In case you missed it, Blizzard revealed this week in an online short story (full comic available here) that Soldier 76 is canonically gay. And, since the internet inherently sucks sometimes, the response to this wasn’t entirely positive.
Naturally, the reactions to Soldier 76’s orientation were mostly supportive and funny on Twitter, and mostly toxic and repulsive on Facebook. If you had to think long and hard about who exactly were the primary whiners about this orientation reveal, then you – my friend – are truly are too pure for this world. I’ll give you a hint – they don’t have anything to worry about in terms of representation in video games, and as soon as a character is revealed as anything other than straight, white, or male – they’re the first one’s to cry “SJWs ARE RUINING MY GAMES” in the comment section.
In truth, this reveal is just the most recent example of how much Blizzard cares about representation – and if you’re reading this, you really should too.
As an average-build, straight white guy – I could half-ass some Nathan Drake cosplay by throwing on a half-tucked henley and a bandolier. Hell, when I was younger and into sports games like NBA Live and Madden, I used to get annoyed that my first and/or last name wasn’t available in create-a-player – because the commentator couldn’t call me out by name. This is essentially the digital equivalent of not being able to find my name on a keychain in a gift shop.
Playing as a character who looks, acts, or thinks like me isn’t a huge factor in me choosing to play as them or purchase the game they’re in, but that’s probably because I grew up playing games where most characters already did. There’s tons of folks out there who have struggled (and continue to struggle) to find games and characters they can relate to or align with, and I commend Blizzard for making it a little easier each time they do something like this. So yeah, if you’re one of those people crying about your favorite macho fictional character’s sexual preference, I urge you to get a life and/or a reality check.
So hey, Blizzard – keep doing what you’re doing. Representation matters, and doing so in arguably one of the biggest games (and thus biggest platforms) on the planet is pretty goddamn great.
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