Overwatch: Why Doesn't a Black Female Character exist?


overwatch female characters

Blizzard's first person shooter Overwatch is set in a futuristic interpretation of Earth. The game has been constantly praised for it's diverse set of heroes who come in various shapes and sizes, ethnicities, ages, genders and non-genders. Take a look at the game's twenty one playable characters and you'll see a colourful bunch.

Blizzard stated that they wanted to create a game that could be enjoyed by "everyone", from all walks of life.

At BlizzCon's 2014 press conference the developers stated that they wanted players to feel well-represented by their cast of characters. Previously, in response to critique over Overwatch's girl characters, Blizzard stated that they wanted to create a game that could be enjoyed by "everyone", from all walks of life.

Blizzard are very aware of the diversity discussion happening among fans and critics about the need for diversity in gaming. As reported by Kotaku, the company claim they want to see more racial and gender diversity, they want to see diversity along the lines of what country people come from.

overwatch zarya

New character Zarya avoids many of the atypical tropes that female video game characters normally fall prey to such as impractical armour, created purely to reveal the character's bare flesh. This is great for fans who wanted to play as a non-sexualized macho female soldier, now how about a black female character?

Currently there are 21 overwatch characters as of (11/05/16) and eight of them are female characters. Each different in their own way, by appearance and skill, but despite boasting a variety of diverse and colourful looking characters there still hasn't been any talks of introducing a black woman.

In fact, initially since the game's arrival in 2014 there weren't any black characters until August of 2015 in which Blizzard revealed Lúcio, an Afro-Brazilian international celebrity and DJ from Rio de Janeiro. He's currently the game's only black character and has often been referred to as the token black guy of the cast.


overwatch black characters

To avoid criticism of tokenism or to further racially diversity the roster, it wouldn't hurt to include a black female character to even out the number. The visibility of playable black women in video games may be significantly small but it's memorable. Nevertheless Houston Press could count only 14 playable black female characters in all of gaming history. 


The representation of black and non-white women in video games is so distressingly little you begin to develop a tremendous knack for remembering each one you see or play with, no matter how it brief it may be.The potentiality to create the impossible in video games is what makes it the perfect medium for those whose voices are forcibly suppressed and unheeded in the wider cultural spectrum.

With the shortage of playable black women in video games this would be the perfect opportunity for Blizzard Entertainment to introduce one to Overwatch, especially since the developers have stated they are all for gender and racial diversity.


black female video game characters


Games such as F-Zero and Jet Set Radio which are set in the future have successfully managed to create their own afrofuturistic female characters, while we have gradually seen new black female characters popping up in recent games, like Uncharted 4's Nadine,
Jacqui Briggs in Mortal Kombat X and Street Fighter V's Laura Matsuda to name a few.

What's stopping them from adding a young, beautiful and kinky haired, chocolate skinned woman?

Blizzard hasn't been shy to controversy and many people have noticed the lack of racial diversity in some their previous games. Take for example World of Warcraft's 2014 Warlords of Draenor expansion pack which shockingly ditched dark skin-toned humans, or the fact that their 2015 Heroes of the Storm doesn't include any People of Colour.

Overwatch is a fresh start for the company and since they want their game to include character diversity, what's stopping them from adding a young, beautiful and kinky haired, chocolate skinned woman? Characters like Symmetra, Lúcio and Pharah have given many players hope for a radically variant of different races but there's always room for more.

overwatch characters

What's are your thoughts on this, do you feel like that Overwatch should include a black female character, or do you feel as if one black character in a cast of 21 characters is more than enough? Let us know how you feel about this in the comment section below.

122 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree, if Blizzard Entertainment really want to prove that their game is diverse then adding a black female character to Overwatch would be a step in the right direction, especially since black girl gamers exist.

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    1. Right, but as mentioned Blizzard's track record with poc characters (specially black characters) in games like World of Warcraft haven't been perfect so I wouldn't hold my breath.

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    2. That's very true but with Overwatch Blizzard Entertainment still have a chance to rectify themselves (hopefully).

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    3. Blizzard removing the darker skin tones from world of warcraft was disgusting but their gender and racial diversity is improving with games like Overwatch.

