February 1, 2024

Why is Soldier 76 Gay?

Two years after it was first revealed, the gruff Overwatch hero soldier 76 is gay. It was confirmed in a new short story for the popular hero shooter, Bastet. The short story focuses on steely sniper Ana and her former partner in the military, Soldier 76. In the story, he mentions a past relationship with a man named Vincent.

When the reveal came out, many queer gamers jumped for joy. It was a big step for Overwatch to have a gay hero and to have that hero be such a major character in the game. But a recent study published in Scientific American found that when a gaming character is revealed to be LGBTQ, they can see a drop in their popularity and pick rate (how often players choose to play as them).

The hero is currently the only canonically queer hero in Overwatch, which has 29 playable characters. But this reveal is far from the first time that the company has hinted at his sexuality. In a holiday comic last year, the character Tracer was revealed to have a girlfriend and the same photo that Soldier 76 is gazing at in the Bastet short story can also be seen there.

It's unclear whether Blizzard will expand on that part of the story, but with Pride month coming up, they may do something to celebrate the hero's inclusion in the community. Overwatch is all about big events, modelled after real-world celebrations, so it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to have a limited-time event that focuses on this aspect of the hero's background.

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