Two days ago, the internet celebrated when Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind popular online shooter game Overwatch, revealed that one of its most popular characters is gay.
Now, one YouTuber is claiming that another popular online shooter game has done the same.
YouTuber “Drift0r” is making headlines for releasing a video stating that Call of Duty: Black Ops has a gay character.
The Black Ops franchise is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. The gaming mechanics have the player assuming the role of a foot soldier who can wield various firearms and weapons. Then Black Ops 3 introduced Specialists who are 10 different soldiers with either a special weapon or ability.
The series of games is primarily famous for its online battling feature, so there’s rarely any story campaign or narrative structure to the games. As such, the specialists are often thought of as just avatars for the different playable classes and abilities. But again, Drift0r says otherwise.
In his 7 minute video, the YouTuber claims that Treyarch has subtlety hinted at one specialist’s sexual orientation.
After some rambling and over explaining in order to not offend, Drift0r eventually cites a comic series which sought to flesh out the specialists’ backstories.
One comic followed David “Prophet” Wilkes. Prophet is a soldier who underwent several surgeries and enhancements to become a cyborg fit with various augmentations (which is expressed in his teleporting ability in-game).
Prophet’s comic sees the solider adventuring with a pre-war buddy named Sam. Spoilers. Sam doesn’t make it.
Near the end of the comic, Sam is fatally wounded and Prophet shares an intimate moment with his dying comrade.
The moment is touching and tender, and it gives the implication that there was more going on between the two. Unfortunately, it only hints at the character's sexual orientation and doesn’t outright say it.
This comic is the basis for Drift0r’s entire video, which is making the rounds on gaming sites. He then says that he did “homework” to confirm the relationship, but does not supply any info about that research.
Let's be honest, Drift0r made this video for clicks and attention, and it ultimately worked. His video is being shared on gaming and geek-focused websites.
That said, he doesn't provide much information besides his own speculation. While yes, the relationship does seem tender in that moment, it isn't an outright confirmation. As such, his declaration of the character's sexual orientation is a bit hasty.
In addition, neither Treyarch nor Activision have yet to make a public statement on this development, but we have reached out for comment.
Right now, it looks like the implication may be valid, but it is still nothing behind hinting and implication. (Looks like Treyarch took lessons from Hollywood).
As for those who are wondering, “Why does this matter?” or “Who cares?” Well, you did enough to click on this article, didn’t you?
Jokes aside, any representation for LGBTQ people in the gaming world is appreciated. This is especially true when you recognize the great turns for representation that have happened in just the last year.
Top gamer Dominique McLean came out as gay in the Summer of 2018. He then did it again when he won the Best ESports Player Award at the 2018 Game Awards. During his acceptance speech, he proclaimed that he’s a black, gay furry who’s also the world’s best gamer.
Then, South Korean video gamer Hyeon “Effect” Hwang came out as Bisexual in late December saying that he was “finally putting down this burden after the hard time of hiding.”
Then Blizzard Entertainment executive Adam Fletcher came out as gay through a thread of tweets reading, “I’ve typed this tweet maybe 10+ times this year because I haven’t figured out a proper way of saying it… I’m gay."
And, of course, there was the reveal that Soldier 76 in Overwatch is gay too.
While some gamers may feel this is throwing LGBTQ issues down their throats, there are still a plethora of characters revealed to have straight partners in games like Overwatch and CoD: Black Ops. As such, the reveal of gay characters in this game is something to not only be concerned with, but to appreciate.