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!”