Blizzard says Sojourn was left out of Overwatch for so long for ‘story reasons’

    
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Okay boomer.

There is no story in Overwatch. Even if you didn’t know this before somehow, you probably picked up on this fact because the addition of a story is one of the main features advertised for Overwatch 2. However, game director Jeff Kaplan insists that the primary reason Sojourn was held back for so long was due to unspecified story reasons. Players had been upset for some time due to the fact that Sojourn is a black woman, a demographic generally underrepresented in games and not represented at all in Overwatch as of this writing. Kaplan acknowledges that players were upset with the long delay in her arrival, but insists that his goal was to adhere to the game’s internally decided story rather than rush the character out:

I personally feel like the right thing to do by the character is still deliver on that story and not just rush her out because the community is upset with us. I tend to find that there’s always a community upset with us over something. I’ve mentioned this before, but the real value of Overwatch inclusivity is the idea that we’re open-minded, that we want everybody to feel welcome into the universe, and the result of that is diversity.

It is worth noting, again, that Overwatch does not actually have any story in-game, nor is there an explained story reason for most of the other additions to the game’s roster beyond “we wanted to do this character next.” (At least Cowboy Jennifer Hale was part of an intro short.) Kaplan also feels the need to stress that the game cannot possibly “represent all the people on the planet,” which brings to mind meetings in which the developers are making sure that the crucial “hypersmart gorilla,” “hamster in a mech suit,” “bird-watching robot,” and “old man barefoot fetishist” demographics are represented.

But, hey, Sojourn does look cool.

Source: Kotaku

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swampylogs
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swampylogs

Let’s be real. The reason she was left out was because Blizzard had to be absolutely sure that Soujourn was pitch perfect, or they would be burned at the stake. Creating a black woman character is extremely delicate – anything even slightly off and you’re engaging in “misogynoir”. Voice has too heavy of a black affectation, voice isn’t black enough, skin is too light, skin is too dark, lips are too big, lips are too thin, she looks like a tan white woman, she looks like a caricature of a black woman, her hairstyle isn’t black enough, her hairstyle is too black, the list goes on. Any slight mistake would be played as a massive, racist failure for Blizzard. Of course, even if they get it perfect, and they deliver a strong, interesting, empowering, inspirational black woman hero, they know people will bitch that they didn’t get it sooner. They just know that’s better than the alternative.

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Bannex

It’s almost as if they didn’t give a shit and made the characters they wanted to make…

Mind blown

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Jeromai _

I believe the fairest, most representative option is to convert all the characters to hamsters. One could have hamsters of every color, from black to brown to beige to white. One could have Chinese and Russian hamsters. And yes, even robotic bird-watching hamsters and hamsters in mech suit roller balls.

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Bannex

Better just have a color wheel for fear of not including all shades of magenta.

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Armsman

Reason: “Well…We had to get China to sign off that it was okay…” ;)

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Sorenthaz

Well, didn’t think I’d see an article that read like something off Kotaku which I’ve made fun of multiple times for them writing an article about the lack of a black female character when they announced Ashe. This game of picking at Blizzard for lack of representation is stupid, because at this point it’s like there’s a silly checklist of different groups that need to be represented. Now that a black female character is being added in, what’s next to complain about the lack of? A transgender character? Someone with a different sexuality beyond hetero/homo?

And there is very obviously a story, and some of it has been depicted in-game with the Uprising event’s PvE missions. Saying absolutely none of it is shown in-game is disingenuous as heck.

This is really some of the weirdest nits to pick with Blizzard for the sake of picking nits.

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Axetwin .

You jest in derision, but yes, expect an article on the lack of Trans, Queer, and “non binary” characters from Kotaku. That’s all they have these days, if they didn’t put their social science and political studies degree to work, they might actually have to study the topic of video games.

Tai_Kells
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Tai_Kells

Overwatch has a story?

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Bruno Brito

Surprisingly, yes. And it’s not bad either.

Just not as good as TF2.

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Bruno Brito

1- I don’t buy the “good company Blizz” act for a second. Never did, never will.

