Same character class, same style of game, three different takes on it.
Stylistic choices don’t exist in a vacuum.
Dirty Bomb really doesn’t get enough credit for it’s walking the walk when it comes to egalitarian character designs and commitment to diversity. Every mercenary has a story, a personality and gear that is suitable to them – on top of that, they’re not afraid to let things get ugly. Have a look at how Proxy (basically their equivalent of Tracer in terms of personality) looks lately:
Needless to say Sparks as a white-clad medic who’s only thoughts on her profession is “Call me Sparks. I heal. I kill. Is ironic paradox. Yadda Yadda.” is a wonderful breath of fresh air in games.
Ambra from Battleborn is certainly not ideal, but as we’ve discussed before her design reeks of the Creepy Marketing Guy influence – but they at least made her a unique character and worked in no small amount of entertaining quirk.
Mercy… oh Mercy.
Before anyone comes to say we’re taking things out of context or comparing apples to oranges, yes, all those games have their own aesthetic and we should should judge how each character looks within it.
Dirty Bomb is quite realistic, Battleborn is very cartoony and Overwatch lies somewhere in the middle.
Overwatch, out of the three, is the one which suffers from disparate stylization:
And with female cast already less diverse than male, boobplates, the staple of
unrealisticignorant female costume design, look jarrigly cartoony there.
And we’re still not okay with boobplate on Galilea, even though Battleborn is more heavily stylized.
Speaking of ensemble games with cartoony aesthetic, let’s not forget about Gigantic, which while not boobplate-free (on their healer character, no less), does really good with gender and age balance among their cast.
This week’s throwback: a reminder that Blizzard’s bland approach to female character design really pales in comparison to competition.
Also that Battleborn never had to be asked to deliver Black (or Black-coded, considering the sci-fi fantasy setting) playable women.
R.I.P. Battleborn, a potentially great game that committed a pre-emptive suicide by getting released shortly before very similar product from Blizzard while having barely a fraction of huge marketing power and none of religious fanbase devotion that Blizzard both has.