Overwatch Changes Zarya Skin Due To Russian Symbolism

Blizzard has removed the letter ‘Z’ from Zarya’s Arctic and Siberian Front skins in Overwatch, possibly due to the letter having connections to Russian nationalism.

As reported by Polygon, as part of a recent update, it appears that a small change has been made to two skins. The change sees the letter ‘Z’ removed from the Arctic and Siberian Front skins.

This change has occured likely due to the fact that the letter, which some call the “zwastika,” has come to “stand for devotion to the state, murderous rage, and unchecked power,” as The New Yorker writes on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Blizzard has not officially commented on the small change in the patch notes for the recent update. The change was instead spotted by members of the Overwatch subreddit.

Left: Old. Right: New. Credit: Blizzard.

You can see the change on the Arctic skin above, though it is an incredibly subtle one. The ‘Z’ is obviously a reference to Zarya’s own name. But Zarya is also Overwatch’s only Russian character. So it makes sense that Blizzard would want to distance itself from any such controversy. According to Polygon, the letter has been spotted on Russian tanks and military vehicles when Ukraine was invaded. Though the meaning of the letter was originally unclear. 

It’s unlikely that the change will be reversed anytime soon, considering the invasion is still ongoing. 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard