The newest Overwatch digital comic, entitled Reflections, follows the high-speed holiday adventures of Tracer as she races through the streets of London in search of the perfect gift for her partner. Because yes, as it turns out, Tracer has a partner in Blizzard's official lore, and her partner is a woman.
The comic itself is a fairly straightforward heartwarming tale of what really matters during the most hectic season of all. But the reaction to Tracer's identity has been anything but. Messages decrying Blizzard's "mistake" have cropped up all over the Overwatch forums and other social media, countered by others praising the studio for explicitly stating—in a low-key fashion—that the face of one of the biggest games of the year is gay.
INTERNET: Let Tracer's butt be the way Blizzard wants it's their visionBLIZZARD: Tracer has a girlfriendINTERNET: Tracer can't be gay WTFDecember 20, 2016
The social media storm was predictable—recall the great Butt Controversy of April—but it really shouldn't come as any surprise that Blizzard is taking this kind of matter-of-fact approach to its characters. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime committed at BlizzCon a couple of years ago to creating "more diverse heroes and content" in its games.
It still impresses (and, to be frank, kind of amazes) me to see this much effort put into the supporting fiction of what is, at its heart, a relatively simple online shooter, but that's a big part of why Blizzard enjoys the brain-boggling success that it does. What it does, it does well—and I'd say this is very well done indeed. Now, we await the Junkrat and Roadhog spinoffs.