Overwatch 2 may be a sequel, but it seems that it loves cop skins just as much as the original game. A brand-new bundle recently dropped in the in-game shop called Constable Tracer, which puts Tracer in a goofy British cop outfit, complete with absurd hat and twirly mustache. The $10 bundle also includes a police badge weapon charm and a spray that shows Constable Tracer emerging from a police box.
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Constable Tracer marks the third time Blizzard has released a police-related skin for Overwatch characters. An Officer D.Va skin was introduced in 2017, which put the 17-year-old in a more casual cop uniform and turned her mech into a walking cop car complete with sirens. While it’s certainly tone deaf, it pales in comparison to what they came up with next.
In 2019, as part of its annual Overwatch anniversary event, Blizzard introduced the Riot Police Brigitte skin. Yes, in May of 2019, while America was reckoning with clear and consistent proof that police brutality overwhelmingly affects communities of color and witnessing how protests against that brutality were often met with increasingly militarized police forces, Blizzard thought it was a good idea to give a character with a shield a Riot Police skin. Oof.
Kotaku reached out to Blizzard for a comment regarding the ideology behind this latest cop skin.
The in-game cop skins feel like Blizzard is saying the quiet part very, very loud. Overwatch characters are, essentially, cops who were forced to become vigilantes after their organization is disbanded following investigations into some of their ethically questionable and legally shaky tactics. In the game’s lore, that organization was created to combat what’s known as the Omnic Crisis, which is when the robots running robot factories went rogue and started producing evil omnics that went on killing sprees.
Tracer’s first mission saw her dispatched to quell an omnic uprising led by Null Sector (an omnic revolutionary group often referred to as terrorists) in King’s Row, London. The uprising broke out after omnics were denied basic human rights and forced to live in squalor underneath the ritzy city. Overwatch was banned from intervening in the uprising, but did anyway. Interestingly enough, the Tracer cop skin comes not long before Overwatch 2 adds its newest character, Rammatra, to the game—who is the leader of that very same terrorist organization Tracer was sent to stop. I wonder how he’d feel about seeing Tracer in a cop skin?
If you’re a new Overwatch 2 player, or even an original Overwatch player who skipped the PvE events and the opening cinematic, you probably don’t know that many in-game characters were once members of a global police force with virtually unfettered reign. That’s why this Tracer skin is so incredibly frustrating: Blizzard could choose to keep the “cop” bit quiet, but seems determined to shout it from the rooftops of King’s Row—ya know, the place where the cops were sent to violently quell an uprising.
And while it’s cute to see Constable Tracer (canonically a lesbian) doing a little gender-bending, Blizzard could achieve the same effect by giving her a Freddie Mercury-inspired skin. It would go quite nicely with Moira’s Bowie look, and it wouldn’t have any of the problematic implications that come with adding yet another police-themed cosmetic into the game. Interestingly, Overwatch has yet to drop a cop skin for the most appropriate character: Roadhog.