We exist in a world where reality and perceived reality are often two very different things. Perceived reality is seeing the things the way they ought to be or we hope to be while reality is how something truly exists. The Tracer argument is a clear illustration of this ideology. In an early post to this very site here, the discussion quickly became heated between commenters. While the author I believe stated his though clearly and concisely in a healthy way, I could not help but feel a bit different. For this reason I wanted to discuss with you, the reader, the other side of the argument in an open healthy dialogue. I am not asking you to agree with me, but I am asking that you read my thoughts with an open mindset.
I believe there are three contributing factors that effect why this decision to remove the character pose was the right one to make; however, before I mention these three reasons let me first say it should not have been changed for a moral pressuring from a fan or by pressure from a mob. We live in a world with rules whether we like it or not. For some those rules are mandated by a government, but for others they are mandated by a cultural level of acceptance. In most modern countries, the government plays a very small role in determining what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the media market. While they enforce the rules, the culture makes the rules. How does this apply to the current situation you might ask? Well first, this means that the creative artist knows certain sections of the populous will accept a creative decision and others will not.
Let’s use R-rated movies as an example. If, in the US for example, I want a movie to be acceptable for a G-rating then there are guidelines which much be followed whether I believe it to be right or wrong. If nudity or cursing is present then I have already guaranteed that the G-rating will by out of my reach. This is not merely because of a law that is in place, but because of the level of public acceptance here. The three contributing factors that determine how and what I make as a developer are what my desired audience is, what public acceptance is, and what the law will allow as a result. These three factors determine the creative license I will allow myself and my team to have. Fair or not these are the rules we must abide by as a culture. These rules can change and evolve over time through hard work, but as it stands now we are subject to the rules of the culture in which we live.
As it pertains to the Tracer pose, it is easier for me to understand and agree with their decision to remove the animation. Based on Jefrey’s description of the decision making process, it seems that they were going for a broader acceptance in terms of age appropriate material. This was their decision to make, and if it was made under the assumption that it would be culturally accepted without issue then I can understand going back to a decision for modesty that they almost selected from the beginning. Clearly they do not seem bothered by the expression of frustration from the customer base as they had an internal discussion that already led to an alternate uniform.
The problem is that some would look at this situation and say that their creative license had been limited. This is true, but our creative license is limited at any moment of the day quite often. I could not walk naked down the street (be glad) because I would be arrested for indecent exposure; however, there are certain communities where I could live. Drinking as much as I like and expressing my drunken pleasure in public will get me a public intoxication arrest. Driving over the speed limit will get me a speeding ticket. The problem is not that our creative freedoms are limited. The issue arises when our creative freedoms begin to change toward acceptance for some and not with others. This is a growth process. For some the growth happens sooner rather than later, and for others it never happens at all. Some things needed to change, like racial tensions and laws discriminating against women, while other things can stay the same without being damaging.
Overwatch is going to be a wildly successful game enjoyed by millions. The creative team seems to have put together a well crafted piece of art that many will enjoy. If they want their product to be desired, accepted, and tolerated by the populist at large then some exceptions must be made regarding what offering they are going to make. The only thing we can do is control how we respond to them and toward one another. Be good to each other, hold healthy conversation, and be willing to listen before speaking. These are the elements that change the conversation for the better.
Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are about the removal of the pose.