Blizzard’s first original IP in almost 20 years, the multiplayer FPS Overwatch (one of our '10 most anticipated games of 2016'), is scheduled to be released on May 24. Those who have taken part in the game’s closed beta have reported good things, but one fan wasn't happy about a certain hero’s victory pose, which they say “undermines” Blizzard’s commitment to creating strong female characters.
Following the complaint on the Battle.net forums, Blizzard says it will remove the “over-the-shoulder” victory pose (above) used by Tracer. In a recent post, forum member Fipps said it turns the character into “another bland female sex symbol.”
"It's not fun, its[sic] not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer,” Fipps posted.“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.”
Fipps’ argument isn’t really that the pose is overtly-sexualized, more that it doesn’t fit in with Tracer’s character. The user has no problems with similar victory poses from other heroes, such as Widowmaker and D.va, as they are more in keeping with the characters.
“My main complaint is that there is no facet of Tracer's silly/spunky/kind personality in the pose. It's just a generic butt shot. I don't see how that's positive for the game,” Fipps wrote. “If you look at D.va's laying around pose, it's got some sexual undertones as well, but it at least still preserves some of her existing characterization.”
A few days after the thread started, Overwatch’s game director, Jeff Kaplan, posted that he agreed with Fipps’ views and Tracer’s victory pose would be taken out. He added that the decision wasn’t a difficult one as the team had been debating its removal even before the incident.
"That pose [which] 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."
Removing Tracer’s pose hasn’t gone down well with a lot of people, as you can imagine, though it must be pointed out that quite a few statements supporting the decision have appeared in the thread.
"We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that's okay," said Kaplan. "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."