It was a very merry Blizzmas indeed on Tuesday, December 4, when Blizzard Entertainment confirmed the first LGBTQ character in Overwatch.
Tracer has a female beau.
The revelation came from the official Overwatch Twitter account which linked to a comic titled Reflections. The comic was written by Michael Chu, with art by Miki Montillo and is part of the series of free comics that Blizzard has been publishing alongside Overwatch to bring some backstory and character development to a game that is arguably about people ignoring the payload.
The comic is a short, 12-page story that follows Tracer as she blinks through London attempting to find the perfect Christmas present. After a series of mishaps including some stolen presents and giving up a scarf to someone else who saw it first, Tracer finally returns home to her flat. It’s here that we meet her red-headed girlfriend, Emily, and the two share a kiss after Emily opens Tracer’s gift. The comic concludes with Tracer and Emily meeting Winston at his holiday dinner as he muses about the joys of being around family during the holiday season.
During the BlizzCon event in November, Blizzard teased that there are multiple LGBTQ characters in Overwatch, and many fans have been musing how the game developers would reveal which characters were queer. Some fans hoped that Zarya and Mei would be the first to come out and others hoped for a Brokeback Mountain-esque voice line for McCree.
The announcement takes on an added weight in that Tracer has been the poster child for Overwatch since marketing for the game began. She was featured in several of the short videos that were put online ahead of the game’s release and is on the cover of the game itself. We really shouldn’t be surprised that Tracer was going to be the first queer confirmed character for the 2016 Game of the Year, especially after Blizzard’s announcement.
Queer representation in video games has always been a bit lacking but video game developers have steadily ramped it up in the past decade. One of the most notable queer storylines for video games in the past few years was in “The Last of Us: Left Behind” DLC when Ellie, one of the main characters of “The Last of Us,” shared a kiss with her best friend, Riley.
While some people have argued that adding in queerness to a game that arguably has no plot other than to shoot people would be empty tokenism, this is still an exciting revelation for fans of the game. With an already diverse cast of characters, adding queer representation feels natural to a world that has already shown itself to be focused on peoples of all races, genders, and orientations that make up a global community.
There was no indication of how Tracer identifies, but we all can rejoice at Blizzard following through on its promise for a little more representation in its video game world.
I hope that we’ll get a cool Pride-themed skin now. I can just see Tracer blinking across the bridge at Watchpoint: Gibraltar and leaving a trail of rainbows.