Overwatch 'Shippers Clash Over New Mercy, Genji Voice Lines

Overwatch fans have uncovered new voice lines for Mercy and Genji for Valentine's Day in the Public Testing Region's latest patch. The two characters share some chocolates, which seems innocuous. You might assume that more information about these characters would be a boon for 'shippers — people who write fanfic and make art about the characters in romantic relationships. But these lines have launched 'ship to 'ship combat in the game's fandom, revealing how delicate the world they have built really is.

The lines themselves seem pretty inconsequential. Mercy and Genji share chocolates on Valentine's Day, and she makes a pretty weird, kind of rude comment about them not being Swiss. He bought you chocolates, girl, chill out! You can hear the lines below.

It's flirtatious, for sure, but it isn't exactly canonical proof the two have something going on. If you 'ship Mercy and Genji together, also known as Gency, it's enough to give you butterflies. But if you perhaps adhere to more popular 'ships... well, it feels like your preferred couples are being broken up for a something that's more boring. Fans of Pharmercy, Pharah and Mercy, or Genyatta, Genji and Zenyatta, aren't very happy.

While some fans don't like the idea of the characters being canonically straight, there are other concerns that go beyond preference for a particular 'ship. Some fans believe that 'shipping Mercy and Genji is inappropriate because Mercy is the Overwatch foundation's doctor.

There's also been the implication by fans that Mercy was the one who gave Genji his robot body. Mercy rebuilding Genji isn't explicitly present in the canon of Overwatch, but because the game's canon is scattered across voice lines and motion comics, fan theories take root and stay there. According to the Overwatch website, it is true that Mercy was the one who saved Genji's life, and it is also true that Genji at some point left Overwatch and hung out with Zenyatta to make peace with who he was. That might be enough to justify the theory for you, and therefore some fans see the relationship as predatory on Mercy's part.

Gency 'shippers and other fans who aren't as heavily invested in 'shipping have already responded to the negativity by pointing out that this reaction seems overblown. Not only do these voicelines not really confirm anything, it isn't as if being attracted to a person of the opposite gender makes the characters straight, which means other 'ships could still stand. Additionally, given how little information about the characters exist, fans can bend the sparse facts into a reason why any 'ship is unethical or predatory. If Mercy is the Overwatch foundation's general practitioner, then should she be dating anyone in Overwatch at all?

Ship wars are as old as Star Trek, so this reaction isn't surprising. Back in the days of Livejournal, the bloodbath over Harry/Hermione vs Ron/Hermione included essay length posts about hippogryphs and impersonations and undercover infiltrations of rival message boards. The only difference between Overwatch and those fandoms is the way that information is disseminated and just how little information there is at all.

Unlike fandoms built around television shows, movies or narrative-based games, Overwatch has extremely little in the way of a canon. It's hard to say how the characters know each other, if at all, or what their relationships are to each other. For a lot of players this is no problem; they're here for a class based shooter. But for people in the fandom, every little nugget of information dropped down from Blizzard is an opportunity for a theory to get confirmed or debunked.

This is part of why Tracer being revealed as gay was such a big deal. Many fans were already reading her (and other characters) as queer, but to actually see what precious little canon there is confirm it was refreshing and exciting for those fans. The Overwatch fandom has an inspiring amount of creativity because it needs to make up a lot of the characterisation and relationships as they go along, but that also means that their universe is very fragile. New voice lines like these ones can radically alter the fans' perception of the game — but knowing how creative the Overwatch fandom is, that doesn't mean they can't fanfic their way around them.


Comments

    shut up! so much whinging, for f**ks sake.

      Shut up! So much whinging about the number of Overwatch articles, for f**cks sake.

      But seriously, it's pretty obvious from the title of the article what you were in for, did someone trick you into reading it or did you feel you had some moral imperative to inform all of us how much you dislike reading an article that no one forced you to read?

        I felt it important to point out that peoples wants and opinions don't mean diddly squat by sharing my own. also bored at work so meh.

        also definitely not whinging about the number of Overwatch Articles being a fan and player myself, just whinging about the lack of quality content (Obvs) but as stated, bored at work = will read everything.

        Last edited 11/01/17 1:48 pm

          I would have thought that, if you were hungry for content, you'd be asking for more content and not asking the authors to shut up :P

          I felt it important to point out that peoples wants and opinions don't mean diddly squat by sharing my own.

          Then perhaps you should be a little more eloquent in your word choice, instead of picking ones that make you look like you're throwing a tantrum.

            but why over complicate it? K.I.S.S.

              Because doing it a different way would have people treat you seriously an engage in actual discussion since they can see you take the topic seriously.

              The way you did above makes you look like the last S - Stupid. An immature whiny baby whose opinions aren't worth more than the box of tissues you want to throw at them and tell them to shut up.

                how could this topic be taken seriously? "Whats this? a studio hasn't fulfilled their fan service, but it in no way will affect how the game plays... I better write an Article about it/post my disappointment on Twitter" 2017 is shaping up to be another wonderful year.

                I'm just posting what they are, my disappointment.

                  I'm not saying voice your disappointment, I'm jut saying, do so in a way that doesn't make you appear like a whining child where your opinion would be immediately dismissed.

      "I HATE THESE OVERWATCH ARTICLES SO MUCH!!!!!, But im still gonna click on them, Read them and comment on them!" - plus5defense

        well duh! thank you captain obvious.

        also, to be clear again, do not hate Overwatch Articles.

        Last edited 12/01/17 11:05 am

    Since Genji is Japanese it could just be giri choco. (Chocolates given to friends and co-workers) Mercy giving the more fancier and expensive Swiss chocalates could either mean a one-sided romance or she was just hoping Genji would give her some. Either way, it's not really cause for fanon wars.

