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The Reveal:

Overwatch is gaming's breakout hit of 2016, and its community consists of tens of millions of fans playing across multiple platforms across the world. In addition to the refined squad-based gameplay and MOBA-like rewards loop, one of the most key reasons for this series' appeal is the fantastic character design work done on each of the game's heroes. These are characters that fans have grown to love in only a short time, both emotionally (see the thousands of tumblr-based fanfic comics) and physically (see the mountains of porn everywhere) so it's kind of shocking that besides Widowmaker's VERY murdered husband, none of these heroes have had their romantic relationships explored at all. Well Blizzard dropped a bomb on the community with "Reflections" the 10th issue of Overwatch's backstory comic series. 

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The story is a standard "Christmas Special" plot about Tracer being overwhelmed with stress while trying to buy a Christmas present for someone she cares about. She zips along the streets of future/fantasy London struggling to balance her need for the perfect gift and her responsibilities as a time-skipping superhero. Unable to find the right present and she dejectedly returns to her apartment where a freckled redheaded woman is waiting with some oh-so-British hot tea with lemon...

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That's right, according to this canonical material from Blizzard, Tracer likes herself a lady. Now it's been a while since the "huge all-consuming crushes on fictional characters" phase of my life (I'd say that was ages 8-26, your mileage may vary) but that has to bring up some weird emotions seeing these images if you just found out your beloved waifu goes both ways (trying to avoid saying lesbian, because hey you never know). I actually find it more upsetting that in the same comic it looks like Winston brought his Athena AI on a double date. Like I KNOW gay relationships exist, but a gorilla dating a laptop? That's DISGUSTING.

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The Reactions:

After the infamous "buttgate" scandal over Tracer's cheeky victory pose that was changed by Blizzard, it's apparent that Overwatch is going to be a hotbed for debate for years. It'd be almost impossible to reach a cultural consensus across such a monumental range of different people playing the game at once. One of the most chilling things is that the comic itself cannot be read in Russian due to their "anti homonormativity propaganda" law that was enacted in 2013, attempting to access it in Russian results in this screen:

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translated:

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Over on the official Blizzard forums it seems like there's only one real issue worth discussing:

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And in the greater videogame culture war the divided camps are falling into 3 different reactions:



Reaction #1- This is neat!

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Reaction #2- This is horrible!

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Reaction #3-  Who Cares!?

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Unless Blizzard adds a bunch of new emotes that allow characters to make out with one-another, there's a 0% chance this will affect the ACTUAL gameplay in Overwatch, but it's really interesting how gaming has emerged as this focal point for political discussions. After all it's one of the only venues left where people gather together and INTERACT outside of whatever cultural/geographical bubble they come from. Food for thought. Now if you'll excuse me I'm still trying to unlock that damn Yeti skin for Winston and I'll be DAMNED if I'm actually going to spend money on loot boxes.