By chance I was looking at the World of Warcraft: Legion Collector’s Edition this morning to see what it offered by way of special thingymabobs of both the real and digital variety. But that’s not important right now. In the related products I saw a very expensive copy of that other upcoming Blizzard title, Overwatch, with a statue. Ooh!
Opening the link I scroll down and see… some guy? The text says his name is “Soldier: 76” and his wiki entry says he’s a mysterious vigilante/mercenary. So essentially the most boring, generic character imaginable. Drop him into any other sci-fi shooter and he’d fit right in. And be super boring and generic there as well.
And that’s fine, not every character needs to be an incredibly unique snowflake. The generic grunt has served us well over the years, from Doom to Destiny.
And the other was Tracer. Spunky, teleporting, timebending, British-accented Tracer. The girl so cool she’s bucked the trend and is the featured character on the box art.
Everyone loves Tracer! So why is Soldier: 76 the statue in the box?
The boss dropped a line to Blizzard to see if there’s a good reason for this and we were informed that Soldier: 76 is a key figure in the Overwatch universe and the former leader of the Overwatch Organisation. So General Generic is, like, super important to the story you will probably never care about as it’s a purely multiplayer title. Also, did you know you could buy a Tracer statue from their store? They’re out of stock right now because so many in the community picked one up and… yeah. You would think a little light would flicker on above their heads at that moment, but apparently not.
Blizzard has previously been criticised for not including enough females in their other games, like their own DOTA spinoff Heroes of the Storm. Or that when they do include them they are overly sexualised, like Kerrigan in Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm. So they can’t be unaware of the public perception surrounding these issues. And Tracer was looking like a really solid response to that feedback, without seeming like they might have been pandering to the audience.
This isn’t the only instance of this sort of oversight or boneheadedness lately, of course. Everyone’s still wondering why there’s not a lot of merch available featuring Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Without giving anything important away, she’s kind of a big deal in the movie… (Hashtag #WheresRey)
When they’re not conspicuously absent the situation isn’t always a whole lot better. Last year Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame was proudly showing off – and giggling at – the figurine made of stealthy sniper Quiet, replete with squishable breasts. Hilarious.
Are people still labouring under the misconception that people won’t buy serious female action figures? Or serious female display statues? Because there sure seems to be a lot of support for it, from fans young, old and every gender imaginable. I can understand the smaller companies not wanting to take the risk, but this is Blizzard. (Or Disney.)
Is Blizzard really worried the Collector’s Edition won’t sell because it has a girl in the box? Because then you’d have to wonder why a girl is on the box, wouldn’t you?
Fortunately, it’s not too late for Blizzard to fix this and put out a second version of the Collector’s Edition, this time with Tracer. It seems like kind of a no-brainer to me, but maybe I’m wrong and people really are more excited by “Soldier: 76” than Tracer or even Winston?
If you’d rather an edition with Tracer in the box, let us know in the comments. And, more importantly, let Blizzard know with the hashtag #WeWantTracer!