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Few video game characters have been the center of so much controversy as Overwatch’s Tracer. Earlier this year, Blizzard altered her "sexual" victory pose after a fan complained about it. Now, the latest Overwatch webcomic has revealed that the character is gay.
The Overwatch holiday comic, titled Reflections, sees Tracer racing through London in an attempt to buy a Christmas present. It’s later revealed that the gift is for her partner, who happens to be a woman. After receiving her scarf, the pair share a kiss. It’s the only part of the short story that addresses Tracer’s sexuality.
Reaction to the news has been mixed. While some have applauded Blizzard’s decision to introduce a gay character and the low-key way it was revealed, many Twitter users and those on Overwatch’s forums haven’t been as welcoming. But there are plenty of other gamers just don’t care.
Way back in 2014, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime promised that the company would introduce “more diverse heroes and content” to its games. And at BlizzCon 2015, Overwatch artistic director Bill Petras confirmed there would be a gay character in the multiplayer shooter; Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment’s senior vice president of creative design and story development, said there would be more than one.
One region that isn’t happy about Tracer being a lesbian is Russia, where “gay propaganda” is illegal. A Twitter user spotted a message on the front of the comic that read: "In accordance with Russian law we cannot share this comic with our players on territory of Russian Federation." Blizzard later confirmed that it was the company’s decision to not release the webcomic in the country.
"Blizzard decided not to publish in Russia to comply with Russian legislation," a studio representative told Eurogamer. "We preemptively decided not to publish given the climate in Russia and Legal feedback."