Sombra, the Spanish word for “shadow”, is just that in the Overwatch world. She is a rumor, a speculation, a whisper heard here in there, a mention in the wind.
Blizzard Entertainment outdid themselves in the alternate reality marketing for Sombra. The hero lurks from the shadows, showing up as snippets of information here and there. This level of alternate reality marketing has been previously performed by Deus Ex: Human Revolutions, Watch Dogs, and Ingress.
The first mentions of Sombra have been around since the beta. However, most Overwatch players do not know anything about there. So far, Sombra has managed to keep the perfect equilibrium between mystery and teaser. She is a carefully placed detail in the background, a whisper barely mentioned, a video glitch.
What Is Sombra?
The Dorado map has several mentions of Sombra. One of them is a file on a desk. Another is an old newspaper. A third is reaper mentioning her by name.
One of the monitors in the game also displays an attempt to initiate Protocol Sombra, leading many to believe that she may be or have been turned into an omnic.
Ana’s Origins trailer also presented two white flashes with keycode ciphers. Using the number 23 in order to use the XOR cipher resulted in a Spanish phrase which translated into “she who has the information, has the power” with the letters “SOMB” and “RA” showing up as code anomalies.
Ana was the 22nd hero added to the game, making Sombra a likely candidate for the 23rd. Finally, the Ana’s trailer also features an older group portrait with a yet unknown female in the farthest right.
Ana’s developer update video had a very unusual end including a blank static scene. The last few frames of static proved to be a barcode. When visually isolated, scanning the barcode led to a hex code. The code proved to be written entirely in binary. Translating the binary code resulted in a QR code. Scanning the QR code led to another line written in Spanish.
The line translates to “That was easy. Now that I have your attention, let’s make things more difficult.”
The Overwatch Summer Games trailer also has a series of encrypted information lying in the background. Worthy of mention is that an invisible asset is actually perceivable in the background.
Ever since then, more visual glitches have led to ASCII skulls heavily based on the number 23.
A heartbeat was translated into Morse code which led the world to a website named after A Moment In Crime, a show in the Overwatch universe. The website currently seems to be hacked and leading to a countdown.
Finally, one of the most popular theories currently is that she has been the one feeding us with information and bringing the Overwatch heroes back into play.
After an absolutely incredible marketing campaign so far, will Sombra live up to the hype?
Image Sources: 1