His name is Grace. He won’t punch you in the face.
I’m a Mercy main, I’m black and… I’d have played this character in a second instead of playing Lucio first.
Full story is, I was on Junkenstein’s Revenge Endless mode when I got pinged on Discord. I realised this was several Discord servers pinging me. About this concept art in particular.
1 — One Discord decided to codename him Grace and make him French, I provided names, French and Algerian as well as birthplaces (Banlieue RPZ, wesh!)
2 — They knew I had extensive PoC Gérard Lacroix headcanons (Widowmaker’s deceased husband I imagined to be Carribean French and thus, a black man.)
3 — Another person on Tumblr thought about making them of North African descent. I am myself of Algerian descent. Another talked about making them trans and I provided nods to this person in the discussion, including supportive parents.
4 — Overwatch went to great lengths to represent diverse people, even if it’s a bit ambiguous and still navigating the brighter side of tropes. (No one can deny Doomfist is a walking Boxer Black Guy Who’s Also A Villain Trope)
And yet, the only acknowledgement that there are people of colour in countries where we’d like to think everybody is white seems to be Reaper, though his Origins Edition skin “Blackwatch Reyes” revealing a dark skin and a Hispanic name.
So here I am, seeing this picture, this golden occasion to bring more representation to Europe than three not so different white women and find myself suddenly disappointed in Overwatch’s art direction.
This disappointment won’t last. Overwatch has tried and succeeded (more often than not) in bringing a lot of representation with a Lesbian main character, men of colour who aren’t evil (Lucio ❤) and gender non conforming strong women who also happen to pack in the brains department. While it would be difficult to implement in a game as global as Overwatch (try to find official gender neutral pronouns for people in all languages supported and/or featured, I dare you), I also love Lynx Seventeen and I hope to see them in more Overwatch Transmedia initiatives.
But where my Afropeans at? Where are my fellow Europeans of colour? Can we see a German Crusader remove their helmet and reveal their Turkish roots? Can D.Va meet an elderly Kayane and profess her admiration for the French and East Asian World Champion’s long and distinguished carreer in esports?
Or can Grace be a thing outside of fanfiction? I damn well hope so.
(I have 10k words for now, soon in a transformative works archive near you.)