Soldier 76 revealed as second LGBT Overwatch character in new short story Bastet amid controversy around ‘fake’ female player

BLIZZARD’s popular shooter Overwatch has a diverse cast of characters — and the company just confirmed it’s a little more diverse than previously thought.

In a short story published yesterday it was revealed that one of the most popular characters, Soldier 76, once struggled with having to choose the demands of a military mission over his then-boyfriend.

An illustration from the story showing Ana looking at the picture of Jack and Vincent
Blizzard Entertainment

The story, titled Bastet, fills in some of the back story for both Jack “Soldier 76” Morrison and Ana, another of the game’s older characters.

Unlike many games, Overwatch doesn’t have a traditional single-player story mode, and almost all of its story comes from short stories such as this, animated shorts or other media.

Reminiscing about the past as Ana discovers an old photograph of Soldier and a mysterious dark-haired man called Vincent. “Everything I fought for was to protect people like him… That’s the sacrifice I made,” Soldier says.

While many fans were happy with the additional representation coming from the revelation as well as the insight into the character’s motivation, others were not. One YouTube commenter accused the firm of pushing a “progressive agenda”, while others accused the firm of just doing it as a ploy to grab attention.

Morrison is the second of Overwatch’s huge cast to be confirmed as LGBT; a comic book story from 2017 featured Tracer, one of the game’s most recognisable female characters, spending Christmas with her girlfriend.

The most recent animated short filled in some back story and revealed a new hero, Ashe
Blizzard Entertainment

The news comes after a weekend of controversy after a supposedly female Overwatch player in the Contenders system — the feeder teams for the fully-professional Overwatch Leaguewas unmasked as an imposter.

“Ellie” was signed last year by the Second Wind team, but stepped down last week before playing ‘her’ first match.

It was then revealed that a background check by Blizzard, conducted on the team’s behalf, had shown Ellie was “not who they claimed to be”, according to a statement from the team.

“After investigating the matter, we found that ‘Ellie’ was a fabricated identity and is a smurf account – created by a veteran player to obfuscate their identity,” Blizzard said in a statement.

“The owner of Ellie’s account is a player with no current or prior involvement with any Overwatch Contenders or Overwatch League team,” the firm confirmed.

The second season of Overwatch League kicks off next month, with London Spitfire looking to defend their inaugural season title.

Spitfire fans were in raptures as their underdog team took the Season 1 title in New York last summer
AP:Associated Press

What is Overwatch?

Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment.

Unlike many other shooters, characters in Overwatch have one of three roles: damage-dealers, support, or tanking.

Damage-dealers do the traditional job of trying to outgun the opposing team’s members. Tanks are there to draw fire and soak up damage while protecting objectives or their team-mates, while support characters can heal other players, boost their damage output, or protect them.

The Overwatch League is one of the flagship eSports competitions, with millions of pounds in prize money up for grabs.

12 teams competed in the inaugural season: New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant, Boston Uprising, Los Angeles Gladiators, London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws, Seoul Dynasty, San Francisco Shock, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and the Shanghai Dragons.

Season two sees eight more teams join the fray –  Washington Justice, Vancouver Titans, Hangzhou Spark, Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant and Atlanta Reign.

All the players are full-time professionals, and all the teams are currently physically based around Blizzard’s Arena in Los Angeles, though there are plans afoot to move them to their respective cities with their own arenas in the next couple of years.

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