Note: This was written before the announcement of Moira, another healer, being added to the game. I called it.
Via the Overwatch art book, we recently discovered that Mercy was originally intended to be a black man, as opposed to a white woman. Now, allow me to preface this by expressing how much I like the current Mercy. She embodies the “soaring” ideals of Overwatch both as a fictional organization and as a game, and the concept of women being caring and soft, but also strong and capable. However, I wish we had a character like the Concept Mercy. I mean, look at him:
I really wish we had him in the game. It’s rare that we see men be allowed to behave in a feminine manner, to behave with kindness and as a pacifist. To see a male person of color be allowed to behave like that would have been so freeing, and such a wonderful character would have maybe even let some men know that it’s ok to be soft, to be kind, and to be gentle, contrary to the current, toxic standard of hyper-masculinity.
Overwatch has had four heroes added so far into the game. First was Ana, a strong healer with an extremely weak survivability kit. Then came Sombra, a niche hero with a powerful debuff kit but weak survivability who can assist her teammates by hacking health packs. Orisa was next, an “anchor” or “shield” tank that is far more versatile than Reinhardt but also easier to kill. Finally, we had Doomfist, a high-risk DPS with unconventional movement who could output a lot of damage but be taken down pretty quickly when his abilities are on cooldown. Doomfist is interesting, because he has a similar aesthetic to the concept mercy, down to the red and white color scheme. He, being a “bad” guy, provides another example of this toxic masculinity.
So what does Overwatch need right now? There are 14 DPS heroes (8 attack and 6 defense), 6 tanks, and 5 supports. Symmetra really counts more as a defense hero, as she is unable to heal her teammates. This means there are only 4 healers in the game, as opposed to the 21 other heroes. Each of those healers has a specific kind of role, but there are simply too few of them for them to be viable in every situation.
What Overwatch needs is another healer, to supplement the scarce few healers that are currently in the game. If the Concept Mercy gets added to the game as another healer, with a separate kit and abilities from Mercy, he’ll will be a wonderful addition and an amazing character.
Plus, he’s kind of nice to look at.