Surprise! Tracer is "Overwatch's" first LGBTQ character!
Yesterday, Blizzard Entertainment released another web comic, further developing the back story of characters for the hit game "Overwatch." "Reflections" explores the ways in which the colorful cast of heroes celebrate the holidays, with special attention being paid to the cheeky Brit, Tracer.
The comic showcases the "Overwatch" member blinking throughout the streets of London, frantically searching for a gift. After successfully stopping a robbery, a family graciously offers her a present as a reward. With gift in tow, Tracer retreats back to her home, hoping to unwind after a stressful day.
In the apartment, Tracer is seen conversing with a young woman known as Emily. After opening the present, Emily excitedly exclaims "It's perfect!" before romantically kissing the hero.
Since the reveal, social media platforms and comment sections in articles alike, have been rife with discussion. In fact, Tracer became a trending hashtag on Twitter.
Posts range from acceptance, general disinterest and even outright hatred for the hero's newly revealed sexual identity. With this being such a controversial topic, let's examine the reactions from each group.
For starters, Tracer's sexuality is a statement of equality and support for the LGBTQ community. While not necessarily the main character, Tracer is definitely the mascot for "Overwatch." She is on the cover of the game, players must click on her portrait to enter "Quick Play" and, albeit for a limited time, she is prominently displayed on the main menu in her holiday attire.
Furthermore, her reveal was natural. One panel, showcasing a romantic gesture between two loving adults, was all Blizzard Entertainment utilized to deliver the news. In a world where men of immense size wield gigantic hammers, gorillas have the capability to speak fluent English and cybernetic modifications can drastically alter lives, it's welcoming to humanize these godlike heroes. After all, Tracer has the power to travel through time, so a brief glimpse into her home life allows her to connect with the audience.
Those indifferent about the situation, argue that her sexuality does not define her character. Her abilities, voice lines and general mannerisms in no way, shape, or form hint at her sexual preferences. Her romantic relationship with Emily will not grant a win, nor will it reduce the stress when she continues to successfully harass the back lines of your team.
For these gamers, Tracer is just another pick for a well-rounded team. As long as she can successfully fulfill her role, she will be welcomed with open arms.
Finally, many players argue that homosexuality has no place in a video game. The same-sex relationships of characters is nothing more than an attempt by developers to push the political correctness agenda onto audiences. Those disagreeing with the LGBTQ community feel as if their rights are being pushed aside, especially to cater toward a different group.
Surprisingly, or not surprisingly depending on your thoughts, gamers felt an emotional attachment with the quirky heroine. By introducing her as a member of the LGBTQ community, certain players felt alienated, especially since they can no longer relate with one of their favorite characters.
Homosexuality has been a feature in video games for years. BioWare's "Mass Effect" and "Dragon Age" series have always included homosexual options for character relationships. Lionhead Studios' "Fable" franchise includes LGBTQ choices, with the first "Fable" launching in 2004.
With homosexuality being a longstanding aspect of humanity, with homosexual relationships dating back to ancient times, it should come as no surprise for "Overwatch" to include an LGBTQ character. Blizzard Entertainment plans on revealing more characters in the future, not to alienate gamers, but rather to bring "Overwatch's" world to life. When the time comes, it will be interesting to gain further insight into the lives of these heroes.