Overwatch's Strong Female Heroes and that one Tracer Pose
So I wanted to start off by saying, I think the development team has done a pretty great job with the cast of female hero's in Overwatch. They are diverse, interesting, and compelling. From Mei to Zarya to Widowmaker the female cast reflects a large spectrum of personalities and player fantasies.
With that being said, lets talk about Tracer. From a marketing standpoint, she's the star of the show. She's a great hero. When we look at the way she's portrayed in promotional media, lore, and art in game we know a few things about her..
She's a good Friend.
Her body seems to be comprised of about 95% spunk.
Almost all of her art reflects this. She's got cool skins and fun poses:
She's got amazing victory animations.
All of this art reinforces the great character you've built around tracer.
Then out of seemingly no where we have this pose:
WHAT? 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.
Getting art into a triple A game isn't a small task, it has to go through an implementer, a team lead, an art director, and a creative director. This is a team effort. And I believe the team is responsible for upholding the great example overwatch can set to the rest of the industry for creating strong female characters.
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.
Response from Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s Game Director
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.
Update: Kaplan recently posted a follow-up, elucidating on the team's decision to replace the animation.