Overwatch features characters with body types and backgrounds that are not often seen in pop culture, let alone first person shooters. For many of us who rarely see ourselves reflected in media, this cast can seem radical and even life-changing—especially in my case. Zarya, Overwatch’s Russian strong-woman tank,…
Last week, footage of two women fighting in Overwatch went viral.“You’re one of the worst Mercys I’ve ever played with,” one told her team’s Mercy player. “Me? You’re the Mercy who’s rezzing one person and feel like they’re really good,” the second player, Bailee, shot back.
According to Overwatch lore, D.va is a pro gamer who serves and inspires her country. In real life, D.va’s role is starting to mirror her in-game persona, as she becomes a symbol of hope for women in South Korea.
Since release, Overwatch has spawned reams of fan-created content, which is unusual for a game that has no single-player story mode. A sizable portion of this content centers specifically around the women characters, who are, in the fandom’s eyes, all totally dating and kissing each other.
If Overwatch fan culture is anything to go by, there’s only one thing people want to see Overwatch characters do more than fight: date. That’s where fan games come in. But with lawyers hiding in bushes and trees, waiting to spring their DMCA traps, making video game characters kiss ain’t easy.
Lots of Overwatch fans read the game’s proud, pink-haired Russian lady soldier Zarya as gay. While perhaps not a huge deal on its own, that interpretation conflicts with homophobic views widely held in Russia and backed by the state, forcing Russian Overwatch players to reconcile two clashing interpretations of a…