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    4. Improving is an overstatement but if Blizzard do follow through by adding a black female character then I'd assume they are trying harder.

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    5. Exactly, I want to see this happen. Only I'm a little worried on how they would design this character, nonetheless it would be refreshing to see a black female character in overwatch.

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    6. wtf, we got Symmetra....

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    7. You uncultured SWINES. Considering that Pharah is African, and BLACK, that makes her black (Egypt is in Africa). Considering that Symmetra is darker than Pharah, it makes her black, Yes, you can be Indian and black, India has the same Altitude as Northern Africa. And seeing as Ana (Pharah's mom) is about to join the game, that makes 3. Remind me again who knows about Diversity?

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    8. You uncultured SWINES. Considering that Pharah is African, and BLACK, that makes her black (Egypt is in Africa). Considering that Symmetra is darker than Pharah, it makes her black, Yes, you can be Indian and black, India has the same Altitude as Northern Africa. And seeing as Ana (Pharah's mom) is about to join the game, that makes 3. Remind me again who knows about Diversity?

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    9. Seeing as Pharah is AFRICAN (Egypt is in AFRICA), she is Black. Seeing as Symmetra is darker than Pharah, she is also black (YES, Indians can be Black because India and Northern Africa are at the same Altitude). Ana, Pharah's mom, is ALSO joining the game too, so that would make 3 Black Heroins, you uncultured swines. So tell me again who's not Racially Diverse?

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    10. Implying Egypt is not in Africa

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    11. My question is, why should I care? It's a fucking game. Who cares what ethnicity the characters are. The only thing I care about is the gameplay because that's what matters.

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    12. My question is, why should I care? It's a fucking game. Who cares what ethnicity the characters are. The only thing I care about is the gameplay because that's what matters.

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  2. It's good to see clear evidence that being vocal and critical of practices within the game industry can lead to meaningful change for the better in the case of Zayra, which is why I'm all for adding a black woman to Overwatch.

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  3. THANK YOU!! I thought I was the only one alone on this in regards to the playable characters in Overwatch. I really want to be able to play as a black chick and besides there's only one black character in like a total of 21 characters, adding one more wouldn't hurt.

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    1. True, outside of fighting games most video games seem to add only one token black or minority character. If Blizzard Entertainment is serious about all this "diversity" talk then adding more black characters would be a wise choice.

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    2. Yes! As I said, adding one more black character to a cast of 20+ chars wouldn't cause any harm. Looking at all the overwatch female characters and not seeing a single black face is kinda disappointing. Lúcio's basically the token black.

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    3. Right I feel you 100% and you nailed it, Lúcio's definitely the token black guy and funny thing is he wasn't added to the game until like a year later. What about Symmetry though, are you feeling her?

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    4. I feel adding a female character like Symmetry to Overwatch was a great idea and was well executed but I still feel the game's cast is lacking major flair and a pretty black female would just be perfect.

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    5. Yeah for real, maybe something along the lines of Jet Set Radio's Boogie, either way the ball's in Blizzard's court, let's hope they follow through.

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    6. Maybe it's just me but I felt like Symmetry took the black female character's spot.

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    7. If that's the case then that really sucks. -_-'

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    8. I get what you're saying, Symmetry's the token darkskin female in Overwatch, ay?

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    9. Exactly you get my point, I hope this isn't the case and I'm wrong though.

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    10. Lol idk if you guys are serious but it's symmetra

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    11. What about Pharah? She is African. Egypt is in Africa.

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  4. All these races including alien and anthropomorphic characters yet not a single African American character.

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    1. Did you even read the article? Lúcio isn't African American he's from Brazil.

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    2. I'm jk but on a serious note you're right, this could be the chance to add a black female character from America if play Blizzard play their cards right.

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    3. Yep, I really hope they do cause' it'd really diversify the female character's cast.

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    5. well Brazil has more black people than the USA >_> and more people with African ancestry so yeah Lucio is black but not american. Technically reaper is suppose to be black before he became whatever .

