With Overwatch, Blizzard Is Trying To Do Women Characters Better

With Overwatch, Blizzard Is Trying To Do Women Characters Better

Blizzard lore/story/sunglasses guy Chris Metzen and his daughter were watching a cinematic scene from World of Warcraft. There were swords, spells, dragons -- the usual. His daughter, however, couldn't help but ask of the women characters, "Why are they all in swimsuits?"

Metzen relayed the tale during an Overwatch press conference at BlizzCon. He also said that Blizzard is trying to represent a more diverse, less overly sexualised group of characters than they did in the past.

"We've heard our female employees," he said. "And my daughter tools me out about it. She saw a World of Warcraft cinematic of the Dragon Aspects, and my daughter was like, 'Why are they all in swimsuits?' And I was like, 'I don't know. I don't know anymore.'"

"I think we're clear we're in an age where gaming is for everybody. We build games for everybody. We want everybody to come and play. Increasingly people want to feel represented from all walks of life, everywhere in the world. Boys and girls -- everybody. We feel indebted to do our best to honour that."

However, even in the context of Overwatch, which represents a good number of different races, nationalities, and sexes, Metzen admitted that "there's a lot of room for growth." And to be fair, Overwatch's women are mostly super slim and clad in cat suits, so... yeah. (That's not to say they aren't great characters, nor that a game shouldn't have some sexy characters. I just agree with Metzen: there's room to grow.)

For Blizzard, that's definitely a focus going forward. Metzen added:

"Specifically for Overwatch over the past year we've been really cognisant of that, trying not to oversexualize the female characters. I don't know if we oversexualize the male characters. But it's something we're very sensitive to. We want that to be part of who we are, what our brand is. I think [Blizzard president] Mike [Morhaime] talked in a roundabout way to that in his speech [at the start of BlizzCon]. It's something we're very cognisant of. We want girls to feel kick-butt. Equally represented."

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan capped it off: "We want everyone to feel kick-butt!"


    Sure they introduced more female characters but only 1 robot. In this day and age Robots have the same rights as humans. Its appalling the amount of harassment and toxicity towards that demographic. The industry needs to have good long look at themselves.


      actually they introduced 2 robots and 1 gorilla and all 3 of them male! I demand that there be more female robots and gorillas in this game and that they should be gay

        As a white guy, I totally understand how hard it is for you two to accept that women suddenly have a voice in gaming. It must be very frustrating for you.

          Awwww the wittle SJW has no sense of humour......

          Luckily you jumped in there to call them a sexist misogynist pig for being sarcastic....

          EDIT: Glad to see you chucked in "white person" because nothing beats racism than bringing in race about everything.

          Last edited 10/11/14 11:59 am

        Slightly off topic, but did anyone else find 'the Stranger' (female exo/ robot) in Destiny attractive?

        Lol in like late March 2017 they finally introduced the first female robot in this game. Smh.

    I'll never forget my girlfriend's reaction when we started playing Diablo 3. Outside of Tetris and Candy Crush Saga, she was pretty new to gaming. She picked a mage and when she opened the inventory she loudly proclaimed "why am I dressed like a stripper!?"

    I know we've come along way in gaming from the days where a majority of female characters were eye candy, but I knew it wouldn't be the first time she would be faced with a character who looked more suited to entertaining a bucks party than participating in any kind of warfare.

      HA! We have not come a long way.

        I think we have. There are more and more non-sexualised female characters in games that perform roles other than getting captured and waiting to be rescued than ever before. We've still got a long way to go, but in my opinion we've come a long way.

        Last edited 10/11/14 3:52 pm

    Yet they all have similar body type. Funny.

      Yeah seems a but hypocritical huh?

      I think one way they could be more inclusive is allow the player to choose the sex of their character, and then have a consistent theme by class. For example, if the class has a hot/ cute female model (like the ones in the trailer) than the male equivalent is handsome / ripped. Conversely if a class has a gnarly male character model than the female equivalent would look suitably war weary/ practically dressed and built.

        I could imagine words like "nerdy", "curvy" and "cuddly".

        Choosing your gender is a cool idea. Like Diablo 3.

        I'd like to see the female version of the tank with the hammer or the wraith looking guy. I forget their names. As for the robot, what gender is it now? would you need to make an alternate version? It's a robot. Maybe a new colour scheme.

        Anyway, like I said, cool idea.

      There were some really good talks at PAX aus about women in games. Gearbox are making their new shooter thing battleborn and their rogue commander has massive power thighs to show how grounded they are. Gearbox came off as a very progressive company.

