Blizzard does digital comics for Overwatch, and for the most part I don't pay much attention to them - but the comic they put out today is about Tracer, whom you may know I'm more than a little fond of. It's a very sweet little comic! Tracer is blitzing around town, desperate to hit the shops in time for Christmas - but willing to burn out the last of her Super-Time-Power gauge to save a passerby's Christmas presents from an evil present thief! For Tracer is good and sweet and a hero to all!
She's unable to buy the gift she's looking for but she's also so good and sweet and heroic that someone gifts her a present that earns a kiss from Emily, Tracer's girlfriend.
The comic then goes on to give a panel to most of Overwatch's roster, and what they're up to at Christmas. I found it pretty touching.
- Widowmaker has left a rose on Gérard's grave - her husband, whom she assassinated after she was brainwashed by Talon.
- Note the feather in Genji's hand as he writes a letter in the top panel.
- Now, note the feather in Mercy's hand as she reads a letter. eMerGengy confirmed.
- Why is Sombra hanging out with McCree?
- Who's Pharah with? Pharmercy officially dead. Is this a graverobbing romance, or her mysterious father?
- Who is the family that Reaper's stalking? Are they the family that Overwatch denied him when Mercy turned him into Reaper? How tragic!
- Reinhardt is reading to all those kids with Birgit, the young lady he heroes around with.
- The official Overwatch Twitter advises that all the children are Torbjorn's.
- They also confirm that Tracer is gay, not bi. So to recap,
- Torbjorn has enjoyed and will continue to enjoy mad action.
- Overwatch's cover girl is gay.
A collection of LGBT writers via Kotaku have already weighed in on the reveal, and they're less-than-impressed. I myself have noted (on the podcast) that when female heroes or player-characters have love interests in games, they're almost-uniformly gay, so as not to make cis males uncomfortable with the relationship - which feels... a little cowardly.
That said, I like this. I like that the poster child for what is almost-inarguably the most important, popular and successful video game of 2016 is (1) a woman and (2) gay, mostly because I feel the over-representation of males (specifically straight and almost always white males) in gaming is problematic. Representation is important to defeat the still horrifically-popular concept that anyone - a race, a gender, a sexual identity - is other, and not a fellow human being, as worthy of compassion as those you hold most dear, and I frankly like how this was handled. The first feelings Tracer expresses, here, about her relationship are common, and relateable to anyone - buzzing over getting that perfect gift for Christmas. It doesn't feel pander-y - it feels like a natural fit for Tracer, and is presented casually. Their moment of Christmassy affection is immediately followed by the montage of love in a variety of forms.
I don't know how they could've handled this in a better way - but as a straight white dude, I imagine it's not really my place to say. Overwatch's characters have a ton of character, but we rarely get a glimpse of their lives when they're not saving the world or being superpowered villains. I haven't read the other comics, but this is the only one I've seen that mentions their home lives at all, and its centerpiece is Tracer and Emily, and the family they form with Winston on Christmas.
If you dislike this, I'm prepared to call you an asshole. Lonely hyperintelligent moon monkey spends Christmas with his girl-out-of-time best friend and her sweetheart. Everyone who likes Tracer (and Winston) likes this.