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    6. Reaper is African american, as seen in his origin skin (and yes, reaper is from america as seen in the comics)

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  5. So the Brazilian dude is the only black character in the entire game? Wow. Normally futuristic games feature more than one black character.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Gabriel Reyes is black. . ? You sure about that?

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    3. reaper is not black..hes name is gabriel reyes for godsake.....and he has a skin of a mariachi

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  6. I don't really mind if female characters in games are over-sexualised, but I've got to admit adding a black female character to Overwatch would be a breath of fresh air. I honestly wish this was more common in games.

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  7. Since there isn't any characters from Africa they should create an African female character, that'd be so cool. Overwatch is missing a African representative character.

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    1. Isn't Pharah from Egypt?

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    2. pretty sure she is? whats the source on this?

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    3. pharah IS black you retard

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    4. So it's either Egyptians are proof of black kings or Egyptians aren't black depending on the agenda

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    5. There is a problem in the black community where mixed people aren't black and Egyptians are mixed

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    6. There is this whole controversy that mixed people aren't black and Egyptian's are mixed

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  8. Lúcio is the equivalent of a token character, like a black best friend in movies. Putting a black female equivalent in Overwatch would instantly fix that issue.

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  9. Still waiting for Overwatch to come up with a black female character. You a have purple woman and mythical creatures for crying out fucking loud...

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  10. Overwatch only has one black character and he's a dj

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  11. Even though I've been playing the beta for Overwatch I've been feeling some type of way. Blizzard claim they've been listening to fans about racial diversity but only include one black character?

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  12. Yess I would love to see a black female character playable in Overwatch, make it happen Blizzard.

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  13. Can someone pass the word on? I really want to see a black woman in Overwatch, all the other overwatch female characters are cool and all but it's unrealistic not to have a black girl in a futuristic shooter.

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  14. Thank you for bringing attention to this issue, it's the same problem I have with Overwatch overall. The developers have said they are all for diversity but while the game has a variety of different looking characters it only has one black character in total.

    It would really nice if Blizzard could keep their promise about appealing to "everyone" and include a black woman character to play as.

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    1. Yes I'm all for it, Blizzard Entertainment's track record with racial diversity is poor (i.e wow and Heroes of the storm) so I wasn't surprise there wasn't more than one black character in Overwatch, but they can prove me wrong by including a black female character to avoid tokenism.

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    2. Right, neither was i surprise that the game only has one black character but I'm very glad that this article has bought bought this up to the forefront.

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    3. This is saddening.
      No one is actually doing any research or even aware of reality here.
      People do realize Reaper is African American right?

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    4. Pharah is black, lucio is black, reaper is black, symetra is indian, but still dark enough to be called black.
      And both reaper and lucio are of "African" heritage.

      People are just dumb :/

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  15. Great idea, as others have already mentioned Overwatch only has included one black character in it's lineup of character and i know it's still early but to say but as of now it doesn't seem like Blizzard has even considered adding a black female.

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    1. They actually have! But both of the black girls were scrapped.

      tinyurl.com/hewmtvz

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    2. Seriously, does anyone fact check? Reaper is African American.

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  16. Please do make it happen, just the other day me and my friend was discussing this, I'd love to play as a black woman in Overwatch. While the game is diverse in it's own way it's still only has one black character.

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  17. It's just odd that a game made by a company based in the US has so many various races represented in Overwatch but they don't have a single African American character.

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    1. But they do... his name is Reaper.

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    2. You keep saying this, but the subject in focus right now is black females. Reaper is not female...

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  18. It just sucks I guess because like the article says, playable black female characters are few and far between in gaming history and there are actually a lot of black characters including a black woman in the scrapped overwatch characters graveyard. Which means her design is the, just...ressurect her!

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  19. Sunset Overdrive is/was(?) free for Xbox One - Live Gold ... great game and character customization options are wicked tings still

    Body type, actual different shades of brown, different hair, sexy bitch, covered church girl, shotta yardcore, tons of customization options and a great game

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  20. Wait WTF is this article even talking about? Isn't Pharah from Egypt, oh but because she isn't fucking dark she's not black right?I mean really come on now, y'all gonna bitch about them not having just a black female character but not a Polynesian female character or a Native American female character or even a latina? This post is racist.

