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.
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.
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.
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.
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.