Friday, June 21, 2024
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Pride comes to Overwatch 2 for the first time ever

For the first time ever, Pride is coming to Overwatch 2.

Before the 2 was even hung precariously at the end of the hero shooter’s title, Overwatch has been seen as a haven for LGBTQ+ players around the world. Because of this, it shouldn’t be any surprise that queer fans have been asking for the popular game to celebrate Pride for the past 7 years with little to no support in response.

Now, however, things have changed. Via a blog post, the team working on Overwatch has revealed why they’ve now decided to celebrate Pride in-game.

“For those wondering “why now”: we love our characters and their lore, and in expanding the OW2 experience to include the upcoming PvE lore, we realized how much more we can do in exploring our character identities and relationships.” The blog reads. “With our first Overwatch 2 Pride event, we knew that we wanted to celebrate the diversity that makes the world worth fighting for. This is just the beginning of Pride in Overwatch 2. Over the coming Seasons and years, we’ll have more to share as the deeper lore of the Overwatch universe unfolds.”

Unfortunately, Pride this year seems only to be relegated to cosmetics rather than an actual story event. However, during a group interview with Activision Blizzard’s Aaron Keller (Game Director), Brandy Stiles (Senior Game Producer and Chair of Blizzard’s LGBTQ+ network), and Jen Stacey (Senior Narrative Designer), it was confirmed that the game studio is looking for ways to improve the event in the future, such as the addition of voice lines and skin cosmetics. This year though, expect only Player Icons and Name Cards – all of which were designed to showcase the diversity within the Overwatch cast and community.

Alongside new name cards and player icons, the team over at Overwatch will also be looking to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by offering Pride-themed apparel, curated by the Blizzard LGBT+ Employee Network. All net proceeds received from the sales from May 16 through June 30, 2023 will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).

All of the in-game cosmetics will be available to players that log into Overwatch 2 on June 1. Activision Blizzard was asked whether these cosmetics would be available to players in countries that are not accepting of LGBTQ+ identities. Stiles revealed that all of the content given via the Pride event is opt-in, meaning that all players will have access to the cosmetics so that they can choose to express themselves or not. However, Stiles also clarified that Activision Blizzard does have the technology in place to prevent the content from “going out to countries that aren’t tolerant to LGBT+ content” to help protect players.

While there is no in-game event or story mission like Starwatch for this month, Activision Blizzard is already looking ahead to further improve their Pride event for next year, and they have some “exciting ideas” for the future. What those ideas are were not revealed.

Outside of the actual in-game Pride event, Activision Blizzard has also revealed a new short story following Pharah and Baptiste, with a mention of Cole Cassidy and D.VA. It is this story that confirms Pharah’s sexuality as a lesbian, and you can find out more about that via our article on the short. During our group interview with Blizzard, they also confirmed the sexuality of Baptiste as bisexual.

Overwatch’s first Pride event will occur on Thursday, June 1.

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