Familiar lines such as “you are human,” or “remember this moment” may be little rehearsed pieces that voice actors Gaku Space or Paul Nakauchi use to breathe life into Hanzo and Genji- the Shimada brothers- but for Blizzard Entertainment, the voices that build each Overwatch “hero” is what keeps their game timely and attractive.
Overwatch was first publicized in 2016, but continues to reign true to it’s status of appraisal a year later despite the competition to consider. With clean graphics and smooth play-ability for a first-person combat game, it isn’t exactly the quality of the software that’s got gamers so keen for Blizzard, though it is favored.
With twenty-five differentiating characters to choose from, each is significantly their own. Character development is an outstanding and notable attribute to Overwatch’s material as it refuses to allow binaries and stereotypes to dictate the variety of avatars.
Consider Hanzo and Genji Shimada: descendants of Japanese hierarchy, the brothers were groomed and preened while forced upon to carry their clan’s nobility in the region of Hanamura. Great accuracy to Japanese culture and detail to tradition is noted, which can be seen in the animated short Dragons. It defies standards or whitewashing of marginalized societies.
Pharah, Symmetra and Doomfist also represent international regions that justify and support the inclusion of people of color accurately depicted within video games, which is rarely seen nor respected. Pharah ambassadresses from Giza, Egypt and proudly represents as distinctive armor and makeup is worn. She not only represents those who come from Egyptian decent, but those who are female.
Doomfist hails from Oyo, Nigeria, and is clad with traditional warpaint and attire. Trained in African martial arts, Blizzard acknowledges appropriate styles of melee that there is to be engaged in, specifically to Doomfist’s terms and his background. His abilities are catered to his needs and support his ethnicity accurately.
Symmetra, almost Bollywood-esque, comes from Utopaea, India. Her precise movements, are rhythmic and timed, and her design incorporates conventional Indian dress yet manages to understand the realistic standards of women. Her character layout is particularized enough to include specific makeup styles and country-acute accessories, such as her jewelry.
Ana Amari of Cario, Egypt, stretches the bounds of possibilities as she wears a hijab as a signature article of clothing that stands out prominently in her attire. With the current controversy from external forces regarding head-wear, it’s vital that Overwatch continue to keep her veiled.
Zenyatta openly practices Buddhism with his student, Genji, and includes meditation within gameplay. To some, it may be calming, but to others it is an acceptance and corroboration of religion.
Reaper and Sombra symbolize those who come from Latinx decent. Sombra, originally from Dorado, Mexico, also stands for those who may be orphans, as she is to cope with her past and her lack of parental guidance as she navigates the world alone. Not much is known about Reaper, which leaves the wraith to be such a misinterpreted character, though he too comes from Latinx descent.
Though she may be the most quintessential and cliche trope, the accented and highly-energized Tracer represents the LGBT+ community. It was confirmed by game creator Jeff Kaplan that Tracer was given a partner to be incorporated into her storyline.