Blizzard, makers of World of Warcraft and Starcraft, are about to release another big video game franchise with Overwatch. The game has a lot of publicity such as a new trailer, but here has been some complaints about a certain victory pose of a character named Tracer. This is what is known about Blizzard's Overwatch release date as well as their special editions of the game with news of why the company took down a picture of Tracer.
According to The Guardian, Blizzard altered a sequence in Overwatch after fans complained that it needlessly sexualized a female character. The issue in question was a character named Tracer that strikes a victory pose in which her posterior is proactively directed toward the camera. This has now been taken down due to fan backlash.
It is interesting that even though the game is not released yet, several fans saw that the pose Tracer struck was inconsistent to her established character from the game's current publicity. Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan then responded to the complaints, saying that the pose was an error. Kaplan responded: "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."
Some have criticized Kaplan's move, saying that Blizzard is helping with censorship. However, a lot of video games have featured highly sexualized women as characters, in poses that are more provocative than empowering. Specifically games from Japan have a history of altering content for westernized versions of their games, like with the altering of a female character for Nintendo's Xenoblade Chronicle X.
Kaplan has stated that Blizzard wasn't happy with the original pose, and "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."
It is a good sign when fans are starting to complain about hypersexualized female characters in a game, and it shows that video games are not made for sexual power fantasies. There is another complaint about Overwatch as WCCF Tech says that there is a petition to remove guns from the game. Considering that guns are part of the gameplay of Overwatch (and most video games), that could be a tall order for Blizzard.
Overwatch is planned for a release on May 24, 2016 on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is available for pre-purchase on the Overwatch site, with the basic edition with pre-purchase bonuses like a Noire Skin for Widowmaker and early access to the Overwatch Open Beta, 21 heroes, and some Iconic environments like King's Row in London, the Temple of Anubis, and more for $39.99. The Overwatch Origins Edition comes with the same but includes some in-game goodies as well as 5 Origin Skins including Overgrown Bastion, Security Chief Pharah, Strike-Commander Morrison, Blackwatch Reyes, and Slipstream Tracer. This is priced at $59.99.