The Big Overwatch Controversy…Again
Blizzard’s MOBA-FPS Overwatch is no stranger to controversy. When the game was going to be released back in May the infamous ‘butt pose’ made a huge impact. An argument that clearly gave the game more notice because like they say, “There is no such things as bad publicity.” Blizzard ultimately changed the pose but people were intrigued. Game director Jeff Kaplan said “We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated, or misrepresented,” he explained. “Apologies and we’ll continue to try to do better.”
Well, just a few days ago, Overwatch‘s latest comic, Reflections, was released on the game’s website. Once again, all the action is focused on the lovable, speedy, pixie-like, cuteness that is our favorite British hero Tracer. The comic tells a heart-warming/heart-tugging holiday story that features several of the Overwatch cast. While it follows more of Tracer, the comic goes into just what some of what the games characters were up to, from Winston throwing a dinner party (and no one showing up until Trave and he girlfriend do at the end), McCree and Sombra sharing drinks, Reinhardt and all his grandchildren, Ana and 76 remembering the good’ol days, and Widowmaker making a grave site visit. The story shows the diversity that all humans go through during the holidays and it hits home. Unfortunately what many people focused on was ‘the kiss’ between Tracer and her girlfriend, Emily, that they just introduced (who is not part of the game).
This shouldn’t really be a surprise to fans though. Blizzard has always teased that there are multiple LGBTQ+ characters in Overwatch’s cast. The lore comes out slowly since they did not add a one player story line in the game. However this meaningful and wonderful holiday kiss that Tracer shares with Emily makes her the first of those heroes to be confirmed. During this November’s BlizzCon event, members of the production team confirmed that fans would hear more about the game’s diverse cast. Michael Chu, lead writer, had said, “We definitely haven’t forgotten about what we said. Like we said, it’s very important for us to have diversity and inclusiveness of all types, and that includes LGBT characters. There are definitely LGBT heroes [in Overwatch] — that’s multiple heroes.” Picking Tracer was probably the smartest move that the writers and directors could have taken though.
Tracer is among the most visible of Overwatch’s characters. She’s featured on the game’s cover, constantly shown on posters and merchandize, and is one of the most used DPS characters in the eSports world. She has easily become one of the most popular and lovable heroes, dating to even before its launch in May. The Overwatch fan community has even regularly paired Tracer with other female characters including Zarya, Mei, and even Widowmaker, who is her sworn enemy (according to the in-game story). For Tracer to be picked first in the “we have multiple LGBTQ characters” was a perfect choice if for no other reason that people in the LGBTQ community finally have a main character who is just like them. A character that isn’t ‘stereotypically gay’ or a joke in any way is exactly what the gaming community needs and Blizzard were completely right for picking their most recognizable character.
There are always nay-sayers and obviously people believe this is just fan service. So what if it is? It is a side story that doesn’t impact gameplay in anyway. It’s a wonderful look into the characters that we have come to know and love. Remember Jeff Kaplan was very adamant about “want[ing] *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community”. No matter what, you have no right to take that feeling away from anyone. I for one applaud the Blizzard staff for their choice and can’t wait to see who else they have chosen for this brilliant lore update.
What do you as fans think? Do you think this was a good course of action? Do you completely disagree? Hit us up on Twitter and voice your opinion.
Johnny is full on obsessed with The Cure lately and he’s not sure why. Head on over to his Twitter for some fun ramblings at @SomeBeardy2Love