Let’s Talk: Blizzard removes Tracer pose
Earlier this week Blizzard announced they removed a seemingly sexual victory pose by Overwatch’s Tracer, however, people are wondering is it political correctness gone mad or just a change in decision?
As news of the removal of Tracer’s “over-the-shoulder” pose, which had the character turn her back to the player and look over her shoulder, had many people annoyed, with some decrying the move as political correctness and an attempt to remove sexualised imagery from the game, but was the posed really sexualised?
Well, full discloser I haven’t played Overwatch yet, but looking at the images of the pose I can see why some people might object to it. Personally, I’m in two minds, on one hand I can see why people might see it as a sexualised pose considering the character is wearing rather tight fitting clothes, but on the other hand, other developers have done far worse when it comes to sexualising female characters in video games, for example, the Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball series or numerous JRPGs such as the Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise. Frankly when it comes to sexualized imagery in video games I honestly couldn’t care less, for example when I played through Senran Kagura Estival Versus it hardly bothered me that I was being bombarded with sexual imagery.
Maybe it is just me, but the fact that Blizzard removed a pose due to apparent criticism of how it is oddly timed to say the least, to quote the original post in the thread that started this ruckus, the pose “reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol”. Now I used the word apparent for a very specific reason as Overwatch Game Director, Jeff Kaplan did write a post explaining why the pose was removed. Kaplan’s post stated that the pose wasn’t removed due to the backlash, but because and I quote “We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively.” It seems that the developers were always in two minds on whether the pose should stay or go, and, in the end, they decided to remove and replace it, now whether or not the thread swayed the developers decision can’t be 100% known, but Kaplan did state that player feedback was a factor, “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.”
Jeff Kaplan’s statement, which you can read in full by clicking here, also reminds us of something important, games in-development are always subject to change as pieces are always added or removed. So, in the end, is the removal of Tracer’s over-the-shoulder pose political correctness gone mad or a simple decision change? Looking at the facts as presented by Blizzard the move to replace the pose was down due to an internal decision with player feedback take on board, but with anything that includes the removal of “sexual imagery” there will also be those who say that outside sources forced Blizzard to make the change.
Image Source: Rock Paper Shotgun
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.