Blizz's backdown on Tracer image - another divided community
For those of you who are unaware, representations of women is in the Blizzard focus again and this time it's Tracer's finishing pose. This is the offending picture:
Fipps wrote on the forums:
What about this pose has anything to do with the character you're 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.Jeff Kaplan responded in the forums:
We aren't looking at a widowmaker pose here, this isn't a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality. This pose says to the player base, oh we've got all these cool diverse characters, but at any moment we are willing to reduce them to sex symbols to help boost our investment game.
"I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the Recall trailer again. She knows who Tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters. What I'm asking is that as you continue to add to the Overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You've been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you've already done.”
We'll replace the pose. 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.There is a lot of division over this decision. People criticised Blizz for pandering to the minority and that feminists are making everyone as miserable as them. Others applauded the decision.
Crooked linked me this on the forums by @mahoumelonball who felt that as a woman, she felt there was nothing wrong with Tracer's pose:
Today, I feel like I was told that I have to give up confident and sexy poses to cater to a small minority, very annoying voice in the gaming industry.
I'm quite frankly sick of it.
I love being a sexy night elf character. I love being Tracer. I love being Nova. I LOVE these strong women that can be confident in their abilities and their appearance, because in the real world, I'm none of those things. These games were an escape for me. I channel myself into these characters, because I would give anything to be just like them.
Blizzard, why am I not allowed to be strong and sexy? Why am I not allowed to love these characters as they already are? Why are you alienating not just me, but many other women that love these female characters as they are for a single voice?
I want Tracer to stay how she is. I want her to be strong, confident, and sexy. Please, PLEASE, stop trying to make this game too PC. Stop trying to make women like me out to be sensitive babies that can't handle beautiful women. Stop trying to cater to "families" when this game isn't meant to be played by younger children.So which side of the fence am I on? You may or may not be surprised that I am in favour of changing her pose. And let me tell you why.
I am not against sexy poses but if I wanted blatant sex appeal I would play Widowmaker. She can pose like that and I would have no dramas because that's what I played her for.
I don't play Overwatch yet but if I did play Tracer I imagined get to be more cutesy and cheeky.
Most people would say they wouldn't even notice her pose and they would be ok with it but what do you think Tracer would think of it?
Imagine if someone had a picture of you and it represented you in a way that was out of character for you - like they had taken your head and put it on some porn star's body. Or taken your head and put it on a 200kg person's naked body. Or taken your image and placed you at an anti-homosexual protest. And then go show that too people at your work or your boss. Is that how you would like to be represented?
Tracer is cool and fun and attractive but not in the come hither blatant sexual way. People who play Tracer play her because they don't want to be a sexpot but appeal to the playful child in us all.
Not many people would agree. Most feel as Mahoumelonball did, and that there is too much political correctness going around finding offence where there is none to be found. People use tight yoga pants and leggings as everyday examples of people on the street being sexualised as it's just like how Tracer is represented.
Mahoumelonball is upset because she chooses to be sexy in her game characters. Nobody is saying she can't do this. But Blizzard doesn't want us to play Tracer because she's sexy - she's there to represent fun and optimism.
Nobody can actually force Blizzard to change their artistic license. Yes, as a community we have an input, but unless they were already divided on the issue, it is very unlikely to change.
Jeff Kaplan wrote again on the forums hours after his original post saying this:
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.So according to this Blizz had thought that the pose was out of character and were going to change it. A shame that it had to go down this path for it to happen. If they were set in their minds about Tracer's image, they wouldn't change it. You don't seem them giving back every little thing that players ask for in forums or complain about with classes. People honestly can't believe they changed it because a few people were unhappy about it.
There are a lot of disgruntled people like Mahoumelonball. And there are a lot of criticisms saying that there are many more instances in Overwatch that should be corrected too. However, the heart of this game is to appeal to the diversity of the player. I think that homogenization of the female characters by making them all sexy will take away from the game what it was trying to create. And if people don't want to play Overwatch now because of these changes? Well, that's their loss. Are those hostile and unbending people the ones that I want to play with anyway? I don't know, but I doubt it. I had viewed Overwatch as a game I could play with my husband and kids - yes it says teen, and yes there is violence with guns and killing. But it's something we can all sit together and play on our computers, which are side by side on one giant L desk and help each other. And we can be whatever we want - we can be pretty, we can be a robot or an ape, we can be a male or a female.
As an example, take Streetfighter 2. When it was out in the arcades, I used to like playing Chun Li, because I was a girl, and I was Asian. It was cool that there was something I could identify with. Overwatch is trying to give that choice to everyone. Of course most of us would like to play an attractive or interesting looking character - it is a fantasy after all - but that's our choice. And we HAVE a choice. And it's the same here - you can choose to accept the changes, or choose to be upset about them. You can choose to play or choose not to play. Blizzard chooses to change the Tracer image. The freedom of choice is something that people forget is not something we are entitled to, but something EVERYONE is entitled to. How you use your choices, express them and engage others with your choices, demonstrates the kind of person that you really are. Because anyone can make a choice or voice an opinion. But not everyone can be empathetic and be objective and look at all points of view. Be the better person, and put the anger and indignation away. If you wish to make a difference, use calm, logic, examples and think how you can please yourself and others.
Phew. I think that's enough for one day.