Last year, Deviantart artist Manusogi created a series of covers for "Playwatch," a fictional men's magazine that was equal parts Playboy and Overwatch. The covers teased articles like "Classified File: Doomfist," "Playwatch Interviews Bastion," "Talking to Support Heroes," and "75 Ways to Die." And of course, there was plenty of cartoon skin, too: Nothing outright pornographic, but probably not safe for most workplaces, either. (Which is why all the images are down below.)
Naturally, it didn't take fans of the game long to take the idea and run with it. Overpog.com put together an actual Playwatch Magazine—online, of course—with, as Dorkly put it, "articles, interviews with real-life cosplayers, and yeah, loads of horny fan art." And it was actually pretty good: A lot of it was silly—the multi-page interview with Bastion is nothing but beeps and boops—but it also included coverage of the November Symmetra buff, top Hero picks and player rankings for the month, an interview with Jannetincosplay, and even a Spanish-language article about Sombra.
Unfortunately for readers (because we read it for the articles), the site has now been forced offline. "We have received a notification from a digital copyright protection agency that claims Playwatch Magazine infringes Blizzard’s intellectual property rights. For that reason, we have contacted Blizzard directly and decided to close the website until we have an answer from them," a message at playwatchmagazine.com says.
"We started several months ago with the goal of bringing Overwatch fans a new way of enjoying the game and creating a place where artists and writers could share their work with the rest of the community. The entire Playwatch Team is extremely grateful for your support. It has been a privilege getting to know you all, and we will keep you updated with any news we have."
It's possible, as COG Connected speculated, that it was the decision to launch a Playwatch Patreon that incurred the wrath of Blizzard. Google cache indicates that it had racked up a measly $63 per issue (the actual Patreon has also been deleted), but it's the principle of the thing that's the issue: Earning money off of someone else's property, even if it's just to help keep the lights on while the work gets done, is generally a big no-no when it comes to fan-made projects like this.
But it may also simply be a matter of Blizzard not being comfortable with this adult take on its characters. Blizzard took similar action last summer against a person who was using Source Filmmaker to create animated Overwatch porn.
I've reached out to Blizzard and Overpog to hopefully find out a bit more, and I'll update if I receive a reply. In the meantime, while it's sad the articles are gone (because, to repeat, that's why we read it), you can enjoy or be enraged by a couple of Playwatch covers below.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.