      I read it as Mercy caring for Genji as a person whose life she saved combined with a feeling of guilt (?) for having turned him into a cyborg. Genji's feeling confused and has a crush on Mercy as she is an authority figure / mother figure for him. So Phamercy safe for now :-)

    Imagine if these shippers were old enough to care about real world issues like the scary President-to-be, and his even scarier twitter bully reactions to all who cross him. Or the other hundreds of even more pressing issues all around the world that can change the way of life for other humans. But no shippers these days are simply painful. Its not Blizzards job to listen to tweens and sculpt their lore accordingly.

    That said Genji's comment about not being Swiss chocolates is not rude, its rather funny.

      A lot of shippers are adults and also care about those issues. It's possible to care about multiple things in multiple different spheres.

      I find shipping kind of baffling, especially when people care about it /this/ much, but there's no need to be condescending.

        There is nothing adult about fanfic relationships between cartoon characters.

          If you think it's dumb to care about videogame characters then you're on the wrong website. If you think adults don't get invested in hypothetical fictional romantic relationships then I'm guessing you don't watch much TV.

            Fanfic isn't scripted drama, never said the word "dumb".

            e: if I had a friend that invested heavily in a fictional relationship (that they had simply invented based on a cartoon character) and were visibly upset when it didn't go the way they had concocted, I would be worried about their general welfare.

            Last edited 11/01/17 3:30 pm

          Fifty Shades of Grey started as a twilight fanfic.
          The book earned its author $95 Million
          The movie grossed over $500 Million

          While I do agree with your point, in this particular case where people are enraged because the creators of the characters have an idea for their motivations that doesn't align with their own and in turn throwing a tantrum, there is room for fan fiction. Hell, the Star Wars extended universe is almost exclusively glorified fanfic.

      Imagine if these people actually have a twitter feed with a bunch of political comments as well. Imagine a world where people can make comments on the insignificant as well as the significant.

      I dont know if you realize this, But people are capable of doing more than one thing. How do you know for a fact these people dont care about real world issues? Have you personally interviewed every single one?

    You dont tell me who my favourite fictional characters are romatically (and/or sexually) involved with, Its me who has already decided, and I dont care who you are to suggest otherwise even if you are the creators/owners of those characters.

    Shippers vs Creators is funny! Creators have to be more forthwright about the relationships of their characters before the Shippers do irreversible harm to thenselves by fapping to the wrong fanfic.

      Shippers vs Creators

      Creator: I've got a new main character...
      Shipper: Uhuh...
      Creator: He's a young boy...
      Shipper: Uhuh...
      Creator: And he has a pet duck...
      Shipper: Which he has sex with...
      Creator: What? NO!
      Shipper: *Posts a drawing of MC having sex with duck*

    Pfft. Everyone knows Mercy is the OverMom and in a loving relationship with the OverDad76. They both care for their little gremlin d.va.

      Exactly! This is the canon everyone wants... except gay shippers, Tumblr, and it looks like Twitter too now.

        I have enough room for both! Not Gency though, fuck that shit :-)

    I despise this all simply for the creation and straightfaced use of the word "gency".

    Ugh now I need to wash my hands for having typed it myself.

    I don't know why developers even try appealing to these types of "fan bases" since the developers will never been seen as "correct". When fan bases like this try to takeover a creation with their own canon, we get shit like "Samus was a transexual", or the aforementioned Harry/Hermione vs Ron/Hermione debates (Shipper "Screw what Rowling wrote, it's Harry/Hermione!").

    Developers need to stop listening to Twitter, Tumblr, 4chan, Reddit, etc and just write their own mythology to their game, and when those area start screaming for changes due to whatever reason they think needs changing, the developers need to say "STFU! Don't like it, make your own game with your own ORIGINAL characters and stop trying to change my creations".

    All I got from this article is that "No, not my headcanon!"crybabies make a lot of noise. Also, they seem to show a fair amount of straight hate...

    If she's after Swiss chocolates, there's a certain short, hirsute Lothario whom I dare say may have a supply for just such an occasion.

      Isn't he Swedish?

        *edited away because i'm dumb and can't read!*

        Last edited 12/01/17 6:09 pm

        Huh. You're right. I guess I must just have assumed that he was Swiss coz he fits the Swiss stereotypes of building intricate machinery and having impressive facial hair.

        Last edited 12/01/17 7:51 pm

    Mercy and Genji as a ship makes me uncomfortable for a few reason, like some of those expressed above but I won't stop others from enjoying it if they like it...But in all honestly if it becomes canon I will be probably a bit upset since I DO find it troubling given their pasts.

    That said, I think a lot of people are reading too much into the voicelines. The same when people saw Genji writing a letter and screamed about how it was a love letter to Mercy.

    What I find most appalling here, however, is how Kotaku took the tweets of these people, many of who I actually follow on twitter, without even asking if it was okay first. Before you yell about how these public tweets, yes they are. But the problem here is the lack of professional courtesy to ask if it was okay to use these tweets; especially when after this a bunch of angry gency shippers and generally angry heteros (the same that harassed a bunch of people after the Tracer comics) started to harass these people because Kotaku didn't even bother to blur the names or anything. These people had zero warning that their twitters were about to be full of shippers and bigots yelling at them. Very poor form. Kotaku should know better; especially when it comes to stuff like this, and especially when it's easy to tell a lot of these people are LGBTIQA+ or people of colour themselves and talking about issues like this...Like, sharing these people's stuff on a website like this is always going to send vitriol their way.

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