In case you were not able to catch what Blizzard had to show for Overwatch at PAX East, then you should know that there have been two new characters announced for the game. Not too surprising given the past of Overwatch and the fact that we all want to have as many options when it comes to our shooters online. Especially when it is all team based and set in a pretty fantastical world. This now brings us up to 14 "heroes" total to choose from in Overwatch. I use the term heroes here loosely as it is obvious that some of these characters are not going to be painted as heroes in the long run. It's just how the stereotypes of the world work I guess.
Here are the two new characters added to the Overwatch roster. We have a stereotypical gunslinger and a stereotypical "we are trying to be edgy and have a strong female character" strong female character. Glad to see that only the Russians in Overwatch can be strong and the Americans are all gun-toting murder-bots.
Overwatch — Jesse McCree
Armed with his Peacekeeper revolver, the outlaw Jesse McCree doles out justice on his own terms.
McCree had already made a name for himself as a member of the notorious Deadlock Gang, which trafficked in illicit weapons and military hardware throughout the American Southwest, when he and his associates were busted in an Overwatch sting operation. With his expert marksmanship and resourcefulness, he was given the choice between rotting in a maximum-security lockup and joining Blackwatch, Overwatch's covert ops division. He chose the latter.
Although he was initially cynical, he came to believe that he could make amends for his past sins by righting the injustices of the world. McCree appreciated the flexibility afforded to the clandestine Blackwatch, unhindered by bureaucracy and red tape. But as Overwatch's influence waned, rogue elements within Blackwatch sought to bring down the organization and turn it to their own ends. Wanting no part of the infighting, McCree set off alone and went underground.
He resurfaced several years later as a gunslinger for hire. But while McCree's talents are sought after by parties great and small, he fights only for causes he believes are just.
Overwatch — Aleksandra Zaryanova
Aleksandra Zaryanova is one of the world's strongest women, a celebrated athlete who sacrificed personal glory to protect her family, friends, and country in a time of war.
Aleksandra was born in a remote Siberian village that was on the front lines of the Omnic Crisis, which began some thirty years ago. Although Russian forces defeated the robots and shut down their omnium, the region was devastated by the conflict. Only a child at the time, Aleksandra was surrounded by the post-war destruction, and as she grew older, she swore that she would gain the strength to help her people recover.
Focusing on weightlifting and bodybuilding, Aleksandra was identified by the national athletics program as a potential star. She trained extensively, moving up the ranks while representing her country, and was expected to shatter longstanding records in the upcoming world championships.
But on the eve of the tournament, an attack came from the long-dormant Siberian omnium, and her village was thrust into war once again. Aleksandra immediately withdrew from the competition and rushed home to enlist in the local defense forces, sacrificing the life of fame and fortune she might have had.
Now she serves—a symbol to some, a stalwart fellow soldier to others. But for Aleksandra, it is a chance to use her great strength to protect the ones she loves.
Both of these new characters look like they are going to be fun when Overwatch finally comes out; or at least when the Beta launches this fall. They don't really do anything to push forward with diversity and breaking stereotypes as many have been pointing to given the "Strong Female" role that is supposed to be Zarya. This couldn't be more stereotypical in my opinion but that isn't the issue here. Just because they have an overly buff female in a game doesn't point at diversity. Maybe I am being too cynical here though. Overwatch is supposed to be a fun game and not something that is making a commentary on society in many ways. Let's just go back to that.
What do you think of the new characters for Overwatch? Do you think they are great additions or just extra fluff in the background? Let us know in the comments below.