Update: Jeff Kaplan has released a more in-depth statement on the matter and why they are making the change as well as reopening the thread for discussion:
Well, that escalated quickly…
While I stand by my previous comment, I realize I should have been more clear. As the game director, I have final creative say over what does or does not go into the game. With this particular decision, it was an easy one to make—not just for me, but for the art team as well. We actually already have an alternate pose that we love and we feel speaks more to the character of Tracer. We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively. That the pose had been called into question from an appropriateness standpoint by players in our community did help influence our decision—getting that kind of feedback is part of the reason we’re holding a closed beta test—but it wasn’t the only factor. We made the decision to go with a different pose in part because we shared some of the same concerns, but also because we wanted to create something better.
We wouldn’t do anything to sacrifice our creative vision for Overwatch, and we’re not going to remove something solely because someone may take issue with it. Our goal isn’t to water down or homogenize the world, or the diverse cast of heroes we’ve built within it. We have poured so much of our heart and souls into this game that it would be a travesty for us to do so.
We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay. That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it.
If it isn’t, feel free to continue sharing your concerns, thoughts, and feedback about this and other issues you may have with the game, please just keep the discussion respectful.
(btw, unlocking this thread. please continue the discussion here)
Debate over it still continues, and other videos mocking it some have come out, like esteemed Youtuber Totalbiscuit's which you can see here.
The thread in question was started by a user going by the name of "Fipps" on the official Overwatch forums. Fipps goes to describe their interpretation of Tracer as a character and how they feel the pose is not in line with Blizzard's characterization of Tracer:
WHAT? What about this pose has anything to do with the character you're building in tracer? It's not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.
After 11 pages of discussion, Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan stated that they will be removing the pose from the game:
We'll replace the pose. We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented.
Apologies and we'll continue to try to do better.
The thread itself went on for 11 pages over three days with various points of discussion. Posters brought up that other characters both male and female had similar poses. The question of Tracer's clothing was raised as well. For example, some posters questioned whether the issue was with the pose itself or with Tracer's skintight pants.
As one would expect, articles and videos have come out about the topic such as this video by YouTuber Unit Lost:
The original thread has been locked. This is a common occurrence on the Blizzard forums after these has been a response to the topic by a Blizzard employee. The Overwatch Beta Feedback forum have since been inundated with further discussion on the matter - here's an archive snapshot from around 6:00PM Eastern Time.
This isn't the first time this year that a particular view of a woman's posterior has caused controversy. The Street Fighter V character R. Mika had a butt slap animation changed prior to the release of the game.
We've reached out to Blizzard for comment.
I personally think that removing a pose, animation, or whatever that doesn't suit the character is a perfectly reasonable justification. However, to my mind, the complaint seems to be "Sexuality isn't a major part of Tracer's character, I interpret this post as sexual, therefore remove it." The response by Game Director Jeff Kaplan is frankly very worrying to me. We have a handful of people taking offense at something compared to most other players (judging by a perusal of the thread) and something from the game being subsequently removed so as not to upset this minority of people. If games, art, literature, or anything else creative is to be changed based on the sensibilities of an upset vocal minority then we're going to start seeing some very bland and boring things in the coming years.
Do you think it was right of Blizzard to remove the "Over The Shoulder" pose from Tracer? Do you feel that the pose is not fitting to her character? Let us know in the comments below!