Blizzard Entertainment has made changes to some skins for Overwatch’s Russian character, Zarya, after the letter “Z” was adopted as a pro-war symbol by Russia as part of its invasion of Ukraine.
While Blizzard recently released a new update for Overwatch’s sixth anniversary, the studio quietly made a change to the skins of one of its star characters: Zarya. This Russian hero saw two of his skins, Arctic and Siberian Frontto be slightly modified due to the war in Ukraine.
Blizzard didn’t officially announce the visual change to Zarya’s legendary skins in the patch notes for Tuesday’s update, but the subtle tweak was spotted by members of the Overwatch subreddit. As can be seen in the images below, the small Z present on the upper left chest of Zarya’s jacket has been removed.
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Blizzard changes its Russian character in support of Ukraine
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “Z” symbol has been adopted by Russian citizens who support Putin, and it features on military vehicles currently involved in the conflict. Its origin is still quite mysterious. It has been suggested that the “Z”, along with other similar symbols, was first used to identify Russian forces and prevent friendly fire, or to identify specific Russian operational forcesbut no one can yet give an official meaning.
Nevertheless, we therefore understand better why companies around the world are now trying to avoid this letter Z, like Samsung, which removed the letter from the name of its Galaxy Fold 3 and Galaxy Flip 3 on its official website. However, the letter Z present on the skins of the Overwatch character never had a negative connotation before the invasion, since it was not present on Zarya’s clothes only because of the spelling of her name.
Like most video game companies, Blizzard has already given great support to Ukraine, by notably interrupting the sale of its games in Russiaincluding microtransactions, and doubling its employee donations to Ukraine.