Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu explains how the game’s development team is inspired by diversity. Chu also notes how “excited” the team was to release the new Overwatch comic that reveals that Tracer is gay.
Since release, Overwatch has been praised highly for the diversity of its characters as the game stars people of various ethnicities, ages and body sizes.
Overwatch Lead Writer Michael Chu on Diversity
During GameSpot‘s Best of 2016 livestream, Chu explained that “I think what we were really inspired by was all the diversity in our world,” including “different cultures, history, the different pop-cultures that are in different places, like anime and manga, movies and comic books – we wanted to take inspiration from all these things.”
Chu also added that diversity is “something we focus on” and that the new Overwatch comic allowed the team to “shed a little bit of light on some of those things.”
The writer also explained that “what we were really excited about in this comic is we don’t often get a chance to see the personal lives of the characters” and that “when we were talking about what a holiday comic could be, we thought this was a really great opportunity to see those characters away from the battlefield and see their friends, families and loved-ones. Just see them in a slightly different setting.”
However although many appreciate developer Blizzard’s commitment to diversity – and will no doubt appreciate Chu’s explanation – there have been concerns that the game hasn’t always treated its diverse inspirations with care.
Blizzard recently weighed in on the Overwatch cultural appropriation issue as some players had expressed concerns that some of the skins in the game (such as Pharah’s Raindancer and Thunderbird skins) were offensive and disrespectful to the cultures they’re based on.
In the recent year in review video, game director Jeff Kaplan said that the team is working on two new Overwatch characters. Although it’s currently unclear exactly when (or if) these characters will be released, many will be hoping that Blizzard avoids making any (potentially) culturally offensive missteps with these characters and that the developer’s positive attitude to diversity continues to be shown.