Symmetra has Autism? Video Game Designers, Take Note
Yes, the wait is finally over! Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan has confirmed fan theories that Symmetra has autism.
For those of you who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, read the next paragraph. For all of you who are diehard fans, go ahead and skip to the next section where we’ll talk about why Symmetra’s autism matters.
Symmetra is a character that a player can choose in the video game, Overwatch. Created by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016, Overwatch puts players into 2 teams of 6. Players then can pick from 30 different characters, each with unique personality characteristics that make them beneficial to the team and the game as a whole.
Within the plot, “Overwatch” is a task force put together by the United Nations to protect the world from the Omnics (artificial intelligence that has run amuck). After a few decades, in fighting within Overwatch and multiple wrong doings resulted it being banned.
The game is set six years after this ban, a time when corruption and terrorism have started rising. It’s clear that the Overwatch task force is needed again; that a group of people need to come together to save the world from evil. And, that’s we begin our journey!
Symmetra is one of the 30 characters that a player can choose within the Overwatch community. While only a support character in 2016, Symmetra was redesigned in 2018 to play a prominent role in this universe.
Symmetra’s main talents are in creating teleporters to change the momentum of battle and turrets to destroy passing enemies. Throughout her redesigns, Symmetra’s wide ranging abilities without a specialized focus has received some criticism. Her character is also often accused of trolling and having insincere intentions within the plot of the game.
Details of her video game super powers aside, let’s dive into Symmetra’s autism and why it matters.
Autism is growing in visibility in the media. We’ve seen Max Braverman in Parenthood, Julia in Sesame Street, and Sam Gardner in Atypical. The upward trend towards including people with autism in our movies, books, tv shows, and games is a really positive thing.
Of course, then we all hold our breath as we wait to see if they got it right.
As we know, one person with autism is one person with autism. There is no perfect cookie cutter model that the media should be portraying. In fact, that would be one of the best ways for them to get it totally wrong.
Yet, with any of the million ways autism could manifest itself, we hope the media chooses a good one that represents the community well.
Here’s what I love about Symmetra. Despite the rollercoaster that the designers have put her on, her strengths lie in her autism. When someone chooses Symmetra as their character, they are choosing her superpowers. Her superpowers that are rooted in her autism.
Even the best portrayals of autism focus heavily on the struggles and deficits. It’s about time we have a character that proudly displays her autism as a superpower.
I don’t know about you, but I find it refreshing.