Over the course of a couple of tweets, Michael Chu, Lead Story Developer for Overwatch, has confused most of Overwatch’s fanbase due to a lore discrepancy. According to him, D.Va isn’t specifically a StarCraft pro gamer, only a pro gamer in general. This clashes with what literally everyone who pays attention to the lore has known from day one, but Chu waves it away as “a common misconception.”
Yeah, common. Common among the whole world, including Jeff Kaplan. In a recent Forbes interview, the creator of Overwatch himself stated that, “We have D.Va as a StarCraft pro.”
In case you’re not caught up on Overwatch lore, here’s the rundown:
In the near future, humanity succeeded in creating sentient robots called Omnics. Unfortunately for them, Omnics immediately turned around and rose up against the humans that couldn’t decide whether they were tools or people. In a move reminiscent of Pacific Rim, a kaiju-like Omnic emerged from the depths of the ocean off the coast of South Korea and began attacking.
The military managed to repel the gigantic Omnic, but unfortunately it wasn’t destroyed, merely forced back into the depths. After analyzing the battles it’d been in, it adapted to the techniques and strategies the military used and rose once again a few years later, ready to fight again.
Up until one of those battles, the South Korean military had been using remote-controlled battle robots called MEKAs to combat the threat. However, one of the Omnic’s adaptations was a signal jammer, rendering the ‘remote’ part of that useless. The military was forced to use piloted MEKAs, but they didn’t have anybody within their ranks with the needed reflexes.
So they turned to the pro gamers.
D.Va was specifically stated to be the most elite StarCraft player in the world, rising to the top spot at the age of 16 and remaining undefeated in all competitions for the next three years. No other games are ever mentioned, and so it was assumed that StarCraft was her specialty. In fact, her “Raising my APM!” voice-line is a reference to the ‘actions per minute’ mechanic of the StarCraft series, basically determining how many actions a person can take per turn.
Until recently, D.Va even had a page on StarCraft’s World Championship Series website. The WCS is a place where bios of all the top players for StarCraft can be found, so the fact that D.Va’s page specifically stated that “at the age of 16, [she] became the #1 ranked player in the world and proceeded to go undefeated for the next three years in all competitions,” is a pretty clear indication that she was a pro StarCraft gamer. It also stated that she toured around the world for exhibitions and competitions, as using the Wayback machine to view the page can show.
Unfortunately, that page has now been deleted.
Now, since this issue has been brought to people’s attention, Michael Chu has taken to the Blizzard forums to clarify further. “Misconception probably wasn’t the right way to describe it,” he said, “more like something that we haven’t clarified properly. I think the best I can do here is give the backstory (har har) on how we got here:
Going back to when we announced D.Va as a hero, we had been experimenting with using different methods of teasing new characters. We thought it’d be fun to use the StarCraft WCS site and slip D.Va in as she had a background as a pro gamer (this all happened before she was officially announced). At the time, I actually worried that it would be taken as canon, but I was hoping elements like the fact her preferred race was listed as “random” and the fact she couldn’t have competed in the current series would help defray that. In hindsight, yeah… pretty confusing.
D.Va is absolutely a world champion professional gamer which was what got her recruited into MEKA in the first place. However her best game wasn’t StarCraft (which was what I was attempting to clarify). We imagined that she was most known and specialized in a game with a skillset that was closer mapped to the skills that she (and the other MEKA pilots) utilized while piloting their mechs.
That said, D.Va has definitely played more than her fair share of StarCraft (as she references in some of her lines in Overwatch) and a slew of other games. Bonus fact: StarCraft is one of D.Va’s father’s favorite games! And she was pretty good at it.
Ultimately, I totally recognize that with the way we initially teased D.Va and since we didn’t specifically say otherwise in her official backstory, the distinction was pretty unclear.”
Except this doesn’t make any sense either. She was described by the lead concept artist Arnold Tsang and also the creator of Overwatch Jeff Kaplan himself as a StarCraft pro, she was advertised in Heroes of the Storm as a fictional StarCraft pro with accompanying interactions with StarCraft heroes present in HotS, and she even has a voice line about never being able to beat her dad at StarCraft.
Heck, the lead image for this article IS FROM A PC GAMER ARTICLE ABOUT HOW THE NEW OVERWATCH HERO IS A STARCRAFT PRO!
There are a myriad of reasons that I can think of for them to remove this piece of her lore. There’s always the possibility that they’re moving away from the gamer aspect of her past and choosing to focus more on her career in the military’s MEKA program, but there’s no reason to get rid of just the specific fact she was a StarCraft player. There’s also the possibility that they’re retconning the StarCraft pro portion out to make way for something else, but in that case, why not say that it’s a retcon? Why go to all this trouble to make it seem like we were all just mistaken? I suppose it would make more sense for an FPS player to be drafted into something like the MEKA program, but why not just say that they’re changing it to make more sense?
Until they spill, we won’t know.
But even if she was actually never specifically stated to be a StarCraft pro and we’ve all been suffering a massive shared hallucination a la the Berenstein Bears debate, that’s a pretty huge mistake to make. Especially for people like Jeff Kaplan and Arnold Tsang, who created her.