Overwatch has caused quite a stir in the past couple of weeks. The developer behind the game, Blizzard Entertainment, has been facing huge backlash after Hearthstone Grandmaster champion Ng Wai Chung or "Blitzchung" was banned after speaking about his thoughts on the political situation in Hong Kong. The backlash and controversy have now boiled over in a week that was supposed to celebrate Overwatch's release on the Switch and the launch of 2019's Halloween event.
The incredibly popular team- shooter, Overwatch, has had it's social media posts over-run with comments about the political situation in Hong Kong. There have also been staff strikes over the situation. Blizzard has yet to make an official statement about the banning of Blitzchung, its political position or their reasoning. The eyes of the world are on Hong Kong and Blizzard may have reached a point where silence is actually damaging their brand.
Nintendo NY has now announced that Blizzard has cancelled their Overwatch launch event which was scheduled for October 16th. This is undoubtedly due to the criticism the developer is receiving. The event boasted the opportunity to meet the voice actors behind Overwatch and many Nintendo fans will be left bitterly disappointed. Yet, Blizzard making this decision perhaps shouldn't be a surprise in the wake of the hashtag #BoycottBlizzard growing as fans repurpose Mei as a symbol of support for Hong Kong.
Tensions were raised after Blitzchung tearfully told fans that he was removed from the Overwatch casting. There is certainly a lot of sympathy for the gamer and combined with a political situation that concerns a lot of people, Blizzard is increasingly being viewed in a negative light by players. Many will hope that Blizzard will address why they have cancelled the Switch launch event, although it is very likely it is because of the atmosphere surrounding the company and fears over what their appearance may cause.
Fans are disappointed in the developer and some word would likely ease the situation. On a day that was supposed to celebrate the Switch port for Overwatch, factors outside of the game have eclipsed this initial excitement. At least one pro-Hong Kong protest has been organized for Blizzcon 2019 and these kinds of demonstrations are probably why the Nintendo event has been cancelled. Gamers and Blizzard will hope that the situation is rectified soon, for Blizzard this likely means giving a statement after weeks of silence.
Overwatch is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One and the Switch.
Source: Nintendo NY / Twitter