There’s been plenty of excitement over the announcement of new Overwatch character Ashe at BlizzCon 2018, but the new arrival has also sparked a bit of controversy around the subject of Blizzard’s dedication to diversity in the popular online shooter. Although it isn’t entirely fair to say that Overwatch’s cast of characters isn’t diverse, with its array of representatives of different ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, and so on, it’s nevertheless been a matter of some contention that, despite having multiple characters that aren’t even human (including one super-intelligent gorilla and one super-intelligent hamster), the game has yet to feature a single black woman, at least aside from its Egyptian mother/daughter duo.
This issue is somewhat exacerbated by the fact that concept art of Ashe has revealed that she was, at some point, envisioned as a dark-skinned character herself. As Kotaku’s Gita Jackson puts it, “[Blizzard] made a hamster and a second cowboy before they made a black woman. It just feels like [black women are] not a priority.”
According to Kotaku, Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan says that “Ashe as we now know her was born of timing and sudden inspiration, which played a role in her appearance,” though that doesn’t entirely explain why Ashe had to be another white woman. Nevertheless, Kaplan assures players that there are “around six” additional characters currently in the works, so hopefully players won’t have to wait much longer for the characters that will speak to them.