“I do wonder if they really understand Korea,”
January 14, 2020 1:13 PM   Subscribe

How An Overwatch Skin Left Some Of D.Va's Biggest Fans Feeling Betrayed [Kotaku]
“Criticisms of D.va’s skins as well as those from other characters since Overwatch’s 2016 launch represent the friction that the game has between its fans and the cultures from which they borrow. Overwatch presents the fantasy of a global village from an overwhelmingly white and Western vantage point, full of stereotypes, jokes, and reductions. For much of the Western fanbase and perhaps to the developers themselves, a skin might seem innocuous. But the Overwatch team has routinely made poor choices with their cosmetics that range from atonal (Brigitte’s riot police skin) to straight up offensive Pharah skin that is a mish-mash of tribal designs. D.Va’s skins, which have alienated some of that character’s biggest fans, add to that pile of problems.”
Nico Deyo examines the ways in which Blizzard has undermined one of its most resonating characters. ['Academy D. Va Skin' Announcement]

• D.Va’s Black Cat gothic lolita skin misses the mark [Polygon]
“If they wanted to give D.Va an iconic Korean look, there are tons of designs they could have done with Korean street fashion or even styles from big K-pop music videos. Just about everyone would have whipped out their wallets if Blizzard put D.Va in sailor uniform from Girls’ Generation’s Genie. It just sucks that D.Va was reduced to a generic Asian character in a game where different cultures make up such an important part of every character’s backstory and personality, but everyone gets a bad skin once. I mean, Pharah has her Native American Raindancer and Thunderbird skins, despite being Egyptian. (Though apparently Blizzard went back and also said she has Native American blood from her dad! What a coincidence!) A lot of people don’t like Black Cat D.Va, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel the same way. The mech itself is pretty cute, though it just doesn’t make sense to me (and a lot of others).” ['Black cat D.Va Skin' Announcement]
posted by Fizz (9 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is too bad, clearly they're just throwing stuff out at random without really thinking about it too hard.

Give me a schoolgirl and gothic lolita skin for Winston and then we can all move on.
posted by GuyZero at 1:43 PM on January 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

So are they just going to tell us one day that D.Va's dad was secretly japanese or something?
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:45 PM on January 14, 2020

Yet another way that capitalism annihilates context. Any internal consistency to the characters is secondary to what they think will sell to the biggest audience.

To be honest, D.Va getting a police officer skin was already a problem for me, and that was years ago. And of course there's Blizzard's spectacular cowardice on the Hong Kong front. I just don't have a lot of faith in Blizzard to do the right thing anymore, for their games or for society in general.
posted by chrominance at 2:48 PM on January 14, 2020 [10 favorites]

Go Omnics!
posted by Windopaene at 3:35 PM on January 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I seem to remember the D Va bunny logo is (was?) used by some Korean feminist groups, this is a shame. Overwatch was enormous in Korea when I was over there, next to League of Legends
posted by Chaffinch at 2:04 AM on January 15, 2020

Yup, the group is mentioned in the Kotaku article: FAMERZ, formerly known as the Nationa D.va Association. Several members are quoted in the article.
posted by chrominance at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2020

There's always been a tension with D.va because Blizzard wants to have its cake and eat it too. They're happy with her being hailed as a feminist icon but still want to please the "dva is my waifu" contingent, and you really can't do both.
posted by storytam at 11:35 AM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Overwatch team does way better on diversity than other games, which I think makes it especially galling when they fall short. (Anyone remember TF2, where you could have any hat you liked, but only male characters from European cultures?)

It's kind of baffling that Overwatch is huge in Korea, and yet there's only one Korean character. (And just one Chinese character.) It puts a lot of pressure on poor D.Va. Personally I wish they'd do another of the MEKA pilots.

I expect they get feedback from one large group of Koreans: professional Overwatch players. Unfortunately they're almost all male and I'd guess they loved the Academy skin. I wish they'd ask Geguri to design a D.Va skin.
posted by zompist at 4:51 PM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

If there's going to be a second MEKA pilot, it'll come with Overwatch 2. They've at least given a little thought to them, based on the background decorations in the MEKA Base map.
posted by Scattercat at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2020

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