Overwatch currently has 23 characters, and that means there are 253 romantic matchups possible—and that’s assuming that you’re limiting each pairing to only two characters. But regardless of if you’re a fan of the “Alive”-inspired WidowTracer or a diehard supporter of the nearly-debunked Pharmercy pairings, the Overwatch team has some bad news: none of these ships are ever likely to be canon.
“I think one of the things is that [shipping] shows that people are really attached and feel a connection with the characters and to the world itself, so I think that’s really interesting,” explained Michael Chu, the designer of Overwatch‘s lore and story, during a recent roundtable (via PCGamesN). “It makes me happy that people feel strongly about the characters.
“As for the shipping in general, I would say—within the universe—it’s not a particularly strong focus.”
He went on to add that the members of Overwatch are more or less married to their jobs. The one true pairing of the game, if anything, would be the entire crew/the payload (photo courtesy of KnowYourMeme commenter DeluxeJoe). [Editor’s note: Judging by my experience, there is zero in-game evidence of any attraction between the other players on my team and the payload.]
Of course, though the game may never feature a full romantic arc, there’s nothing stopping it from teasing potential ships. Recent comics and voicelines have hinted that Mercy and Genji may have something going on (to the breaking hearts of Pharmercy fans everywhere), and a holiday-themed comic showed Tracer’s relationship with the (so-far) comic-only character Emily. Chu still encourages fans to have fun with their ships, though.
“We’ve set out directions that these characters are gonna go, so in telling the story we have to go with what feels right to us,” Chu said. “But as you’re seeing with Overwatch and the content fans have created—they’ve taken them in a way that’s interesting to them, made their own, and I think that’s really great.”