Blizzard on representation in games: “We build games for everybody”

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During a press presentation for Overwatch at BlizzCon on Friday in Anaheim, California, Blizzard Senior Vice President Chris Metzen addressed whether the representation of women factored into Blizzard’s thinking when it was designing Overwatch’s characters, five of which are women (and one is a gorilla).

A press conference attendee asked: “There’s been a lot of conversation about female representation in gaming in the past couple years, I suppose. And I was wondering if that entered your thinking when you were designing [Overwatch] and the characters.”

“Totally,” Metzen began. “Absolutely. Our female and employees and… even my daughter calls me out… We were looking at old Warcraft stuff on YouTube, a cinematic the dragon aspects and my daughter’s like, ‘Why are they all in swimsuits?’ And I’m like, ‘Ugh, I don’t know, honey.’

“But I think we’re clear that we’re in an age where gaming is for everybody,” Metzen continued. “We build games for everybody. We want everyone to come and play. And increasingly in the world like people want to feel represented. People from all walks of life, from everywhere in the world. Boys and girls, everybody. And you know, we feel indebted to do our best to honor that. There’s a lot of room for growth, but specifically with Overwatch over the past year we’ve been very cognizant of that, like, trying not to oversexualize the female characters. I don’t know that we oversexualize the male characters. But it’s something we’re very sensitive to. We want that to be part of who we are, of what our brand looks like and appears to our community. I think Mike [Morhaime] talked in a roundabout way to that in his speech this morning. So it’s something we’re very cognizant of. We want girls to feel kick-butt and equally represented.”

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.