Pride Month is nearly here, and Overwatch 2 is seeking to highlight the diverse nature of the shooter’s cast and playerbase with several celebratory nods in June in the form of player cosmetics, some decorations across a couple of the game’s maps, and a short story.
Starting June 1st, players who log in will be able to select from a variety of Pride flag player icons and name cards that express the wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ identities and celebrate the orientations of several Overwatch characters. On that same subject, there is also a new short story that confirms and explores the lesbian and bisexual orientation of Pharah and Baptiste respectively. Finally, this month sees the Midtown map dressed in post-Pride parade regalia and Watchpoint: Gibraltar will include a new photo of Tracer and her partner Emily.
On top of the in-game Pride celebrations, Blizzard is also encouraging players to shop at its gear store for Pride-themed apparel, with net proceeds from sales earned between now and June 30th being donated to the National Center for Trans Equality.
As one might expect, Blizzard marking the LGBTQ+ community for one month while it stands accused of a whole host of allegations about its workplace conduct, sexual harassment, union-busting, and studio-wide brain drain are raising more than a few players’ eyebrows, but the acknowledgement is there this June one way or the other.
• Trove celebrates Pride with a new event, skin, and a monorail in the Splendid Summer event
• Overwatch 2 finally expands Pride content to Poland and Romania following player backlash
• Star Citizen recounts May’s dev progress on vehicles, Pyro, and new missions as its Pride Month contest returns
• Warframe celebrates Pride Month with a charitable donation and fan-made cosmetics
• Pride Month celebrations kick off in Second Life, Wizard101, Pirate101, and Sky Children of the Light
• EverQuest and EverQuest II hand out free Pride-colored lion pets
• DC Universe Online reruns a summer celebration, hands out Pride cosmetics, and boosts artifact XP
• Guild Wars 2 is giving everyone free rainbow wings to celebrate Pride Month
• Overwatch 2 plans Pride Month celebration with player cosmetics, decorated maps, and a short story
• PlanetSide 2 lowers price of Pride decals and applies fixes to the NSO repair drone for PC players
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial
owing to a long string of scandals, including the Blitzchung boycott
, mass layoffs
, labor disputes
, pay disparities
, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits
, federal settlements
, executive misconduct
, pipeline issues
, messy financials
, declining titles
, failed partnerships
, widespread illegal unionbusting
, disastrous management
, brain drain
, bungled OW2 PvE
, WoW Classic RMT
, and the still-astonishing revelation that the CEO threatened to have his assistant murdered
. As of 2023, the company is (theoretically) being acquired by Microsoft
got quotes from Blizzard’s Brandy Stiles and Aaron Keller confirming that Pride content “opt-in,” with tech that Blizzard characterizes as designed to “limit this content from going out to countries that have laws that aren’t tolerant of LGBT content” and indeed blocks opt-in ability for some countries, though a list of affected countries hasn’t been offered. Blizzard says it’s made that call help it “protect those players.” (Thanks, Anon!)
According to players on the official forums
, affected regions seem to be Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Lithuania, but while Hungary and Lithuania have pushed through laws against what they characterize as “gay propaganda” (like Russia’s), Poland and Romania have not, meaning for those countries, this was fully Blizzard’s decision.