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Video gaming

Overwatch video game character Soldier 76 is revealed to be gay, to popular acclaim

  • Game creator releases official short story describing romantic relationship between Soldier 76 and a man named Vincent
  • Soldier 76 is one of the original heroes of the massively popular first-person shooter
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 8:01pm

A short story tie-in to one of the most popular games in the world revealed that one of the game’s most recognisable characters is gay – generating an enthusiastic response from fans, many of whom had already suspected as much.

On Monday, Overwatch creator Activision-Blizzard released the short story titled Bastet, which focuses on two of the game’s heroes, Soldier 76 and Ana. As the characters discuss their shared history, Ana comes across a picture of a young Soldier 76 alongside another man. It’s revealed that the other man, Vincent, was once a love interest for Soldier 76, but they ultimately broke up.

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While the relationship is just a small anecdote in the larger story, it served as confirmation for long-held speculation about Soldier 76’s sexuality. Some fans were confident that the character was gay based on his relationships with the game’s other heroes, while others felt that he took on an asexual role as the patriarch of Overwatch, the hugely popular first-person shooter that debuted in May 2016.

Michael Chu, the lead writer of Overwatch, later confirmed on Twitter that Soldier 76, a super-soldier once known as Jack Thompson, identifies as gay.

LGBTQ fans seem to have embraced the news and welcomed Soldier 76 as the game’s second gay character. Another of the original Overwatch heroes, Tracer, was revealed to be a lesbian in an official 2016 comic book. Fans have shared jokes and memes across social media as they celebrate the news.

While the response to the reveal of Soldier 76’s sexuality has been overwhelming positive, not everybody is happy with how Blizzard has handled it. A few sceptical Overwatch players have questioned why Blizzard waited so long to address the character’s sexuality.

Others have openly wondered whether if Blizzard will make the queerness an active part of these characters’ identities, or if their sexuality will ultimately become trivia.

“I mean, that’s great that #Soldier76 is gay but let’s be f**king real. #Overwatch is never going to do anything with it,” wrote one Twitter user.