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    1. Jeez man calm down, you may be right but seriously dude you need to calm down, just because not all races have a spot doesn't mean that people are racist and lastly I'm a bit stingy that there are no Hawaiian people

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    2. Man just stfu, this doesn't have nothing to with other poc women, there's no playable black female character in Overwatch and it's noticeable especially since there's only ONE black character in the entire game.

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    3. For fucks sake guys. Check the character skins for once would ya? Look at Reaper Origins and you'll see that Reaper is indeed a black guy. So calm the fuck down.

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    4. Are you blind or stupid? What part of Reaper is BLACK to you? You can't even see his face. There's only one black character in the game.

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    5. Symmetra, Lucio, Pharah. There are 3 already in the game, you guys are mentally retarded

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    6. Well... the part where he's African-American.
      Or the part where his flashback picture shows he's an African American character.
      Or where his alternate skin shows him without a mask and he's African American.
      You know... facts.

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    7. Reaper is hispanic, not black. There are three black women in the game: Pharah, Ana, and Symmetra

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  21. Replies
    1. Symmetra is from India.

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  22. Whatever. No matter what game companies do someone is going to complain. If they made a black female character if she was skinny some people would complain that she wasn't a bbw. If she was too fat some people would complain that she was stereotypical. If she had a weave some people would whine that she didn't have dreads.

    Whatever. Don't care. It's a fun game and I like it.

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    1. People get mad so we should ghost a community? I don't care if she's skinny as long as she's in there, but yes I would prefer a black woman with curves because that's what most of them have.

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  23. No offense but white knighting for a video game company just because you don't see the value in diversity or like people criticizing your "favorite" game isn't going to earn you any brownie points or change the facts.

    At the end of the day Blizzard said they wanted to cater to everyone, so if this is true then no one should have a problem with people wanting to play as a black female character.

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  24. I could also ask why isn't there a Latina character? (Either black latina or indigenous latina or other kind)

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  25. I'm so confused. I'm pretty sure Reaper is Afro-latino and Phara is black. Please send me the sources saying otherwise? I'm legitimately confused that they are being ignored

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  26. ................Because they have Lucio? A Black Brazilian?

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  27. Because they have Lucio?.... A Black Brazilian?

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  28. Oh get over it, damn somebody always complaining and I bet it was a black woman. Just shut up and enjoy the game and I'm black by the way.

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  29. Oh get over it, damn somebody always complaining and I bet it was a black woman. Just shut up and enjoy the game.

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  30. So, are we all going to ignore that Reaper is an African-American character?
    I'm all for diversity, but please check your facts before writing a piece like this; you're painting a bad picture of a game that is striving for the inclusive environment we've all wanted.

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  31. Why isn't there a Hispanic female? I really feel like reaper is the token Hispanic character. Why isn't there a Korean male? I really feel like D.Va is the token Korean person. Why isn't there a Russian male? I really feel like zarya is the token Russian. Adding another would instantly solve this problem.

    You guys are being absolutely silly in your argument for having a black female character. Just say you want one because you want one. You'd have a better argument. I think it would be pretty cool to have one too. But trying to convince yourself Lucio is a token black guy is stupid. There's only 1 character of most ethnicities, lmao.

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  32. holy shit you guys are retarded.

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  33. On this episode of "The Internet is full of morons", some fucking idiot forgets that Egypt is in Africa, and that Pharah, a character placed in the thumbnail used to complain about a game not having black women, is from Egypt, and is therefore a black woman.

    What the fuck are you looking for? A character that throws watermelons and whips people with her weave?

    Literally neck yourself.

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  34. On this episode of "The Internet is full of morons", some fucking idiot forgets that Egypt is in Africa, and that Pharah, a character placed in the thumbnail used to complain about a game not having black women, is from Egypt, and is therefore a black woman.

    What the fuck are you looking for? A character that throws watermelons and whips people with her weave?

    Literally neck yourself.

    Also Reaper is Hispanic, his last name means King in Spanish.

