During the World of Overwatch panel at BlizzCon 2015, it was revealed that the Overwatch roster would feature multiple LGBT characters, and Blizzard hasn’t forgotten that promise.
Last year, according to BlizzardWatch, artistic director Bill Petras stated that there would be a gay character in Overwatch, and Chris Metzen further specified that there would be multiple. At this year’s Overwatch Q&A panel, a fan brought the subject up again, stating, “it was revealed to us last year that one or more of the characters in the Overwatch roster are LGBT, but it was kind of forgotten for the next year or so. So I was wondering if you could tell us anything about your plans to either reveal that existing characters are queer or introduce new queer Overwatch characters.”
This was lead writer Michael Chu’s response (via J Station X):
“We definitely haven’t forgotten about what we said. Like we said, it’s very important for us to have diversity and inclusiveness of all types and that includes LGBT characters. There are definitely LGBT heroes – that’s multiple heroes – it’s a decision that we make when we’re developing these characters early on.
We do feel strongly that we want these stories about character’s relationships – not just romantic, but familial relationships and stuff like that – come out in the course of stories that we feel really do them justice. So, because of some of the stories we’ve done so far we haven’t had a chance to shine any light on that.
But that said, I can say that we do have a story coming up soon – and that’s not ‘Blizzard(tm) soon,’ it’s actually soon – that will address this. And just to reiterate, it is absolutely something that’s important to us.”
You can watch the full BlizzCon 2016 Overwatch Q&A panel here.
His statement seems to be referring to a character on the existing roster; considering the drawn-out Sombra reveal, it’s unlikely that they’ll announce a new character anytime soon. Naturally, there has been much speculation over the past year as to which character(s) might be LGBT, with several fan favorites emerging, such as Zarya. While this may be the case, we feel that speculating without confirmation will only serve to perpetuate stereotypes. So, we’ll just have to wait and see; presumably, as new Overwatch story typically does, the information will come in the form of an animated short.
Some may not even pay attention to the Overwatch story – even if you don’t, it’s still ridiculously fun – but the shorts are pretty entertaining, and it’s cool to see interactions among the incredibly varied cast of characters outside of their in-game dialogue. Some players, like myself, enjoy the added context for their favorite characters, and it’s only natural to have at least one character among the motley crew be representative of the LGBTQ community. Representation is important, so we applaud Blizzard’s commitment to diversity, however imperfect, and are interested to see what they have in store.