Overwatch’s Mercy says robust ladies don’t must be males

It’s laborious to overstate Lucie Pohl’s affect on the Overwatch group. Because the voice of Mercy in each Overwatch 2 and its predecessor, those that know her are aware of what she represents in her portrayal of some of the iconic videogame characters of the previous decade. Mercy could also be fictional, however the Overwatch 2 healer stands for one thing a lot greater. She’s lovely, robust, empathetic, and good – a far attain from the princesses in want of rescuing that dominated the gaming panorama when Pohl was rising up.

Pohl admits she may be very completely different than Mercy; the fictional character is a scientist who created a borderline miraculous therapeutic swimsuit, whereas Pohl is a German-born actor and comic, for starters. However there’s an apparent essence in Pohl that shines via in her portrayal of the well-written, complicated Mercy.

“Voices express a lot of a person’s essence, even if you can’t put your finger on what that is,” she tells PCGamesN. “It’s just in me, this character – this softness, sassiness, and strength at the same time. Somehow my voice expresses and embodies that. So, I’ve never had a hard time stepping into Mercy.”

Pohl, who recorded her Mercy audition whereas staying at her mom’s home after a breakup, had little concept on the time that the gig would be a life-changing alternative. Now happening seven years later, that audition and subsequent callback have granted her alternatives many voice actors might solely dream of. She’s traveled all over the world to fulfill followers at conventions, linked with them via her stand-up comedy, and interacted with them additional through a Twitch present known as Immigrant Jam that she hosted all through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which she continues to supply as a podcast.

The format of the Twitch present additionally presents viewers with the possibility to join with different Overwatch voice actors, together with the likes of Roger Clark (Pink Lifeless Redemption 2) and Nolan North (Uncharted).

Pohl shares how she lately heard from Lumi, a nonbinary one who first broke out of their shell by showing on the present. Lumi messaged Pohl to share that they have been lately given the chance to go on a chat present of their nation to debate their experiences as a queer individual. They credited their skill to take action to their improvisational interactions with Pohl and her company. And for Pohl, this exemplifies what Mercy and the remainder of the Overwatch solid imply to followers.

“There are a lot of videogames that I don’t know, so I’m not pretending I know everything about videogames. But from my understanding, what was so groundbreaking for this game is that it really was inclusive, but not for the sake of inclusivity and not on a superficial level. The characters were real, they had backstories. They were three-dimensional,” she says.

Lucie Pohl interview: Overwatch's Mercy on why representation matters: Lucie Pohl sits on a couch and holds her hand next to her head while making a funny face.

“There are so many people who want to go into caregiver fields or medical fields who love Mercy and look up to her. A lot of girls come to my table and say that she’s inspired them not to take any s**t from anybody because she’s very feminine but still kind of a badass at the same time,” she says.

Whereas there are occasions when individuals have blurred the fact of Pohl as an individual and Mercy as a fantasy by asking Pohl to signal inappropriate gadgets or by sending illicit messages, she feels that is one thing that comes with the territory of being a public individual. Reasonably, she finds the blatant toxicity towards ladies that continues to fester inside some gaming subcultures much more regarding.

“I think the toxicity is worse for the girls who just want to be gamers or who just want to be on equal footing and participate in the same way and get bullied and harassed. A lot of them don’t have a thick enough skin, and then they stop gaming, or they stop streaming, or they stop being interested. They go to something else when they may have been very good at whatever they were doing in that world. And I think that’s sad,” she tells us.

That’s not less than partially what drives Pohl to talk out truthfully about her personal experiences and discover methods to assist and encourage ladies. However she believes that the important thing to success within the gaming world isn’t merely to adapt to masculine requirements.

“This is something that I always go on and on about. That’s really important to me to always get out as a message to young girls and women or female-identifying people: To be a strong woman doesn’t mean you have to be a man,” she says.

Lucie Pohl interview: Overwatch's Mercy on why representation matters: An up-close view of Mercy's face.

Mercy embodies this sentiment within the multiplayer recreation. To Pohl and plenty of others, she is a task mannequin, demonstrating that persons are much more complicated than their seems to be, intelligence, or some other singular trait.

However there’s room for extra nuance in these depictions, too. Right this moment’s video games not often replicate the realities of ladies’s each day lives. In Pink Lifeless Redemption 2, protagonist Arthur Morgan has the choice to shave his beard, but it surely’s nearly extraordinary {that a} lady character would shave her legs. “Next time I’m in an Overwatch session, I’m going to tell them to put in a scene where Mercy shaves,” Pohl jokes.

The similar may be stated about durations, which successfully don’t appear to exist for videogame characters. “It would be revolutionary to have a character in a videogame not be able to fight or something [due to her period],” she says.

In future, Pohl would love to attract on her private experiences to voice gender-bending fantasy characters. Nonetheless, with Mercy, she feels she already has the perfect alternative she might ask for.

“Mercy stands for something so beautiful. She stands for compassion, empathy, and healing, and that’s something I think is, like… How do you get better? How can you get better than that in terms of a dream role?”

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