Brigitte’s face has changed a couple times since she was introduced into Overwatch’s story in the Reinhardt comic Dragon Slayer. The newest hero in Overwatch’s lineup, Brigitte has a new face as a character in the game.
Some Overwatch fans think she looks very close to another healer, Mercy. And yeah, it’s obvious that her face as changed. It looks a lot like Mercy, but also like Overwatch tank Zarya. Let’s journey into the history of Brigitte’s face—and how we got to the face she wears now.
Dragon Slayer, which followed Reinhardt and Brigitte in their adventures together, debuted on April 28, 2016—nearly a month before Overwatch was released. Brigitte’s face is distinct, featuring wide set eyes, freckles, and thin lips. But what’s also distinct is the comic’s art style, which could account for the changes later made to Brigitte’s face.
Brigitte appeared next in Reflections, again alongside Reinhardt, when it debuted on Dec. 20, 2016. The art style changes once again, but Brigitte’s face remains recognizable to her appearance in the Dragon Slayer comic.
Honor and Glory is where Brigitte’s face changes noticeably. Her face looks rounder, her eyes much larger, and her lips thicker. Her arms, too, look different—in Reflections, she looks thin, while in Honor and Glory she’s still thin, but with more muscle. Honor and Glory debuted in November 2017.
And that brings us to Mercy’s in-game Overwatch model, which was revealed on Feb. 28 on the game’s PTR.
Her hairstyle and overall look is distinct enough that she is recognizable as Brigitte across her facial history. But her Overwatch model does bear resemblance to both Mercy and Zarya, as demonstrated by Reddit user ThatOneGreatGuy. None of the faces are exactly the same, but there are definite similarities within features—big eyes, small noses, distinct jawlines.
A lack of facial diversity for female heroes isn’t necessarily just a Blizzard problem—it’s something the animation community as a whole has been called out for. Disney’s Frozen was called out when animation lead Lino DiSalvo said it was “really, really difficult” to animate women.
“Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to—you can get them off a model very quickly,” DiSalvo said. “So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”
The difficulty in animating female characters comes from arbitrary “rules”—whether conscious or not—that require women to remain “pretty,” while male characters are given a wider range regarding what’s attractive. The features that Zarya, Mercy, and Brigitte share are the features that make a conventionally attractive woman—large eyes, small noses.
So did Blizzard give Mercy, Zarya, and Brigitte the same face? Definitely not. But do they follow the same standard of beauty? Yep.