Blizzard on Why There’s Still No Black Woman Hero in Overwatch

Some fans are upset that there’s still no sign of a black woman hero in Overwatch. With the reveal and PTR release of the newest hero Ashe during BlizzCon 2018, people are wondering when they’ll see a black woman make the roster.

Kotaku asked Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan about the omission and he gave an answer that hinted at that spot being filled somewhere down the line.

“I think if you look at the history of Overwatch, there’s been such a wide variety of people that we’ve represented in the game,” he said. “We have no shortage of heroes that we’re currently working on secretly back in Irvine. Right now I think the number’s around six that we have in development. I don’t think people are gonna be disappointed.”

Kaplan also described how there are more than six types of people in this world and the team is aware of that.

“I think there’s… I don’t want to say something for everyone, because six is not something for everyone,” Kaplan said. “There’s a lot more people who walk planet Earth than that. But I don’t think people will be disappointed. We have a lot of really cool, interesting characters that are gonna come out over the next few years.”

Overwatch has always been a game that seemed to purposefully represent people from a broad array of people and cultures. It draws on inspirations from all around the world so adding another character that’s already well represented in its heroes seemed like an odd choice even if it helps fill in McCree’s backstory.

Other fans are pointing out that the game has not only prioritized more white heroes but even a hamster before we see a black woman hero in Overwatch.

This was further questioned when illustrator and game designer Chris Kindred posted on Twitter asking Overwatch “What’s good?” alongside an image of two potential heroes shown in the “Recall” animated short from 2016.

Blizzard followed up the Ashe reveal (who is currently on the PTR) by also showing some early concept art for her character design. One of these designs shows the new character as a darker skin but Blizzard stated in the BlizzCon panel that it felt the color palette was too similar to McCree. Blizzard also felt that the middle design was “too punk” and the one in white looked too much like a superhero.

Blizzard on Why There's Still No Black Woman Hero in Overwatch

Concepts for Overwatch hero, Ashe (Image: Blizzard)

Kaplan also explained that Ashe was never intended to be the 29th hero in the Overwatch roster. Instead, her role in the McCree short “Reunion” inspired the team to make her the next hero.

Blizzard Senior Software Engineer Julie Anne Brame also noted how Ashe came from that animated short.

“But again, this came from cinematics, and she was just so special out of that wonderful cinematic. And it wasn’t, like, out of all the things in the world to pick, we want to pick this particular character; it was ‘Wow, that’s a really special character that needs to come to life and really would contribute a lot to our universe.’ I think that’s what made Ashe stand out,” she said.