A female character pose in Blizzard’s shooter Overwatch that sparked criticism from players is to be patched out of the game.
Tracer’s ‘over the shoulder’ taunt was pointed out by forum user Fipps as putting a lot of unnecessary emphasis on the character’s backside – something that they argued was against the 26-year-old’s personality.
“What about this pose has anything to do with the character you’re building in Tracer?" asked Fipps. “This isn’t a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality.
"It’s not fun, it’s not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces Tracer to another bland female sex symbol."
The observations sparked a heated debate over whether or not the pose was inappropriate, with some players against Fipps’ original criticism retorting that because Tracer is a fictional character, her potential sexualisation isn’t a problem.
Eventually, the game’s director Jeff Kaplan dived in to reveal that the pose would be replaced in order to avoid isolating any part of the community – and added that the dev team itself had questioned the inclusion of it in the game.
“The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated, or misrepresented,” he replied.
“We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively. That 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."
Pre-empting the inevitable backlash from those that might cry ‘censorship’ in response to the change, Kaplan offered a rebuttal.
“We wouldn’t do anything to sacrifice our creative vision for Overwatch, and we’re not going to remove something solely because someone may take issue with it. Our goal isn’t to water down or homogenise the world, or the diverse cast of heroes we’ve built within it. We have poured so much of our heart and souls into this game that it would be a travesty for us to do so.
"We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay. That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it."