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  35. Alright then, and I'm saying this not to cause arguments, but just to get my opinion out there. I think you're all being a bit pedantic about this whole "BLIZZARD SAID THEY WANTED TO CATER TO EVERYONE" - there is no catering to everyone. In no way, shape or form is any game company every going to be able to cater to everyone or at least ot a level were they were gonna make everyone happy considering the amount of time and resources that would take to do.

    Rather than focusing on something like this, just enjoy the game. If it really bothers you, DON'T PLAY IT. It's as simple as that. A harsh truth, but one none the less.

    And if you're REALLLLLLLY that bothered... Make your own game and do what you want with it, it's been done before with the likes of Anita Sarkeesian. I honestly feel like there's just a need to point out every little detail in this day and age, and if peoples opinions aren't the same as yours, then you might as well bend over and prepare yourself for an ass-blast that's gonna leave you with a lethal gaper that'll probably lead to a bleed out.

    ANYWAY GUYS... Peace.

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  36. Alright then, and I'm saying this not to cause arguments, but just to get my opinion out there. I think you're all being a bit pedantic about this whole "BLIZZARD SAID THEY WANTED TO CATER TO EVERYONE" - there is no catering to everyone. In no way, shape or form is any game company every going to be able to cater to everyone or at least ot a level were they were gonna make everyone happy considering the amount of time and resources that would take to do.

    Rather than focusing on something like this, just enjoy the game. If it really bothers you, DON'T PLAY IT. It's as simple as that. A harsh truth, but one none the less.

    And if you're REALLLLLLLY that bothered... Make your own game and do what you want with it, it's been done before with the likes of Anita Sarkeesian. I honestly feel like there's just a need to point out every little detail in this day and age, and if peoples opinions aren't the same as yours, then you might as well bend over and prepare yourself for an ass-blast that's gonna leave you with a lethal gaper that'll probably lead to a bleed out.

    ANYWAY GUYS... Peace.

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  37. Symmetra and Pharah are black

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  38. Pharah is literally African though???????
    And Symmetra may be Indian, but since you guys seem SO focused on skin colour, she's also pretty goddamned black, which, by the way, good job leaving her out of the title card and barely mentioning her in the article. Gotta keep the narrative alive, right?

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  39. Two things above it this article irk me, one is the fact that Reaper is indeed a black character, Lucio isn't alone, and the other is the fact that Blizzard shouldn't add a black female for the hell of it, fix the issues with the base game first, then take the time to develop new characters

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  40. 'i need something to complain about', by DENISE ABENA

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  41. Pharah is black. Or is Egypt not in Africa anymore?

    Who am I kidding, SJW's will NEVER be happy.

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  42. SJWs are never satisfied. I really hope that Blizzard stops pandering to these jerks and goes on not only to not create another black character but after Ana making all the next characters white men just to spite you all.

    Blizzard has done a great job with this game making it so diverse and for people to nitpick about it is pathetic and childish.

    Grow up!

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  43. This is just dumb, there are not a lot of games that devs give the attention span for this, and when something like overwatch appear you don't stop wishing for more diversity that you already have.

    Have you ever played the game for the fun? because if you just focus on the races of the characters of the games you are just as racist as someone who hates them.

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  44. All these diverse races and mix of genders and all you care about is having a black woman. What is wrong with this world

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  45. Where are the Lithuanian, Laotian, Hungarian, Canadian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Bosnian, Italian, Iranian, Pakistani, or any other of the hundreds of other options of people they could have implemented into the game that they didn't? Let's not complain about every little thing that you don't like in life. That will just make you sour, rude, and disliked. They have a very diverse group of characters and don't even have to ever add a black female character and it would still be a great game with one of the most diverse rooster of any game made. Next you could speak of how Rust doesn't give you the option to choose your race, gender, looks, or height.

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  46. Guys idk if everyone skipped geography class but Phara is from AFRICA. So unless you are only judging characters by skin colour you have a very strong African character in the game

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    1. True, but I think what peeps are trying to say is that there is no straight black girl. Yeah Pharah is from Africa, yet is classified as Eygyptian

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  47. I'm all for diverity but damn, where does it end? When Blizzard creates a black woman there wont be enough Chinese characters. After that there aren't enough characters with red hair. Jezus people! How about we enjoy the game and play the character we enjoy the most, instead of looking at skin colour? I actually had to go through the characters to see what ethnicity they had, because I didnt know at first. Why are we even looking at skin colours!? This is the problem nowadays, not everything has to have perfectly balanced racial diverity, just enjoy the game for what it is, A GAME!

