May 17, 2022

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Russian Overwatch update removes ‘Z’ from Zarya’s skins

Russian Overwatch update removes 'Z' from Zarya's skins

New update for Note and watchrelated to the new game Anniversary event remix, also appears to have made a slight alteration to two skins of Zarya, the Russian soldier who shot the hero. Blizzard apparently removed the letter “Z” from the skins of Zarya Arctic and Siberian Front, apparently in reaction to the letter’s transformation into a symbol of Russian nationalism. This single letter, which some have referred to as “zoasticaStanding by devotion to the state, murderous anger, and unchecked power, The New Yorker writesamid Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Blizzard has yet to announce the change to Zarya’s legendary pair of Patch notes for Tuesday’s updatebut the exact modification was monitored by members The Note and watch subreddit. As seen in the photos below, the small letter Z on the upper left breast of Zarya’s jacket has been removed.

Zarya’s ancient arctic skin
Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

Zarya's Arctic skin from Overwatch, as of April 5

Zarya’s new arctic skin
Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

The change is simple but logical. Blizzard seems to be distancing itself, and Zarya Note and watchThe heroic Russian character, from the letter Z’s association with Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and domestic propaganda, fueled state propaganda for the invasion. The message was spotted on Russian tanks and other military vehicles when Ukraine was invaded in February, but which meeting he intended to visit was originally unclear. Regardless of its original intent, the letter has turned into a key symbol to signify support for Russia’s brutal and violent blockade of its neighbour.

Blizzard has made similar edits to the content on Note and watch Over the past six years: Change the victory pose for Tracer which fans considered excessively sexual in nature; tube spray removal; Change the name of the hero Formerly known as Jesse McCree; And offer refunds for luxurious skin inspired by Overwatch League player accused of sexual assault.

Polygon has contacted Blizzard Entertainment for comment and will update if the company responds.

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