So, let's talk about Overwatch. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, Overwatch is a shooter by Blizzard entertainment with a wide range of playable heroes in offensive, defensive, tank & support roles. All with unique abilities. The game is notable for its variety of heroes as well as for having a surprisingly detailed world and character back stories, in supplementary media. If you are interested in the game but don't give a shit about those details, don't worry. It's all completely optional. 

Quite a while ago Blizzard confirmed that the cast of the game does, indeed, have LGBT characters. This has resulted in a lot of speculation over which ones. Especially given that the vast majority of characters in the game  have nothing within that supplementary material to indicate their sexuality. A lot of people thought that Zarya would be a lesbian, given that she "looks like a butch lesbian stereotype." Mei was also tossed around as an option, probably because a lot of fans think that Mei and Zarya would make a cute couple. Which they would, I  won't lie. Characters like McCree and Lúcio also got their share of guesses. 

Well, Blizzard recently released a  holiday comic and in it we got the first LGBT character of the franchise revealed, and it's not a character anyone expected. It was revealed that Tracer, the quick moving, gun-slinging heroine, is, in fact, in a  relationship with a woman.

So, why was Tracer such an unexpected choice? Well, it's because Blizzard is a big game company, big game companies tend to play it safe and Tracer is the game's poster girl. She's the one on the box art. She's the most recognizable character in the game and, as far as I know, there's never been a AAA game that had an LGBT poster character. There have been games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age or Fire Emblem Fates where you can play the protagonist as LGBT, if you want to. There are also plenty of games with openly LGBT side characters, but I can't think of any other one where the character who is the face of the game is unequivocally LGBT. 

Honestly, I figured it would happen eventually. I figured that some major game company would announce their latest project and make a big deal about the protagonist being an LGBT character in order to drum up interest in the project. Because I'm cynical and don't think much of most companies. I did not expect a company to release a game, give no indication about the characters' sexualities and then, seven months later, just nonchalantly show its poster character in a same sex relationship. Which is, honestly, why it's an awesome move. 

Here's the thing. I wouldn't mind if it had been Zarya. (She may still be. Since they did say there were LGBT characters plural.) But that would have also been the obvious, easy move.  Revealing Tracer as a lesbian was a bold move on their part. Possibly a bit cynical as well, since the unexpected nature of it has generated a lot of attention. That being said, I still find it more than a little refreshing that Blizzard took a chance like that and I am curious about which other characters will be revealed as LGBT. 

Published by Mischa A