Overwatch 2 is a joyful escape for millions of players worldwide. Blizzard always set out to create a futuristic world that is worth fighting for, where everyone feels seen and celebrated. This game is only worthy of that hopeful world if people can connect with our heroes and see themselves in the universe.
Blizzard wants Pride to be that for their players. And just as important, Blizzard wants that for themselves. One thing Blizzard has heard from both players and Overwatch team members alike is that seeing themselves in the game over the years has helped them find the strength and courage to show the world who they are. Blizzard is a diverse development team and it’s important to them that the universe they are creating–the world that they pour our passion and energy into–represents a world that they want to be a part of. The work that Blizzard is putting in front of the world is an extension of themselves.
A core tenet of Overwatch 2 is giving everyone a chance to play the way they want, by choosing between different roles, unique playstyles, and diverse heroes that best fit each person’s individuality. Outside of matches, Blizzard wants people playing Overwatch 2 to have a way to proudly celebrate who they are. Cosmetics such as Player Icons and Name Cards are a means to represent that for those who want a reflection of themselves in this universe.
Beginning on June 1, everybody that logs into Overwatch 2 will receive an extensive collection of profile Player Icons and Name Cards celebrating the many diverse identities that make up the tapestry of this fantastic community.
Name Cards allow you to choose how you identify within the game, and you’ll notice specific ones dedicated to some of our LGBTQ+ heroes. You’ll find a lesbian card for Tracer, a gay card for Soldier: 76, a pansexual card for Lifeweaver, as well as a bisexual card for Baptiste and a lesbian card for Pharah. For years, players have speculated on the sexual orientations of Baptiste and Pharah, and Blizzard is thrilled to not only include them in these Pride cosmetics but to also publish a brand new short story focusing on their identities, each other, and themselves.
Pride’s emphasis on expressing everyone’s true self is beautiful, and Blizzard wants it to feel like it’s not only a celebration for their players but an event recognized within the Overwatch universe as well. In honor of what this event means to so many people–and for the original Stonewall riots that inspired this annual celebration–for the whole month of June, you’ll play on an updated Midtown map taking place shortly after a fantastic Pride parade. Watchpoint: Gibraltar will also see the addition of a new photo in the barracks of Tracer and her partner Emily (this is also included as a new spray that can be equipped for Tracer). Blizzard hopes this provides some connection to these celebrations for any players who have always wanted to take part in real-world events but are unable to.
For those wondering “why now”: Blizzard loves their characters and their lore, and in expanding the OW2 experience to include the upcoming PvE lore, they realized how much more they can do in exploring character identities and relationships. With the first Overwatch 2 Pride event, Blizzard knew that they wanted to celebrate the diversity that makes the world worth fighting for. This is just the beginning of Pride in Overwatch 2. Over the coming Seasons and years, Blizzard will have more to share as the deeper lore of the Overwatch universe unfolds.
Beyond what they’re doing in-game, Pride is an opportunity for Blizzard to give back and support the LGBTQ+ community. They invite you to head to the Blizzard Gear Store to explore a range of Pride-themed apparel, curated by the Blizzard LGBT+ Employee Network, with Blizzard’s net proceeds (Blizzard will donate the net proceeds that Blizzard receives from Blizzard’s e-commerce store operator) from the sales from May 16 through June 30, 2023 being donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). NCTE’s mission statement speaks to the core of what Blizzard are striving to do in making a better world within the Overwatch universe: “The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice.” For more information about NCTE, please visit http://transequality.org/.
There is power in ensuring we all feel welcome not only in this game, but in the community that has rallied around it, and through that power Blizzard hopes every person who ever logs in feels acceptance and comradery with Tracer, Soldier: 76, Baptiste, Pharah, Lifeweaver, and every other hero in unique and personal ways. The world is worth fighting for, and in the words of Lifeweaver, “our strengths mingle” so Blizzard is honored to fight alongside all of you.
If you’d like to see every single cosmetic item being added to Overwatch 2 for Pride Month celebrations, you can find the rundown here.