Overwatch 2’s openly pansexual hero may help others come out of the closet

Overwatch 2 Lifeweaver standing in front of his team
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

After playing the FPS game since 2016 and writing guide after guide about its hero roster, not much surprises me about Overwatch 2 any more; at least, that’s what I thought. 

During an interview about Overwatch 2’s latest hero, Lifeweaver, who will be playable come Overwatch 2 Season 4, the conversation turned to the new hero's pansexuality. This is a pretty momentous occasion as he is the first openly-pansexual character and one of three LGBTQ+ members on the roster. 

While I’ve always had my theories about several Overwatch characters, one brief moment in the interview stopped me in my tracks and made me think about everything I’ve missed over the last few years. 

“Tracer is a lesbian, and Soldier 76 is gay, but Lifeweaver is our first pansexual character that we’ve talked about”, lead narrative designer and writer for Overwatch 2, Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, said.

Hang on a second; Soldier 76 is gay? How is this the first time I’ve heard that this was canon? As someone who is both part of the LGBTQ+ community and is also a games journalist, I was surprised that this was the first time I was hearing that there were more LGBTQ+ characters in Overwatch 2’s roster.

While parts of the community had always felt that Soldier 76 swung this way, I wasn’t aware that Blizzard made this theory canon. A short story released in 2019 saw Soldier 76, Jack, meet up with his old ally Ana; it was here that he first referenced his ex-lover Vincent. The ex-lead writer for Overwatch, Michael Chu, subsequently confirmed Soldier’s sexuality in a Twitter post.

While I am over the moon to learn about this information, the lack of awareness surrounding Soldier 76 is a good example of how little Blizzard has previously showcased the LGBTQ+ members of the Overwatch 2 roster. However, Lifeweaver provides a promising step in the right direction that will hopefully change this fact.

Getting a [Life] Grip  

Overwatch 2 Lifeweaver laughing

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Lifeweaver signals a new wave of inclusivity for Overwatch 2. This FPS game has previously done well in other areas of diversity, thanks to the various cultures in the characters' roster. However, there was less of a spotlight on LGBTQ+ heroes. 

[Lifeweaver’s pansexuality] is something that we are making part of his core character

Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie

“Representation has always been really important to this team, and we've been looking for a way to express that more”, Jurgens-Fyhrie said. While heroes like Tracer and Soldier 76 have championed LGBTQ+ diversity, it’s great to finally see an openly pansexual hero who is celebrated for his sexuality.

“I'm very happy to say [Lifeweaver’s pansexuality] is something that we are making part of his core character”, Jurgens-Fyhrie said. “You'll see that reflected in both his in-game lines, his conversations and other material”.

But it’s not just Lifeweaver getting the new approach to LGBTQ+ showcasing; this new hero could also help some older characters make their way out of the closet. “I don't want to give any spoilers, but there's going to be some flirting going on”, Jurgens-Fyhrie said. “We're very excited to see how that's received”.

Great step forward  

Overwatch 2 Lifeweaver title screen

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

While Blizzard confirming that Lifeweaver is openly-pansexual may not seem like a huge deal initially, it’s reassuring and essential that this kind of representation isn’t an afterthought. It isn’t enough to subtly write diversity into a character’s background. However, it looks like Lifeweaver will recieve a more open treatment than his predecessors.

While a massive song and dance aren’t needed, having in-game conversations and voice lines referencing Lifeweaver’s pansexuality gives more welcome lore to Overwatch 2 and normalizes these realities. In reality, it just means that this hero is receiving the same treatment as his straight counterparts, as we see Genji and Mercy’s relationship referenced in pre-game conversations and voice-lines.

I, for one, am happy to see Blizzard making more steps to support the LGBTQ+ community in what feels like a genuine effort to expand their roster, and make the FPS game more inclusive for all who play it. 

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.