Blizzard has always been a welcoming and positive company to its audience of gamers. From StarCraft and World of Warcraft to Diablo and Hearthstone, the studio has catered to its massive base of fans, numbering in the millions, with compelling video games that have come to define whole genres, like the MMORPG, action RPG and the RTS.
Its upcoming game Overwatch, which releases later this year, is no exception. It carries the same mark of quality as the studio’s previous endeavors and promises to deliver a first-class team-based FPS experience rivaling, and perhaps surpassing the likes of Team Fortress 2. I’ve praised the game numerous times even in its nascent state, because I’ve personally spent dozens of hours playing it and I’m absolutely confident that it will be good.
Three days ago, a post went up on the Beta Feedback forum written by one of its player beta testers complaining about a completely optional pose used by Tracer, one of the Overwatch’s offense characters. They complained about how the pose flaunted her sexuality and that it needed to be removed because it “reduced” Tracer into “another bland female sex symbol.”
They went on to further state that the pose “undermines so much of the good [Blizzard has] already done.”
Here’s what the pose looks like:
WHAT? What about this pose has anything to do with the character you’re building in tracer? It’s not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.
We aren’t looking at a widowmaker pose here, this isn’t a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality. This pose says to the player base, oh we’ve got all these cool diverse characters, but at any moment we are willing to reduce them to sex symbols to help boost our investment game.
Getting art into a triple A game isn’t a small task, it has to go through an implementer, a team lead, an art director, and a creative director. This is a team effort. And I believe the team is responsible for upholding the great example overwatch can set to the rest of the industry for creating strong female characters.
I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the recall trailer again. She knows who tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters.
What I’m asking is that as you continue to add to the overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You’ve been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you’ve already done.
The post was not very well-received by other gamers, who explained simply that it simply showed Tracer looking over her shoulder. Some expressed their disapproval of the poster’s attempt to impose their personal views onto Blizzard’s artistic direction. Others accused the original poster of being a troll.
We’ll replace the pose. 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.
Apologies and we’ll continue to try to do better.