'Overwatch' Year of the Rooster Skins: The fandom is fighting over Mei's weight

Source: Blizzard Entertainment

The newest Overwatch event, Year of the Rooster, has only been live for about 24 hours, but the fandom is already finding all sorts of glitches. For example, there's one that makes D.Va eject out of her mech into another plane of existence and another that seems to be causing health bars to display as a timer. Yeah, not sure what's going on there.

Another oddity fans quickly noticed was that Mei's waist was cinched unusually small in her new Year of the Rooster skins. As you can see in the GIF below, the skin makes her spine curve inward to an unnatural degree, causing her waist to look much smaller than it does normally — and causing her, uh, posterior to look much larger by comparison.

Pretty quick, fans suspected that it might be a glitch, because her waist doesn't look as teeny in the Year of the Rooster reveal trailer or in any of her other skins.

And, not long after the update went live, a representative from Blizzard posted on its forums that Mei's tiny waist/broken spine/giant booty trifecta was, in fact, a bug that will be fixed with the next patch update.

The forum thread was briefly taken down or seemingly deleted, according to PC Gamer, which could have been interpreted as a backpedaling of sorts — that maybe Mei's svelte figure was actually a design choice.

However, Blizzard confirmed in an email that the thread was available once more and re-iterated "it is indeed a graphical glitch with those two particular Mei skins" and that they'll be fixed in an incoming patch.

But, because nothing is ever simple, this was not the end of it. A debate over Mei's weight became, like, a thing in the Overwatch fandom.

Overwatch Year of the Rooster Skins: Fans fight over the Mei glitch

Some dissenters are saying it was never a bug at all, that Blizzard was simply caving to social pressure from so-called "social justice warriors" or "SJWs" — a pejorative term that gained popularity during the height of the "Gamergate" controversy, used against those who advocate for better representation in gaming.

For example, one person tweeted a sketch that showed how a thinner version of Mei's body would fit within the bugged skin (the red one at the bottom of the post), calling people who were upset about the bug "fat landwhales."

As you might imagine, a lot of these posts on various social media sites are pretty gross and body-shaming. So, we'll refrain from reproducing a lot of them here.

It's worth noting that female characters in gaming tend to be white, overtly sexualized, young and conventionally attractive; almost anything else is an outlier. Since Mei is one of Overwatch's more full-figured characters, seeing her waist so uncharacteristically thin seems to have been particularly hurtful for those who identified with her body type.

And, if the Tumblr community is any indication, a substantial part of the fandom identifies with Overwatch's bigger characters. For example, "Zarmei," an imagined coupling of Zarya and Mei — both of whom buck stereotypical beauty conventions for women in different ways — is incredibly popular on Tumblr.

But, regardless of where you stand on the "just how fat is she?" debate, the tiny waist is 100% a mistake, so it's not clear exactly why ultra-thin Mei is a hill on which some fans are so willing to die.

Anyway, this whole conversation is exhausting, so here are some funny things.

More Overwatch news, updates, tips and tricks

For more on Overwatch, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here is the latest developer update where Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan explains the new Capture the Rooster mode, the full patch notes for Overwatch version 2.03, a full explanation of the different types of health in Overwatch, the latest rumor of a Terry Crews-voiced Overwatch character, our definitive ranking of every Overwatch hero and a giant Overwatch FAQ for beginners.

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Tim Mulkerin

Tim Mulkerin writes about video games for Mic. You can reach him at tim@mic.com.

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