Tracer is queer!
Now that I have your attention, Blizzard Entertainment has, rather sweetly, confirmed that Overwatch’s most popular character and face of the game is queer through a new webcomic.
The comic, titled “Reflections,” tells the story of Tracer racing home during the holidays using her chronal powers. Through good deeds and a bit of luck she ends up with a gift for her special someone, who happens to be a woman named Emily, and the two share a tender kiss.
Naturally the internet is losing its mind.
Blizzard’s hero shooter Overwatch is one of the most popular games of the year. The fandom has exploded thanks to Blizzard’s colorful and diverse cast of international heroes and villains. The stories and setting surrounding the multiplayer shooter have been teased through short videos and webcomics.
“Reflections” is written by Michael Chu and drawn by Miki Montillo. It’s the tenth webcomic they’ve done, which typically focus on expanding one hero’s backstory.
A bonus treat is the penultimate panel, which shows a montage of scenes of other Overwatch characters celebrating the holidays in their own ways.
It’s worth nothing that Tracer’s sexuality has zero bearing on the game itself. This isn’t a BioWare RPG love-fest, it’s a multiplayer shooter. The revelation is being treated just as you expect in an increasingly divisive world: disgust, annoyance, support, and love.
No, a video game character’s sexuality shouldn’t warrant its own headline. But reading through comments (which I don’t recommend) you’ll quickly realize why this is a big deal. Gaming in particular often comes under fire for under-representing anything that isn’t the default straight white male. Overwatch has one of the most compelling character designs in years, with a wide range of body types and ethnicities. It’s natural that they would include a range of genders and sexualities.
Blizzard’s Michael Chu has previously confirmed that “they are definitely LGBT heroes” in Overwatch. That’s heroes, meaning multiple. “It’s very important for us to have diversity and inclusiveness of all types, and that includes LGBT characters.”
Here’s an official statement that Blizzard sent Kotaku:
As in real life, having variety in our characters and their identities and backgrounds helps create a richer and deeper overall fictional universe. From the beginning, we’ve wanted the universe of Overwatch to feel welcoming and inclusive, and to reflect the diversity of our players around the world. As with any aspect of our characters’ backgrounds, their sexuality is just one part of what makes our heroes who they are. From the very beginning of our work on Tracer’s story, it just felt right to make this an aspect of her character.