Overwatch fan theory about Symmetra finally confirmed by Blizzard
The company finally speaks up
Overwatch’s cast has been heralded for its diversity, with a myriad gender, racial and sexual identities represented across all 24 heroes. Blizzard Entertainment is throwing neurological diversity into the mix as well, confirming fan speculation that one of the game’s most popular characters is on the autistic spectrum.
A letter from Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan reignited the conversation, after its recipient posted it to Tumblr. The viral image included Kaplan explicitly referring to Symmetra, one of the game’s most intriguing and intelligent heroes, as autistic for the first time.
“It’s very astute of you to notice that she mentioned the spectrum in our comic,” Kaplan wrote, referring to an official Overwatch comic from last May. “Symmetra is autistic. She is one of our most beloved heroes and we think she does a great job of representing just how awesome someone with autism can be.”
Blizzard later told Polygon that both the letter and Kaplan’s note about Symmetra were accurate. This validates a theory that has percolated in the Overwatch player community since last May, when the game came out and Symmetra’s backstory began to be filled out.
In “A Better World,” the Symmetra-focused comic that inspired the fan letter to Kaplan, Symmetra describes herself as always being seen as “different.”
“Asking where I fit on the spectrum,” she continues. “It used to bother me. Because I knew it was true. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Because I can do things nobody else can do.”
The use of the term “spectrum,” as well as the subtly and acceptance of Symmetra’s so-called “differences,” moved many players who identified with the character. Overwatch fans who were also on the autistic spectrum appreciated Blizzard’s tacit introduction of a character they related to, but the company never openly diagnosed her.
The comic was enough for most to go off, however, and Symmetra has widely been referred to as a hero on the autistic spectrum. That’s clearly meaningful to both fans and Blizzard Entertainment itself, based on Kaplan’s letter.
For a game without a story mode, Overwatch has a deep lore. The comics are a great place to find out more about that, and they’re often where fans can learn some defining characteristics about their favorite heroes. Aside from Symmetra’s autism, Tracer was introduced as the game’s first lesbian character in her own comic last December.