Overwatch is the break out game of 2016. Blizzard Entertainment’s hero-based first-person shooter has been an absolute critical darling for its sharp gameplay, fantastic art direction, and some truly expressive and creative character designs. It has also confirmed that one of its major characters is a proud member of the LGBT community.
The reveal happened on the game’s official web site. In the brand new web comic titled “Reflections,” the story revolves around the various characters dealing with the holidays. At first the comic seems simple enough. Most of the cast gets at least one panel to show how they handle the holidays like the elderly Reinhardt reading to some children or the cybernetic cowboy Jesse McCree hitting the bar. But the main story involves the most popular character Tracer dashing around London looking for the perfect gift for her special someone. The plot wraps up with her dashing home, getting just the right gift, receiving a tender kiss with her girlfriend and housemate before sharing Christmas dinner with an intelligent gorilla from the moon (it’s a superhero setting just roll with it). Yes, the exact same hero that is on the box art of Overwatch is now out and proud as a lesbian.
As far as representation goes, this is fantastic. There have been several LGBT characters in games before, Kanji Tatsumi and Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4 comes to mind, but none with as high a profile as Tracer. It is also a genuine act of showing a new facet of a character with no elements of tokenism to it. Outside of the panel where the couple kiss, there’s just another panel of the two having dinner with a thought bubble by Tracer stating how good it is to be with family on the holidays. The exact kind of elegant storytelling that Blizzard has injected into all of its comics and animated shorts with their Overwatch characters.
So there it is. A major video game in 2016 beloved by millions of players has its mascot character revealed as gay during the holidays. What a gift, Blizzard, bravo.