In a new short story titled “Bastet,” Blizzard Entertainment revealed that Jack Morrison, Soldier: 76, is the second LGBT character in the popular video game Overwatch.
Though Ana is the protagonist of "Bastet," it was macho military man Soldier: 76 (aka Jack Morrison) who got a bombshell backstory reveal while discussing his past relationship with a man named Vincent.
At the World of Overwatch panel at BlizzCon 2015, Overwatch Artistic Director Bill Petras confirmed that there would be a gay character in Overwatch. Blizzard Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development Chris Metzen confirmed that it wouldn’t just be one, according to Blizzard Watch.
Soldier: 76 joins Tracer, who was revealed to be a lesbian in Blizzard’s holiday-themed comic “Overwatch: Reflections,” as the next LGBT character thus far in the game that has 40 million players as of May 2018.
Ironically, many at first disregarded Soldier 76 as Overwatch's obligatory cis white guy video game protagonist. In a game that forgoes a campaign, cinematics, or a “story mode,” he is the playable character in Overwatch’s tutorial mode.
It's important to note that some feel the canon short story reveal may be another example of queerbaiting in mainstream media: where LGBT representation is only implied or revealed by marginal material and creator interviews, rather than explicitly depicted.
Retconning characters into surface-level LGBT relationships is often a red flag for queerbaiting.
The key difference, however, between Overwatch and other recent examples of this in “Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald” (author tweeting a character is gay) and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (pansexual character revealed in a Huffington Post interview), is how these mediums tell their stories.
Unlike with literature or a traditional movie, the majority of Overwatch’s lore and story is conveyed through supplemental writing, as it’s a multiplayer-based shooting game designed for international tournament play.
The Overwatch League, a global esports league owned by Blizzard Entertainment, likewise suspended and fined a pro player $2,000 after he threw an anti-gay slur at his opponent during a live stream last January.