The Overwatch 2 team has announced that the game will be celebrating Pride month for the first time in the series’ history beginning on June 1. These festivities will include a handful of small-yet-meaningful updates, including changes to two of the game’s current maps: Midtown and Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
Starting on June 1, the Midtown map will be updated to showcase the city shortly after a Pride parade, with rainbow confetti and inclusive signage generously sprinkled throughout the entire map. Watchpoint: Gibraltar is getting a much more subtle update in the shape of a picture of Tracer and her longtime partner, Emily, placed in the barracks. This picture will also be available as a spray for Tracer.
A framed photo of Tracer and Emily.
In addition to these map changes, the Pride event will also introduce several permanent icons and name cards to the game, allowing players to freely express their identities while they play. Those represented by the cards and icons include Agender, Aromantic, Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Genderfluid, Intersex, Lesbian, Non-binary, Pansexual, and Transexual individuals. For fans looking to express themselves and their sexual identity outside of the world of Overwatch, the team also shared a link to Blizzard’s Pride month collection, with a note that all of Blizzard’s net proceeds raised from May 16 through June 30 will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Also outside of the main game is a new, short story centered on Baptiste entitled, “As You Are.” The story follows a tender conversation between Pharah and Baptiste, and is currently available to read over at the Overwatch 2 media hub.
For those curious as to why Blizzard has waited so long to celebrate Pride in-game, the team shared the answer in a blog post, writing:
“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. 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.”
Three core members of the Overwatch 2 team–senior narrative designer Jen Stacey, Senior Game Producer Brandy Stiles, and game director Aaron Keller–doubled down on this sentiment in a group interview with GameSpot and various media outlets, stating that the team will be focusing on “every facet” of the game’s characters moving forward. Stacey then added that players can also look forward to the team re-examining older characters and sharing parts of their personalities and identities that might have gone unnoticed previously.
“I think it’s important that we revisit older characters to show that the heroes that you know and love have more parts to them and some of these parts might be these identities,” Stacey said. “But also as we create new heroes that are connected to the queer community or other communities across the globe, we’re thinking about them as a whole person and every facet of them, including their identities.”
“We are moving forward now with a bit of a shift where we would like [LGBTQ+ representation] to be, not necessarily front and center, but a part of the representation and diversity in the game,” Keller said.