Blizzard claims the character design in its newly-announced multiplayer shooter Overwatch is supposed to reflect the diversity of today’s gaming audience.
The cast, unveiled alongside the game at this year’s BlizzCon, features male and female characters of various ethnicities, as well as non-gender characters such as robots and gorillas.
Polygon reports that this has been designed in a way that should make all players feel "equally represented".
"We’ve heard [from] our female employees and… even my daughter tools me out about it," said Blizzard’s Chris Metzen. "We were looking at old Warcraft stuff on Youtube, a cinematic… and my daughter is like ‘why are they all in swimsuits?’. And I’m like ‘ugh, I don’t know, honey’.
"I think we’re clearly in an age where gaming is for everybody. We build games for everybody. We want everyone to come and play. Increasingly, people want to feel represented, from all walks of life, boys and girls, everybody. We feel indebted to do our best to honour that.
"There’s a lot of room for growth, but specifically with Overwatch, over the past year we’ve been very cognisant of… trying not to over-sexualise the female characters. I don’t know that we’ve over-sexualised the male characters. But it’s something we’re very sensitive to."
Diversity in playable characters has been something of a hot topic this year, particularly in the summer when publisher Ubisoft was heavily criticised for its decision not to feature female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Last month, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami also spoke out about female character design, claiming he will never ‘portray women as objects or submissive’.