Gamers who are playing the Overwatch beta seem to be taking to well for the most part. However, it appears that some individuals have starting to take issue with some of the victory poses of the female characters such as Widowmaker and specifically Tracer. Tracer is a plucky yet sassy adventurer hero who hails from London with time-jumping powers and akimbo pulse pistols. She is a solid ex-member of the Overwatch crew with many outfits and victory poses for players to customize their particular online personas. It is the poses that some are taking issue with, arguing that they overly sexualize Tracer and go against her nature. The one pose drawing the negative reception is called “Over the shoulder,” shown below:
Here is one such complaint from Fipps on the Overwatch forums:
“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.”
While there has been an overwhelming response to this grievance in both agreement and dissent, this has not stopped Blizzard from making the ultimate decision to alter Tracer’s poses to avoid anymore related flack. Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan responded by stating:
“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.”
It is interesting to see that, in a game that features gun-based action and violence (albeit mild), it is a fully clothed character model looking over her shoulder that has people up in arms. The sad thing is that the pose is actually pretty tame and does not necessarily paint Tracer in a bad light. Nonetheless, Blizzard will be making to appropriate alterations to make sure nobody has another excuse to making anymore such criticisms. Hopefully, this does not affect Overwatch’s continued development.