In major multiplayer games like Overwatch, what comes after a big patch is almost more interesting than what it’s in it. This is certainly a, um, standout instance of that.
As part of the latest big Overwatch beta patch, Blizzard added a new escort level, Route 66. The level is home to the notorious Deadlock Gang, of which playable character cowborg (that’s a cowboy plus a cyborg, not a robot cow) McCree used to be a part. The whole area’s littered with hints as to what the Deadlock gang was up to, who they were involved with, and how much they really, really hate McCree now that he’s turned on them. The Deadlock Gang trafficked illicit weapons to basically everyone, which sets up some fun shades of gray in Overwatch’s otherwise cheery, colorful universe.
Maniacal cowforts aren’t just about dastardly deeds, though. Even villains have lives and... needs. That brings us to the outhouse. After the recent Overwatch patch first dropped, gingerzap pointed out a bunch of easter eggs, including magazines scattered on the outhouse’s floor. They were magazines open to glossy pics of leading Overwatch ladies Symmetra and Mercy:
You don’t need to do much pondering to get what Blizzard was probably going for. To be clear, though: the Deadlock Gang appear to have been whacking it to pictures of Overwatch heroines. How’s that for a complicated relationship between good and evil? Even on the off-chance that Blizzard meant in their heart of hearts that the Deadlock Gang only brought well-worn rags into the bathroom for the articles, it’s hard not to read into it.
A couple days after the update came out, FailCraft pointed out that the magazines had disappeared:
I don’t know why exactly Blizzard chose to remove the magazines, but I have a couple hunches. I mean, the joke is worth a chuckle, and I will contend that we don’t usually get this kind of revealing look into the lives of video game characters, but I’m not sure an implied masturbation gag fits Overwatch’s generally PG/PG-13-rated vibe. Also, let’s be real here: when you’re trying to empower your lady characters after years of ups and downs in that area, turning them into canonical masturbation fodder isn’t the best look.
To be frank, I don’t find the gag too distasteful in the grand scheme of things. I laughed a bit the first time I saw it. But Overwatch is in beta, and silly as it might sound, this is exactly the kind of thing betas are all about. Blizzard’s figuring out what works in their game and what doesn’t.
On the upside, some of Route 66's other bonus bits land so hard that it’s like your funny bone is being pelted with easter eggs. For instance, there’s a check signed by Diablo character Deckard Cain, and it has a functional barcode. If you scan it, it returns the message, “CAIN LIVES.” But does he live on in the Overwatch universe? The Diablo universe? Both? Somewhat fittingly, given the larger topic at hand in this post, the plot thickens.