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  48. You all act like it's Blizzard's duty-bound responsibility to answer the beck and call of every outraged ultra-PC pessimist and provide players with characters based around a specific skin color and gender. Guess what? It's not and they didn't have to. This game has a surprising amount of diversity in contrast to the many brown-haired white male characters presented in gaming culture, and that looks like progress to me. But no, you're all going to complain because Pharah and Symmetra aren't the right shade of brown or their facial structures aren't African enough or their hair isn't matted. Shut the fuck up already. African Americans make up only 14% of the total US population and you're upset when there are multiple PoC in this game? Give me a fucking break! If you want representation for everyone under the sun make the Goddamned games yourselves. At this rate you're never going to get game developers to cave to your requests for more diversity, seeing as they give you an inch and you take a fucking mile because you social justice whiners are simply never satisfied if you don't get to call someone else disgusting or demand that they "rectify themselves". This movement has gotten toxic unto itself and everyone else.

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  49. Oh my fucking God!!! Is it always gotta be about Black People and their indiscretions and how they feel "Ostracized"?! Fuck you, seriously, do you know how fucking ecstatic I was to see them have not one, but THREE Asian females as the playable characters?! As an Asian American, we Asians do not get enough screen time or credit enough as it is, and we are very much an invisible ace when there are literally millions of us! Black people always trucking think it's about them and that they're the only race that experiences Systemic prejudice and racism. Get the fuck out of here, so fucking sick of seeing "Why isn't there enough Black blah blah blah", holy fuck, there is enough of you in the media, in movies, etc.

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  50. Oh my fucking God!!! Is it always gotta be about Black People and their indiscretions and how they feel "Ostracized"?! Fuck you, seriously, do you know how fucking ecstatic I was to see them have not one, but THREE Asian females as the playable characters?! As an Asian American, we Asians do not get enough screen time or credit enough as it is, and we are very much an invisible ace when there are literally millions of us! Black people always trucking think it's about them and that they're the only race that experiences Systemic prejudice and racism. Get the fuck out of here, so fucking sick of seeing "Why isn't there enough Black blah blah blah", holy fuck, there is enough of you in the media, in movies, etc.

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  51. Oh my fucking God!!! Is it always gotta be about Black People and their indiscretions and how they feel "Ostracized"?! Fuck you, seriously, do you know how fucking ecstatic I was to see them have not one, but THREE Asian females as the playable characters?! As an Asian American, we Asians do not get enough screen time or credit enough as it is, and we are very much an invisible ace when there are literally millions of us! Black people always trucking think it's about them and that they're the only race that experiences Systemic prejudice and racism. Get the fuck out of here, so fucking sick of seeing "Why isn't there enough Black blah blah blah", holy fuck, there is enough of you in the media, in movies, etc.

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    1. This is why i laugh when black people use the term poc, no one else has our backs except ourselves and it's proven in your selfish comment. Talk about envious! You have got to be kidding me, why to turn yourself into the victim and deflect from the actual issue of there not being a SINGLE black playable female character in Overwatch.

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  52. people in this comment section are so ignorant. getting nit-picky about which ones are "already in the game"; you know what we mean when we say we want a black female character. A more so African AMERICAN, or "traditional" black woman. does that make sense now? Pharah is EGYPTIAN. that's not what we're looking for. Symmetra is INDIAN. not even black so idk why her name is even in these comments. obviously reaper is Hispanic, and Lucio is Brazilian. its not that hard. how can you act so offended or idk what over people wanting an African American woman to play as??? that's just sad.

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  53. I feel like it will have African American girl characters. In Winston's animated short it shows him going to his computer and scanning over Overwatch Heroes really fast. If you slow it down You can see two, I think I'm not sure if the other is female or male though. It may have at least one though.

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