Overwatch 2 Removes “Anti-Homelessness Architecture” From Benches Following Single Fan Request
Blizzard Entertainment changed the graphics of a group of benches on one of their Overwatch 2 maps after a single fan accused the seats of featuring “anti-homeless architecture”.
RELATED: Blizzard Entertainment Now Requires World of Warcraft Players to Sign an Anti-Harassment “Social Contract” Before Logging In
The initial complaint was filed on June 6 when Twitter user @ClearTogether took to the social media platform to to affirm“I’ve been thinking about it since the beta, so I’m just going to say it since no one else has… The anti-homeless architecture of the Midtown benches makes me super disappointed.”
“Benches like this are designed specifically to make homeless people miserable,” they added.
@ClearTogether’s issue with the armrests featured on benches in the New York City map appears to stem from their real-world use as a measure to prevent homeless people from sleeping on such public items.
Referencing former OW Senior Manager Jeff Kaplan 2016 explanation that “Our vision [for the world of Overwatch] was more of a future where there was conflict, but we want a bright, ambitious vision for the future – a future I want to live in one day,” @ClearTogether continued“[With] Overwatch being an “ambitious universe, I find it depressing at worst and out of place at best”.
RELATED: Activision Blizzard Blames Call of Duty: Vanguard’s Poor WWII Sales
“Retained from posting about this for about a month because I’m worried maybe it’s just that I’m too sensitive?” @ClearTogether confessed. “But honestly, there is no way around the reality of this design that was chosen. I have little hope [sic] change, but it’s so sad to see in Overwatch which is a “bright future”.
Despite getting less than 500 total likes and just over 60 retweets, it looks like @ClearTogether’s comments were heard by Blizzard Entertainment, as three weeks, two days, and a beta update from Overwatch 2 later features were removed from the map.
“Thank you so much to the Overwatch team for deciding to change this!!” rented @ClearTogether on June 29, showing a screenshot of the new benches. “Honestly, it’s a small change overall, but it goes a long way. You guys are great.”
RELATED: California prosecutor resigns from Activision Blizzard lawsuit over alleged interference by Governor Gavin Newsom
Their thanks later drew a response from Overwatch’s narrative designer and lead writer, Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, who says @ClearTogether“Those are great comments.”
“Additionally, we decided very early in the development of the map story that Overwatch NY provided free and safe housing for people,” added Jurgens-Fyhrie. “Some of that is in the VO map, with more details planned for later. ‘How we hope the world will be’ is a big part of our story development.”
“It’s incredible !!! and very uplifting!!” gushed @ClearTogether in turn. “And I look forward to learning more about the tradition, as always. Thanks so much guys for hearing/taking my feedback, I’m so glad it helped the vision!!
RELATED: Overwatch removes ‘Z’ from Zarya skins in apparent response to use of symbol by pro-Putin supporters of Ukraine invasion
While the quick response to a single fan’s complaint may seem unwarranted to some, it’s possible Activision Blizzard is simply desperate to take any avenue of goodwill as the entity faced to nearly year-long PR disasters since 2018.
These included the Diablo Immortal ad mocking “april fools day out of season“, their stripping of a Hearthstone grandmaster of his earnings because he voiced his support for Hong Kong independence and their mishandling of Warcraft III: Reforged.
According to Activision Blizzard’s first quarter 2021 financial report, their games have also lost 11 million players since 2018.
However, the final nail in their reputation coffin came in 2021 when they were sued by the State of California for encouraging and allowing a “mixed boys workplace culturewithin the company.
RELATED: Activision Blizzard’s new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion will ensure “diverse and inclusive perspectives” in game design, storytelling, and more.
Since then, Activision Blizzard has been desperate to be perceived as kind and understanding, with its efforts including removing references to accused developers (and renaming McCree from Overwatch) in their titles and censoring “sexualized” paintings. and inappropriate World of Warcraft jokes in order to make it more “inclusive”.
The most recent and dramatic blowback was the revelation of the “Diversity Space Toola tool intended to literally judge and quantify the superficial “diversity” of a given video game character.
However, after facing backlash from their egregious tokenization efforts and despite previously claiming it had been tested by their developers, Activision Blizzard insisted the tool had not been used. in the development of active games.
What do you think of Blizzard’s bench changes on Overwatch 2’s New York map? Let us know your thoughts on social media and in the comments below!
NEXT: Activision Blizzard says internal and external investigations found no evidence of company-wide harassment issues