Blizzard will be changing one of the poses of the character Tracer from their upcoming game Overwatch following complaints that the pose “reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.”
It began with a post to the Overwatch Battle.net forums from a user named Fipps. They began by praising the development team for their cast of female heroes, calling them “diverse, interesting, and compelling,” and complimenting the wide variety of personalities.
Fipps then brought up one of the female characters called Tracer. Fipps said “From a marketing standpoint, she’s the star of the show,” and from the way Tracer is portrayed in promotional material, Fipps gathered that she is “Fast, Silly, Kind, a good friend,” and “Her body seems to be composed of 95% spunk.”
This is where the criticism comes into play. Fipps praised the “cool skins”, “fun poses”, and “amazing victory animations” of Tracer, saying it “reinforces the great character you’ve built.” Fipps complaint is over this victory pose, stating “It’s not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer.”
After the initial post, things remain relatively civil in terms of the discussion that follows. Some users were mentioning the pose “seems pretty reflective of a lot of what’s out there in the World today,” and “A lot of characters in the game have over the shoulder poses that show off backside.”
Around 11 pages into the thread, Overwatches game director Jeff Kaplan showed up and made a short post about the situation before locking the thread.
“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.”
Once the thread was locked, the community went nuclear. Over on the Overwatch subreddit, users called for a petition to keep the pose in game, calling the Battle.net thread “a complete joke and Jeff is wrong in succumbing with such a ridiculous opinion.” In the Games subreddit, in a post with currently over 2700 comments, users were questioning how the pose was in anyway sexual why this is such a big deal in the first place.
Some time later, Jeff made this post and re-opened the thread for discussion.
“Well, that escalated quickly…
While I stand by my previous comment, I realize I should have been more clear. As the game director, I have final creative say over what does or does not go into the game. With this particular decision, it was an easy one to make—not just for me, but for the art team as well. We actually already have an alternate pose that we love and we feel speaks more to the character of Tracer. We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively. That the pose had been called into question from an appropriateness standpoint by players in our community did help influence our decision—getting that kind of feedback is part of the reason we’re holding a closed beta test—but it wasn’t the only factor. We made the decision to go with a different pose in part because we shared some of the same concerns, but also because we wanted to create something better.
We wouldn’t do anything to sacrifice our creative vision for Overwatch, and we’re not going to remove something solely because someone may take issue with it. Our goal isn’t to water down or homogenize the world, or the diverse cast of heroes we’ve built within it. We have poured so much of our heart and souls into this game that it would be a travesty for us to do so.
We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay. That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it.
If it isn’t, feel free to continue sharing your concerns, thoughts, and feedback about this and other issues you may have with the game, please just keep the discussion respectful.
(btw, unlocking this thread. please continue the discussion here)”
Since the above post, the thread on Battle.net has now grown to 30 pages, with some users thanking Jeff for clarifying further on the matter, but others still question on why it became an issue in the first place.