Overwatch Anniversary Remix (opens in new tab) The event kicked off yesterday, and in-game rewards include a selection of fan-favorite skins. But users on Reddit and Blizzard forums were quick to notice that at least a few of them had been subtly changed: the previous “Z” on Zarya Arctic (opens in new tab) and siberian front (opens in new tab) The skin no longer exists.
The Z is obviously the Zarya monogram, but it has recently gained notoriety as a symbol used by the Russian forces that invaded Ukraine. The letter doesn’t actually exist in the Cyrillic alphabet, leading to speculation that it was an English abbreviation for the Russian word “Western”, or a phrase meaning “victory.” Either way, it was also adopted by parts of the Russian public as a symbol of their support for the war.
In Russia, the letter Z has become a pro-war symbol for President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It was originally spotted on tanks and military vehicles, but now it appears to be supported by Russian civilians. @PhilBlackCNN has this story. pic.twitter.com/MZNMlCIJdQMarch 8, 2022
Blizzard has yet to comment on the removal, but it seems unlikely that the change will be made for any other reason. Zarya—full name Aleksandra Zaryanova—was a Russian soldier before joining Overwatch, and regardless of the original intentions, the “Z” on her uniform now is very inappropriate.
Despite Blizzard’s silence, there’s nothing wrong with the change – as you can see in these before and after images shared on ProtoVI Reddit (opens in new tab)Z clearly disappears:
An unusual but not unprecedented move: Blizzard has previously modified Tracer’s victory pose (opens in new tab) Overwatch League MVP-based unique skin stops after fans complained original design was too sexy and after 2019 champion Jay “Sinatraa” Won was accused of sexual assault (opens in new tab) By ex-girlfriend.
I’ve reached out to Blizzard for comment and will update if I hear back.