Blizzard Responds to ‘Overwatch’ Butt Controversy

A collection of people with far too much time on their hands continue to bleat on about the removal of a pose in Overwatch, with Tracer’s ‘Over the Shoulder’ pose having become a major point of contention after Blizzard decided to axe it from their game.

The validity of the pose was brought into question in a post on the official Overwatch forums, with a few users discussing how they felt it didn’t fall in line with Tracer’s personality. Discussing the pose, which was said to “sexualize” the female character, one user wrote: “What about this pose has anything to do with the character you [Blizzard] are building in tracer? It’s not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.” The game’s director Jeff Kaplan personally responded to the post, saying that Blizzard would replace it, before adding: “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. Apologies and we’ll continue to try to do better.”

But Kaplan’s response raised the ire of the Overwatch community, with a thread on the game’s r/Overwatch subreddit attracting over 1,700 comments discussing the change. Now Kaplan has been forced to address this peculiar controversy in another post, stating that Blizzard would stand by their decision to remove the pose but elaborating upon their reasoning behind it. Kaplan wrote: 

“Well, that escalated quickly…

While I stand by my previous comment, I realize I should have been more clear. As the game director, I have final creative say over what does or does not go into the game. With this particular decision, it was an easy one to make—not just for me, but for the art team as well. We actually already have an alternate pose that we love and we feel speaks more to the character of Tracer. 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.

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 homogenize 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.”

It’s not yet known whether the industry will be able to move past this latest butt-troversy, but for the sake of our children’s future, we hope so.