Activists Accuse Blizzard of Whitewashing Overwatch Characters with Halloween Costumes

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 3:59 pm, October 20, 2016

Blizzard has been subject to a lot of social justice outrage over the past few years. From a public call-out of the female designs in Heroes of the Storm to the mental gymnastics that forced the developers of World of Warcraft to rename a ship because it may have been potentially misogynistic, the studio seems to court controversy without even intending to.

Its latest title, Overwatch, is no stranger to controversy from social justice warriors. Not too long ago, its developers were accused of cultural appropriation when one of the character skins for Symmetra depicted that of a Hindu goddess, Devi. A month prior, SJWs were upset by one of Tracer’s poses, which was deemed “too sexy” and inappropriate, given her otherwise playful demeanor.

Will Overwatch ever catch a break? Evidently not. The latest outrage against the online first-person shooter comes from social media this time around, with many on Tumblr and Twitter voicing their anger over new Halloween-themed skins for the characters Symmetra and Pharah.

Symmetra, who’s an Asian Indian woman, is depicted as a vampire with her new, grey-hued skin. Similarly, Pharah, who is of Egyptian descent, also resembles a pale-skinned vampire in a suit of armor. While the vast majority of Overwatch’s players are excited about the characters’ new looks, the outrage mongers used these cool additions to the game as yet another opportunity to complain.

One poster wrote a lengthy complaint about melanin content in skin, while others attempted to shut down anyone who disagrees, arguing that the only reasonable position was to accept that the skin is “wrong.” A snapshot of the discussion on Tumblr resembles a cesspool:


Some fan artists on Twitter even produced renditions of Symmetra as a vampire with darker skin, while expressing their disdain at Blizzard.

Is there anything they won’t take offense to?

Fortunately, sanity prevails in the greater Blizzard gaming community. When an SJW started a post complaining about Symmetra’s skin, it was downvoted to oblivion. Many of the responses mocked the few users who shared their outrage over the supposed “whitewashing,” asking them who let them out of the Tumblr containment field.

The controversy will undoubtedly run its course within a week or two before the perpetually outraged move on to yet another innocuous subject to be upset about. Until then, the rest of us will keep on playing Overwatch, unlocking the new skins, and wearing them with pride.