As you may have heard, Blizzard has been mired in controversy for the past week. Over a video game butt. I touched on this in a recent article, but in case you didn’t read that, here’s the recap.
Last week, a fan posted a message on Blizzard’s forums, objecting in a fairly thoughtful way to a victory pose being struck by Tracer, one of the female characters in Blizzard’s new multiplayer shooter Overwatch. Here’s the pose in question.
Eventually, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan responded with a short message, saying Blizzard would remove the pose. In response some fans expressed reasonable concerns about the artistic integrity of Blizzard and Overwatch. Was the game being altered over a single complaint as Kaplan’s short message seemed to suggest? Of course, this legitimate fan concern was soon hijacked by the Internet’s trolls and malcontents, and suddenly this minor edit was a full-scale scandal.
Kaplan would later post a much more detailed response, saying Blizzard had already been planning to remove the disputed pose, as they felt it didn’t speak to Tracer’s happy-go-lucky personality. Unfortunately, by this point the controversy ball was already rolling, and wasn’t about to be stopped by facts or reason. This was about PC culture stealing our polygonal butts, dammit! Rarrgh, arrgh, blargh!
Well, last night Blizzard quietly updated the Overwatch beta, removing Tracer’s old pose. Here’s the replacement…
It’s certainly more upbeat than the original pose. It’s also every bit as, er, cheeky. In fact, fans have quickly identified the new pose as a direct copy of a classic piece of pin-up art.
So yeah, turns out Blizzard wasn’t deceiving anybody. It really was more about characterization than any specific body parts. Will this deflate the controversy? Probably not, no argument truly dies on the Internet, but Blizzard seems to be sending a clear message with this new playful pose. This isn’t a big deal, take a breath, chill out. Hopefully at least a few people take their advice.