Overwatch characters Pharah and Baptiste confirmed to be queer: ‘Holy s**t!’
Video game Overwatch has revealed that fan-favourite characters Pharah and Baptiste are both queer.
First-person “hero shooter” Overwatch is known for providing its characters back stories across various mediums rather than strictly through in-game story modes – and in the latest addition, two more heroes have been confirmed as queer for Overwatch 2‘s Pride Month celebrations.
While the Activision Blizzard franchise’s trademark animated shorts have served as exposition for many of Overwatch‘s most notable players, such as Tracer and Mercy, the short story As You Are, part of the game’s sequel, serves as the basis for both Pharah and Baptiste coming out – as lesbian and bisexual respectively.
In the narrative, while the pair are travelling with cybernetic cowboy Cole Cassidy, Baptiste asks Pharah whether she and Cole are together, to which she replies that she’s a lesbian.
Baptiste subsequently reveals a mild crush on Cole, confirming his bisexuality – in-line with in-game voice acting that shows the character flirting with male and female members of the cast.
Pharah, whose real name is Fareeha Amari, is an Egyptian woman who originally enlisted in a military unit to help defend her local community before serving alongside the fictional, heroic Overwatch team with a jetpack and a rocket launcher to deal out justice following the “Omnic Crisis”: a robot rebellion.
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Baptiste, meanwhile, is a Haitian combat medic orphaned by the rebellion. He originally worked for Talon – a terrorist organisation locked in a struggle with the game’s heroes to try to kick-start a second crisis – before defecting to Overwatch.
The pair join Overwatch‘s ever-expanding list of queer characters. One of the game’s flagship heroes, Tracer, was revealed as a lesbian in a 2016 comic, while Solider 76 later received his own short story, Bastet, confirming he was gay.
The latest addition to Overwatch 2‘s roster is Lifeweaver, a support character confirmed to be pansexual by lead narrative designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie.
Overwatch has also released a series of posters “celebrating [their] LGBTQ+ heroes and the community they proudly represent”.
While some reactions to both As You Are and the posters have been positive, players have pointed to both Activision Blizzard’s controversial past and negative reception to the recently axed “P vs E” (player versus environment) story mode that was promised at the launch of Overwatch 2.
“Holy s**t, Bap confirmed bi, Pharah confirmed lesbian,” wrote one fan.
“But another said sarcastically: “Imagine this in the PvE mode being told in the game. That’d be amazing.”
This was a great story, and I get that the team that develops the game and the team that creates these are separate, but let’s hear these lovely stories through the medium of the PVE mode y’all promise please 🙏🏻— Nicholasvanj (@Nicholasvanj) May 31, 2023
Blizzard devs: when they fuck up and cause another controversy. pic.twitter.com/iPHahTw7bA— kektastrophy (@tayden47563) May 31, 2023
Overwatch 2 is available as a free-to-play download, although the game features many in-game transactions.
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