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Blizzard Brings More LGBTQ+ Representation with New OVERWATCH Backstory

Blizzard Brings More LGBTQ+ Representation with New OVERWATCH Backstory

Over the years, Blizzard has fed us the details of Overwatch’s history through video clips, comics, and short stories. Though these vignettes, we’ve learned a lot about the different characters and their relationships to each other. Released just last week, Blizzard’s latest short story, Bastet, explores a bit of Ana and Soldier 76’s past as part of the release for Ana’s new skin. What first reads like the opening to a typical action-movie romance, with the classic tropes of “After Action Patch Up” where good ol’ Jack (76) gets shot and needs to be tended to by his friend Ana and “Workout Fan Service” where Ana walks in on him doing shirtless push-ups, quickly takes a turn for the platonic as Ana finds Jack going through some old photos.

soldier761

The first photo hearkens back to happier time, with Ana, Jack, and Gabriel just after a major battle together. This was before things went south with Overwatch as an organization and before Gabriel became the beshadowed mercenary known as “Reaper.” The second reveals to us that Jack once had a relationship with a handsome, dark-haired man named Vincent. As Ana and Jack reminisce, we can see that Jack’s feelings haven’t really diminished, despite choosing Overwatch over his old flame:

Jack laughed. “He got married. They’re very happy. I’m happy for him.” Ana was unconvinced. In the early days, Jack talked about him often, floating a dream that the war would end quickly, and maybe he’d have a chance to return to a normal life. But a normal life was never the reward for people like us. “Vincent deserved a happier life than the one I could give him.” Jack sighed. “We both knew that I could never put anything above my duty. Everything I fought for was to protect people like him… That’s the sacrifice I made.”

While it’s only a quick moment in a side story for a game where narrative and gameplay rarely (if ever) intersect, it’s still great to see Blizzard publicly acknowledging another LGBTQ+ character in their roster. Two years previously, they revealed Tracer’s girlfriend in a comic for the holidays and, with both Tracer and Soldier 76, these relationships are treated with respect; their stories adding to the ever-growing diversity in Overwatch. These details reflect the industry’s slow, but ever-advancing shift towards more inclusivity, steps I consider to be headed in the right direction.

last of us

I’ve seen strides towards this in other games, such as Mass Effect, where players could have relationships with a wide variety of characters of differing orientations (and some seriously hot aliens) as well as the Assassin’s Creed series, which has a long history of gay and trans characters. Naughty Dog’s upcoming Last of Us 2 is paving the way for LGTBQ+ characters as headliners, as it stars Ellie, the first openly lesbian protagonist in a triple-A title. Life is Strange: Before the Storm let us explore the butterflies of fear and excitement through Chloe’s relationship with Rachel. Two years ago, Game Grumps’s gay dating simulator, Dream Daddy, was a smash hit; delighting fans with its genuine relationships that were packed with humor, but never played for laughs. These are just a few of the games which have made it a point to include a wider set of sexualities in their casts, to better reflect the diversity in our community.

dream daddy
While we still have a long way to go before acceptance is commonplace, titles like these give the LGBTQ community voices in games and give more and more people the chance to see themselves reflected in their chosen form of entertainment. It’s important to be able to find characters you relate to and I am hopeful that we will see more games making the push to represent the diversity of the gaming community.

Which other games do you think treat LGTBQ characters with respect? Let us know in the comments below!

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Image Credits: Blizzard, Naughty Dog, Game Grumps

Hailing from New York, Jessica Fisher is a writer, artist, and all around geek. In addition to Geek & Sundry, she writes for Gameosity.com and produces the Gameosity Reviews Youtube Channel. Find her talking about all things geeky on Twitter as @miniktty.

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