world of Overwatch, but Cole Cassidy dressed up as him. The same was true of Blizzard’s One Punch Man collab for Overwatch 2, which helps explain why the heroes of Overwatch look like, well, themselves and not closer to their anime inspirations.

It’s a design choice that will remain consistent, the game’s artists say.

“[Overwatch] wants to keep the identity [and] artstyle of the characters through the various collabs, something other IPs are not always so concerned with,” said Overwatch 2 principal artist Mike Hardison on X, in response to feedback about the Cowboy Bebop character skins. “That’s our line in the sand.”

Overwatch 2’s Cowboy Bebop crossover is now live in game.