One of gaming’s most famous celebrities is thought to get the Blizzard pop culture treatment, as a new video reveals a fighting-themed NPC named Rhonda in World of Warcraft: Legion.
The incredibly popular fighter and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion has, on numerous occasions, gushed about her love of video games, and it’s no coincidence people have believed she would be getting her own character in Blizzard’s next expansion for the World of Warcraft. Ronda Rousey held a Reddit AMA earlier this year where she discussed some of her favorite video game titles, and World of Warcraft made the cut alongside other famous IPs like Pokemon and Mortal Kombat.
Although it’s likely Blizzard paid close attention to those comments, Rousey’s very own NPC will have to wait: a Twitter clarification from Blizzard employee Rhonda Cox revealed the character is based on her, not the UFC superstar. Cox is quite happy with the unintentional comparison, though, and it’s easy to see why. Rousey has dominated headlines inside the fighting industry and out with her mixture of incredible talent and charisma, which helped Rousey stay on the UFC 2 cover despite her high-profile loss to Holly Holm exactly a month ago.
Those looking for Rousey on Blizzard’s ever-increasing roster of World of Warcraft celebrity references will have to wait, then. For the most dominant women’s fighter in UFC history to date, however, the absence from Azeroth might be a welcome clarification. After all, those who believe in the supernatural have speculated that Ronda Rousey fell victim to the EA Sports cover curse, a superstition with its roots in the Madden franchise’s long list of cover atheletes who suffered major injuries the season after being chosen for the cover. Perhaps Rousey will welcome the chance to avoid the potential of incurring the wrath of any other video game-related curses.
Of course, if Rousey is still willing to appear in video games, the opportunity will likely be there for the foreseeable future. Fans recently reimagined a Street Fighter game starring Ronda Rousey, and given the amount of media attention her pseudo-NPC has gotten, its likely that even if Blizzard wasn’t planning on including her in the expansion they might do so now. It doesn’t hurt that Rousey is both a celebrity gamer and someone who fights for a living, a fact that makes her much easier to include in various genres without seeming too out of place.
Although it’s wonderful that Blizzard honored another employee with their own NPC, that doesn’t change the fact that World of Warcraft subscription numbers have been dwindling for a few years now. Associating the world’s biggest MMORPG with one of the world’s biggest athlete superstars can’t be once the Legion expansion finally releases certainly couldn’t be a bad idea, could it?
What do you think about Blizzard’s knack for including celebrities as NPCs in their games? Do you think they’d do well to try and tie the game even more closely to the celebrities who play it? Let us know in the comments.
World of Warcraft: Legion will release in the summer of 2016 for PC and OS X.