2- Overwatch design and art direction is clearly a labor of love. It’s development as a game is not. It’s a fucking lobby shooter that was trying to take the hole left by team shooter games like TF2. Blizzard is trying for years now, to recapture the lightning in a bottle that both WoW and Starcraft were. NO ONE will convince me that Kaplan was fully genuine when he admonished his FANS because of leaks, when he should be pissed at himself and his corporate for allowing this mess to happen. That’s bullshit. He was trembling at the pressure, as was everyone, because clearly, Activision is watching this shitshow too.

With all that said:

Overwatch has some of the best written characters to date, they’re also extremely diverse. And it’s not just diversification, because all these characters are better written, since they’re mostly different. It enriches the story, it makes the character designers actually improve. Looking for different cultures, and different point of views makes your own cultural baggage richer. Insane, no?

I’m all for shittalking Blizzard for…well, whatever reason, really. They seem to be stepping in shit all over this year already. But shittalk their upper echelons. Shittalk their suits. Shittalk the dev heads like Ion and Kaplan that keep directing these shitshows to a fucking competitive venue, when most of the playerbase are casual people and were asking for PvE mode for 2 years.

And they got it. They’ll just have to pay ANOTHER box price. Lol.

But yeah. Artistic wise? No Blizzard game can really be criticized on that. The expression “Blizzard polish” is real. Their nameless rank-and-file always do a incredible job, and they have all my appreciation and admiration.

Yeah. It’s idiotic that OW story took this long to be actually useful on the game, and that’s a problem to the game, and i do think Sojourn took too long to launch, but really, it’s not like the characters are any bad, when they launch. They’re always polished, beautifully crafted, and have a rich lore.

On THIS specific topic, i’m leaving them off the hook. Mostly.

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agemyth 😩

This indignant obsession with having a black female character in Overwatch always sounded blown out of proportion to me. This game is probably one of the industry’s best examples of lovingly well-crafted representation of a wide variety of human identities in AAA gaming.

There should be a black female playable character in Overwatch, but it shouldn’t be done just to check the box. The character has obviously been in the making for a long time.

Also, there is a story in Overwatch. There just hasn’t been much explicitly told narrative content in the normal game modes the game launched with. There are plenty of other things Blizzard deserves to get shit over. This is pretty low in social importance compared to certain other issues we can be griping about.

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Nathan Aldana

all of those identities are only represented in one off comic books or side media because having Tracer flirt with other women ingame might piss off some angry fanboy though

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Syran

Unpopular opinion incoming, but this whole “representation” movement seems so disingenuous. Mainstream entertainment as a whole obviously needs to improve on this front, but going after individual developers just proves that the movement is fueled by spite and people’s desire for drama. Especially when one of the most diverse games seems to get the most flak.

Not every game, movie or TV show needs to represent every demographic. Not to mention that female black characters aren’t even that underrepresented, compared to other groups. Not even close.

Also, I care little for Overwatch (or any online shooter, for that matter), but if you think it doesn’t have a story, you don’t understand how stories work. In fact, Overwatch is one of the best examples of how to package a story without lengthy exposition. I have no clue how the story could relate to this specific character getting released late, but I don’t doubt for a second that it could’ve been part of why they chose this release order for the roster.

zerohunt
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zerohunt

Companies really don’t care about representation and equality. They only care about their bottom line. Blizzard is no exception. If Blizzard thinks it’s profitable to make a purple elephant character that shoots rainbow sherbert out of its ass and dollar bills out of its trunk, then they would.

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Syran

Overwatch does not equal Blizzard. Jeff Kaplan also does not equal Blizzard.

It frustrates me to no end that so many people are unable or unwilling to make that distinction. I’ve worked for game developers from indie to AAA, and while certain decisions are absolutely dictated or influenced by the suits, the vast majority is not. I can pretty much guarantee you that corporate Blizzard had little influence over the characters they introduced.

Sixuality
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Sixuality

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

I won’t deny I roll my eyes at some of the Social Justice Shooter posturing of Overwatch but I don’t doubt that it’s often done with the best of intentions, so it’s sad that they have to go on the defensive when attacked by people who – I strongly suspect – have less interest in playing the game than in scoring hits with their latest woke hot take.

As clumsy as Overwatch sometimes is at least its heart is in the right place, and yet it gets attacked while other shooters like The Division – which is genuinely problematic if you think about the premise at all – go unscathed.