A popular hero at the center of one of the hottest video games around was just revealed to be gay, and fans are freaking out
- Solider 76 is one of the original heroes of "Overwatch," the massively popular first-person shooter that debuted in May 2016.
- "Overwatch" creator Activision Blizzard recently released an official short story that describes a romantic relationship between Soldier 76 and a man named Vincent.
- The revelation was largely met with an enthusiastic response.
- Solider 76 is the second "Overwatch" character to be identified as queer. Tracer, a British hero, was confirmed to be a lesbian in an official comic book from 2016.
A short story tie-in to one of the most popular games in the world revealed that one of the game's most recognizable 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, Solider 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.
While the relationship is just a small anecdote in the larger story, it served as confirmation for long-held speculation about Solider 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." Michael Chu, the lead writer of "Overwatch," later confirmed on Twitter that Solider 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.
One fan pointed out that the picture of Jack and Vincent was present in the same comic featuring Tracer's lesbian relationship:
Another bisexual fan showed off his Soldier 76 jacket with pride:
Well-known esports champion Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, who is gay, made an affectionate (but slightly risqué) joke on his Twitter, too.
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 skeptical 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.
Thanks for all the messages about "Bastet"!- Michael Chu (@westofhouse) January 7, 2019
Jack and Vincent were in a romantic relationship many years ago. Both identify as gay. ❤️