        I watched that panel and it was great! I like what Gearbox has been doing, even in Borderland the Pre sequel we could see that with Athena.

        But one only has to look at the picture included with this article to see the style Blizzard is going. I mean look at that ass, I get that she's some super elite soldier but how does her skin breathe in something so tight?

        Oh that's good to hear. I decided not to go to PAXAus year after that comment about handing in your "man card" from an EA exec last year during the XboxOne presentation. Really surprised to hear this stance from Blizzard but will wait and see what actually happens.

      Well considering that in the Fluff every member of overwatch are the "best of the best" then they are bound to be athletic and slim in nature ( theres no fat and overweight people in the SAS/Navy Seals/Commandos) and if you look closely you will notice that the breast size of the female characters are all around B-C in size and not they are not running around with triple f size tits.

      And hey if people are able to rationalise Quiet wearing sweet fuck all then you can rationalise Widowmakers V-cut catsuit

    Not sure he is seeing the same Overwatch as the me then, of the 5 female characters only 1 isn't sexualised to the point of absurdity. The back curve on 3 of them would probably require massive surgery to repair. One has standard pushup bra armor and one is reasonably designed.

    As Meatloaf sang, 1 out of 5 ain't bad.

    Yeah, Blizzard have a lot of room for improvement with Overwatch when it comes to handling female characters right. When I saw the title of this article I said to myself "Yeah, because Widowmaker is totally not putting it out there with the V-cut skin tight bodysuit that is pretty much her nude without the nipples."

    Pharah on the other hand... She's pretty much your typical StarCraft Marine Power Armour. There no breast definition apart from the mono-bulge on her upper chest, which I've seen applied to male Power Armour in other shows/comics/games as well. Kudos there. I was refreshingly surprised to see that.

      And shows how hypocritical America is. Apple still has copyright and patent lawsuits going on Samsung for "stealing" their designs but there's pretty much nothing about how Pharah is a Blizzard copy of Nintendo's Samus. Where's the Nintendo lawsuits? I'll tell you where. Back in Japan where the Asian motto is not to piss and moan and just be what you are. Better.

    Can someone explain this article to me? Are they saying they're going to improve AFTER overwatch or they're going to change their characters or something? Because yeah, insanely skin tight check out my ass suit doesn't exactly scream progressive.

    I don’t know if we oversexualize the male characters.Is that even possible? So far, every attempt at establishing the baseline for male sexualisation is dismissed as either a power fantasy or false equivalence. I would very dearly love to see someone tackle this somewhat huge hole in the equality debate because as far as I'm concerned, equality is when females are less sexualised and when people acknowledge some way to sexualise males. That way, both sides have equal ground rules and we can just point to a character of any sex (Gender is a whole other issue) and say "Sexualised, fix it. Non-sexualised, it's ok".

      It's pretty rare, but possible.

      Of course to some guys the power fantasy is oversexualising... But most guys see the big muscle bound warrior and feel "Hey I'd like to be that!" instead of "Do women want me to be that?"

      Of course it's subjective and what some people might find empowering others will find sexualising, female character design definitely has a lot more issues though and is definitely out of tune with a majority of females.

      The best practical example I can think of is the Shortpacked comic on this issue:


    This is a joke, right? Assy McSniper up there is one of the more "sexy" characters Blizzard has come up with in recent years. Much worse than the Roller Derby skin that Grayson embarrassed himself over in that Blizzard interview earlier this year.

    Certainly, out of all the female characters in Overwatch she is the "worst" as far as sexy for sexy's sake goes (frankly I don't give a shit) but most of the others have a similiar body shape, even if they're piled under cool mech gear or what not.

    Also David Willis is a hack and that Shortpacked comic is just an awful strawman, disregard it.

    Yeah, emphasis on "trying". From what I've seen, Widowmaker (Buttcrack McSniper up there) has an utterly ridiculous design and a "never a self-made woman" backstory. Pharah (Egyptian Samus) has awesome armor except for the fact that it has a built-in thong. Mercy has standard boobplate. Tracer has spandex leggings when cargo trousers would make a bit more sense. But this is a step in the right direction- there's been an attempt with most of these characters to dress them in sense-making gear. Their backstories are also, for the most part, devoid of overshadowing male characters or "we must break her before she can become strong" elements. And the mere fact of including male and female characters of a variety of ethnic backgrounds is good. This doesn't mean the gaming industry can rest on its laurels, though. We still need more games like this, and more games that take this and fix the mistakes it's made.

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