‘Behind’ The Latest Overwatch 2 Porn Controversy

‘Behind’ The Latest Overwatch 2 Porn Controversy
Image: Blizzard / Kotaku / ONYXprj, Shutterstock

The time-travelling, pulse pistol-packing Overwatch character, Tracer, looks like she’s ready for a fight. Bulky tactical gear shields her body and helps mould it into a weapon, and she wears a chunky pair of canary-coloured goggles to safeguard her face. But what will keep us, her faithful admirers, safe from horny jail?

Note: This story contains a somewhat NSFW swimsuit image.

As far as Twitter is concerned, absolutely nothing. Controversy broke on April 30 when a screenshot of Tracer’s side profile quickly stacked 17.3 thousand likes (as of this writing) and spread recognition of what seemed to be the unbearable truth: Tracer’s butt got nerfed.

Except, wait, no, it didn’t. Just as soon as commentators started mourning Tracer’s alleged missing-in-action arse, observant Overwatch fans pointed out that it has actually always been that tiny.

“It’s a combination of the pose and the camera angle,” wrote one Twitter user noting Tracer’s unchanged booty. “People are creating artificial controversy.”

The controversy was indeed baseless — the Tracer model has looked the same for six years, If we really want to get nitty-gritty about butt stuff, which, hell yeah we do, in scandalized players’ defence, the screenshot really was taken from an unflattering angle. In the years between the original Overwatch and now, players have been filling empty time by making YouTube video odes to Tracer’s butt, which does appear more, uh, voluminous during gameplay than in that screenshot. Overwatch fans also create butt-centric victory videos, which they call “showbutting,” presumably because they involve cinematic displays of arse. There is a non-zero chance that your Overwatch main character is a popular showbutting subject, so fans’ attachment to butts goes beyond Tracer. It goes way out into the butt unknown.

The Butt Unknown, for the purposes of this article, is porn. Before we get into that, let’s establish that no video game character needs to be caked up for you to enjoy playing or looking at them. Overwatch isn’t a game that is supposed to make you feel things in your no-no zone, even if it does have a robust porn community that has tried to stimulate fans’ most lurid Overwatch fantasies ever since the franchise’s first reveal. But (butt) some fans have specifically attributed the latest widespread butt outrage to the ubiquitousness of Overwatch porn, which often takes white, thin, female characters like Mercy and Tracer and gifts them bigger boobs, shining, a perfectly round derriere, and the occasional girthy penis. Notably, a lot of Tracer porn happens to emphasise her backside. This might be because her original character design doesn’t reveal her chest at all, but there is still plenty of Tracer booba to find online if that’s your prerogative.

Some butt-hungry Overwatch players eventually conceded that Tracer’s character model was unchanged, but decided that Blizzard should augment her butt anyway. It’s possible that Overwatch characters’ designs start to look a little lacklustre when compared to their flawless or exaggerated porn counterparts. When a person watches Tracer porn more than they actually play Overwatch, their idea of how inherently sexual her character design is begins to skew. This happens with human porn, too. If your only exposure to squirting, for example, is majestic, 30-second Reddit GIFs, you might be appalled when you try it in real life and discover you’re just sexily wetting the bed (though sure, pee stuff is worth exploring if you’re ever feeling adventurous).

The popularity of Overwatch porn isn’t inherently bad. Porn, Overwatch-themed or otherwise, can introduce you to things you never tried but want to, or rouse a sleeping, unexplored part of your sexuality. Character porn, especially when you’re able to commission and customise it, additionally empowers you with the ability to realise impossible sexual daydreams. Everyone deserves to find out if seeing Widowmaker defiled by an arachnid with penises for legs gets them riled up, you know?

Me and my friends watching The Real Housewives of New York City. (Image: Blankpins)Me and my friends watching The Real Housewives of New York City. (Image: Blankpins)

But you might wonder why porn is so seemingly inextricable from Overwatch’s fan community. According to the people that make it, it’s a combination of already-attractive character design, enthralling lore, and good gameplay.

“I do think there’s things that set Overwatch porn apart from other types of video game porn,” Belgium-based Overwatch porn creator Sashacakies told me. “Overwatch has a very unique style, and the character models just look great. A lot of people love the Overwatch lore as well, which I think helps out the porn scene a lot!”

And even when removed from lore, “Overwatch characters are cartoonish but erotic,” blankpins, who makes NSFW Overwatch images, said over Twitter DM. “I was a fan of the game, I liked to play Pharah the most and also the way she looks. I think I have 1,500 hours in the game and she is my most-played hero.”

“I just like the models,” he said. “You can dress them anyway you like and they’ll look great.”

The free, open-source 3D computer graphics creation tool Blender also makes it easy for Overwatch players to start creating porn if they find the characters inspiring. “I have no prior skill of 3D, just installed Blender, fooled around a bit, did a doughnut tutorial and decided to create a Twitter account to drop my stuff,” blankpins said.

Sashacakies echoed this. “Overwatch models are, for the most part, readily available for Blender, and some of them are very beginner friendly.”

Both creators I spoke to made it clear that they wouldn’t want Blizzard to desexualize its existing Overwatch character designs, and, bringing us back to butt stuff, Sashacakies expressed disappointment in the developer’s decision in 2016 to remove Tracer’s “Over the Shoulder” victory pose.

“But I don’t think that porn should influence canon character design,” she said. “Canonically, they aren’t porn stars/super models, and there’s no reason they should be.”

Her weapon is up there, buddy! (Image: Blizzard)Her weapon is up there, buddy! (Image: Blizzard)

A lot of video game players’ disgust about missing “vagina bones” and women having normal, human faces tells us that some gamers and video game porn viewers have difficulty understanding this. Overwatch fans’ porn consumption isn’t the problem — their inability to differentiate porn from the reality of the actual game. But there are many reasons we’ve made it to this point, fighting over curves, or the expectation of them, on Twitter.

Video games aren’t porn, though many of them treat women characters like they’re in porn. U.S.-made games are also subject to the nation’s (and Instagram’s) most prominent beauty preference — hourglass-shaped white women. Women video game characters with no arse like Tracer, or who have lovely dark skin, or a mouth free of lipstick, make some players’ heads split

If we were in a magic world controlled by me, Blizzard’s introduction of Sojourn, Overwatch’s first Black woman character, and this Tracer’s butt non-issue would do nothing but remind us that our true enemy is the impossible expectations people have for women’s bodies. You either fit a perfect mould and are considered “feminine,” sexual, and worthy, or you fit another, and people angrily tell you that you need to be fixed.

“I feel like there’s not enough diversity in the Overwatch porn scene, and I don’t know if that’s on the artists to blame, or those who consume the content,” Sashacakies told me. “I wish there was more varied content, and I hope characters like Sojourn help with that. I also hope that Blizzard adds more female characters that aren’t white/able-bodied that fans will love.”

It’s time to move on from debating Tracer’s big butt. We should look at the big picture instead.

Comments

  • The fact this is even a conversation people are having is really another sad indictment in the already crowded landscape of the vacuousness of social media.

    • Oh don’t be such a weenie. People talk about and care deeply about trivial things. Sport is trivial and it occupies the back pages of most daily newspapers and frequently the front page. Royal family watching, celebrities, games, fiction – it’s all trivial. If you want to have a go at the vacuity of social discourse you’re about a whole human history too late.

      The danger is when you mistake the meaningful for the vacuous and decide that your uninformed opinion deserves the same respect as established fact or expert analysis. I’d want to see a whole lot less of that around before setting my sights on people arguing passionately about Tracer’s butt.

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