We’ve been noted by several watchers that Blizzard, in response to Overwatch female character designs criticism, added a new heroine to the game’s roster, Zarya.

paganpaladin said:

What are your thoughts on Zarya from Overwatch?

shswildcat59 submitted:

i noticed this wasn’t submitted yet. i could totally be wrong. but Blizzard’s new game Overwatch just released a new character and i think she looks fairly decent. the boob/sleeveless shirt is a bit meh? but hey its probably supposed to be form fitting/Underarmour type shirt so maybe its supposed to look like that http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/heroes/zarya/

Sas Alexander submitted:

So, I have seen Overwatch mentioned here before, and I just found Blizzard added 2 new characters to the game. One of them is Zarya, a muscular, Russian woman in a pretty cool armor. And why? Because the fans asked for diversity! She still have a booblate, but it’s at least a progression.

kureijiatisuto said:

I’m curious if any of you have seen the new female character announced for Overwatch. Her name is Zarya. She isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Thoughts?

Gotta admit, she looks glorious. Not as glory-ous as Joe Keatinge/Sophie Campbell Glory, but close, and we sincerely hope she’s a start for more genuine body diversity among Blizzard’s heroines.

Still, why the boobplate? And why couldn’t they do this in the first place, without the need to be called out on bingo-worthy designs and the disturbing gender dimorphism in Overwatch?


With Blizzard’s less-than-stellar track record, Zarya is merely a baby step. A step in the right direction, but nonetheless a baby step.


In isolation, I have to admit those guns alone make her pretty awesome despite the boobplate.  However, much like with another “band aid” female character, Bellona – I can’t help but see a lot of issues with this:

  • Maybe it’s just the haircut, way they’ve stylized her features and the gorget… but I can’t help but think she reminds me of a certain man and if he was a visual inspiration it’s all kinds of problematic.
  • Fans asked for diversity, so they got the muscular Russian, heavy gunner stereotype.
  • All the problems that were in Overwatch before are still there now
  • Blizzard have a history of saying they recognize a problem, they’re going to fix it, making a token effort to look like improving and then going back to their old ways.

If someone promises to do something, delivers trash and then says they’ll fix it – it’s kind of nice if they bring you a little gift… but only if they actually fix what they promised.  Blizzard hasn’t done that, they’ve just done a rush job that’s broken them out of “all women are skinny” mold.

They haven’t gone and fixed the original designs, they haven’t admitted they made some major design mistakes or fixed anything in the line up aside from add a new female character.


I mean don’t get me wrong… I’m thrilled that they decided to make a female heavy weapons expert and I hope that this helps every studio get over their fear of creating female characters that don’t look like Barbie – but it doesn’t fix any of the other problems, or show any willingness to.

– wincenworks

more Overwatch on BABD | about double standard in Overwatch character design | more about character design on BABD | more about double standards on BABD

edit: Changed Sophie Campbell’s name accordingly in my comment. Thanks to starryeyeddowner for the heads up!
edit 2: fixed the link to above artist’s Glory gallery


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