Blizzard has been feeling the heat this week after Overwatch was embroiled in more scandal of a sexual nature. But this time it wasn't the existence of another masturbation gag; it was a booty that would bring shame raining down upon the legendary devs.
After complaints from an Overwatch player, Blizzard will be removing one of Tracer's victory poses — one that just so happens to be rather butt-centric.
Amid a lineup of some pretty badass female characters — an issue Blizzard sought to amend after admitting its oversexualization of female characters — one Overwatch player named Fipps called the devs out on why this pose couldn't be any further away from the company's new core ideals:
"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.
"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."
All in all, Fipps most definitely has a point, and after much discussion on Blizzard's forum, the devs agreed and removed the victory pose, because it undermines their core ethos. Which was a move that, naturally, earned itself even more heat, ranging from the extreme:
"You should feel shame for giving into SJW's [social justice warriors]," said user Frostrot. "They are not your majority user base, in fact they most likely do not even play the game and just creep in here to QQ at things to push their psychopath agenda, they are nothing more than cultists ignore them."
To the more "meh":
“It doesn’t seem sexual to me,” said user Threads. “I do see where the person is coming from though. The way I interpret her stance is a cutesy little arrogant ‘Yup, gotta!’ as she looks over her shoulder at the people she just dominated. The buttcheeks that are evident are simply because of her outfit. And she IS a woman so like... what do we do, remove the buttcheeks? XD I think it’s in character.”
Squats Game: Vicious
After reaching 35 pages (at the time of writing) of discussion, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan addressed growing concerns with a pretty damn thorough letter:
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.
At the end of the day, a game that is supposed to be a watered-down, inclusionary, fun for all the family, carnival of characters that seeks to empower and fit everybody's personalities and play styles, does feel a bit off, having a character who is sold as fun and scrappy displaying herself in a fairly seductive manner. That should be left to the Widowmaker, who has the femme fatale trope on lock.
Tracer is super badass, so why focus on this lady badass's ass? There's more to her than that, right? Are any of the slightly comedic male characters showing off their pant bulges in victorious celebration?
But(t), on the other hand, Lord knows there are worse examples of oversexualization in games. Take Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 as an example of what not to do, or even Street Fighter V's crotch shot, butt-slapping action and boob jiggle.
At least Blizzard is willing to admit when wrong, and throw their hands up and say "sorry," while maintaining dignity in the process.