A new Overwatch skin causes controversy by making female character Mei’s waist seem slimmer. In response to concerns raised by fans, Blizzard says that Mei’s slim waist is actually the result of a bug.
This is not the first time that Overwatch characters and character skins have seen backlash, as a Tracer victory pose drew ire, while accusations of cultural appropriation have also been levelled at the game.
Overwatch Skin Makes Mei Look Slimmer
Concerns arose after the Overwatch Year of the Rooster event kicked off yesterday. The timed event, which was introduced to celebrate the Lunar New Year, introduces several new pieces of lot for players to collect, including new player icons, sprays and skins for several characters.
Players say that Mei’s Year of the Rooster skins (Luna and Chang’e) make the character look slimmer, comparing the skin to her ‘classic’ look in which she looks noticeably bigger. However, despite fears that developer Blizzard Entertainment has chosen to slim down the character, it says that Mei’s slimmer waist is actually the result of a bug.
Writing on the game’s official forum, Blizzard community manager Stephanie “Lylirra” Johnson clarifies that:
There’s a bug with Mei’s Luna and Chang’e skins right now that’s causing her waist to appear much smaller than normal. We’ve already fixed the bug internally, but it’s going to require a patch to implement (ideally it’ll be included in whatever next patch hits your gaming platform).
even more evidence: with the waist bug in effect, mei’s “hands on hips” pose doesn’t reach her hips pic.twitter.com/lynVfdlq9a
— Hi,it’sSupercar (@itsSupercar) January 25, 2017
The fact that Mei’s new look is the result of a bug is further proven, say fans, by the fact that her hands don’t reach her hips in the skin selection screen. The image in the tweet above seems to suggest that the Mei skins were designed to look bigger but because of a glitch, it doesn’t show up like that in the game.
Overwatch is a game that has been heavily praised for its diversity and its inclusivity in terms of body type, ethnicity and sexuality (Overwatch character Tracer, is gay, for example) and Mei is one of few female characters in games to not be especially slim. So it’s understandable that fans were quick to voice their frustrations at Blizzard for what they perceived as the developer purposefully removing one of those few pieces of positive representation of bigger bodies in gaming.
Though, the fact that so many fans jumped to the conclusion that Blizzard had just changed Mei’s body model to make the character confine to ‘beauty standards’ before considering that it may have been an accident by the developer, also highlights how far the games industry has to go in terms of positive body representation.