What is Overwatch?
Overwatch is an online multiplayer first-person shooter. It’s one of the biggest releases of 2016 and two months before its release I had no idea it existed. Overwatch was developed by Blizzard, a company whom my only previous experience with was playing Diablo II on a relative’s computer. Most people know of Blizzard through World of Warcraft but apparently, they’ve been quite busy since the days of Diablo and WoW. Overwatch represents their first new IP in 17 years.
The main draw of Overwatch is its unique heroes. There are 22 heroes currently in the game, with the 23rd, Sombra, coming down the pipeline this month. These heroes are separated into four classes. Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. The main interplay and appeal of the game is the interaction between team compositions through hero choices. Players are rewarded with loot boxes every time they level up. These loot boxes provide cosmetics across all heroes.
Overwatch is the antithesis of games that I like playing. I prefer single player experiences. Overwatch is multiplayer. I detest working with others in games. Overwatch is a team game. However, something got me interested in Overwatch enough to play the Open Beta. From there, I found myself deeply invested in everything Overwatch? You’ve probably guessed. #Buttgate. But what is #Buttgate?
What is #Buttgate?
So in Overwatch, there’s a character called Tracer. You may have seen Tracer, she’s the mascot of Overwatch. She wears orange leggings, a flight jacket, and talks in an exaggerated Cockney accent. She has the power to blink forward short distances. Tracer is upbeat and optimistic. Now, during the time before the release of Overwatch several Blizzard community members got access to the game and were sharing the developing content of the closed Beta.
During this time a member of the community and a father objected to one of the poses made by Tracer. It was an over the shoulder shot where Tracer’s butt was accentuated by the angle at which she was standing. All the visual cues inadvertently focused on her rear end. The father objected to this pose because his daughter saw Tracer as a hero and this pose was demeaning.
Public opinion exploded. Some argued censorship, that taking the pose out was restricting the artist’s creative freedoms. Others argued that the pose was sexist and demeaning; that it reduced Tracer to eye candy. Where do I stand? Somewhere in the middle. Closer to the creators’ eventual decision than either side. Eventually, the creators’ spoke out. They were unhappy with the pose as well. Not because of the reason others had cited but simply because it lacked character. The pose didn’t feel like a pose Tracer would make. So that was #Buttgate, a non-issue issue.
Why did #Buttgate Get You Interested in Overwatch?
However, during that time I was following various games news outlets, many of which were discussing the ‘controversy’. This was my first exposure to Overwatch. As they say, all publicity is good publicity. The open beta was coming up following #Buttgate so I decided to give it a look. I hadn’t given much thought to Overwatch because all I had seen was Tracer. However, when I started playing I was quickly enamoured with the roster of characters.
Lucio was a character pulled straight from one of my favourite games, Jet Set Radio Future, and planted in this first-person shooter. Soldier 76 was like an old, grumpy Captain America. As time went on I got to know how to play each character, and that’s the charm of Overwatch. Learning each character provides the depth of Overwatch that drew me in. Overwatch is certainly my game of the year and #Buttgate lead me to it. I’ve spent 70+ hours in Overwatch so far and I don’t intend on stopping soon. Overwatch continues to improve the game with its constant updates and additions, and because of #Buttgate I get to enjoy this fantastic game that I wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise.