Overwatch 2 sparks controversy with ‘sexual harassment simulator’ custom mode

Parents have warned not to let kids play Overwatch 2, because of custom modes featuring adult content.

Even before it launched, Overwatch 2 was facing harsh criticism from long-time players, and the complaints have only magnified since.

Missing items and long queue times plagued it upon release, and some fans dislike the new free-to-play model so much that they’ve grown nostalgic for the first game’s loot boxes.

These sorts of issues are limited to the core player base, but a different kind of controversy risks dragging Overwatch 2 into the public mainstream, with a custom game mode called ‘Sexual Harassment Simulator.’

It’s not something that’s commonly brought up, but the original Overwatch allowed players to create their own custom rulesets that could be shared with others.

This feature has been brought back for Overwatch 2, and it appears some people have been using it for the purposes of adult role-playing.

There’s nothing visually explicit, apart from characters performing animations that are already in the game. None of these are purposefully sexual in nature but it does include the common phenomenon of ‘tea-bagging’ a prone player by repeatedly pressing the crouch button.

The sexual element comes primarily from text descriptions, which is, of course, something that can take place in any chat room, in any game or app.

Over the weekend, Twitter user Lynn_McGoo warned parents not to let their children play Overwatch 2, as her own son had come across the mode while playing.

She stated that her son initially thought that you could only play as female characters. However, he wound up being the only one playing as a woman and was ‘forced to lie down while the male characters lay on top of his character.’

Her tweet was soon picked up by prominent Twitch streamer DaftLimmy, who also spread awareness of the mode and even found it being promoted in-game under the Popular tab.

‘Apparently it’s been going on since the first game. It would be easy for Blizzard to prevent it, but they’re not,’ he said. ‘This is a game marketed to 12-year-olds.’

The exact same mode was supposedly present in the first Overwatch as well. Last month, before the game was shut down, a user on Blizzard’s forums claimed that the Sexual Harassment Simulator kept showing up in their feed and, despite reporting it multiple times, it was not removed.

The name alone is in especially poor taste as it could be a nod to the sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits made against Activision.

What’s more, similar adult-oriented modes aren’t any more difficult to come across. Dexerto reports running a test to see how long it would take for someone simply browsing the All Games list for custom lobbies to discover such a mode.

Including turning on their console and booting up Overwatch 2, it only took 10 minutes to spot modes called ‘Anime Girls Naked’ and ‘$ 3 X Hot skins or kick’. Upon joining the second one, they were almost immediately propositioned for virtual sex.

‘Inappropriate or explicit content has absolutely no place in our game,’ said a Blizzard spokesperson when contacted by Metro.co.uk. ‘We immediately removed the user-created game mode once made aware of its existence.

‘We are continually working to improve automatic filters to prevent inappropriate user-created content, and manually removing any that are not caught by the system.’

Overwatch 2 is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.

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