Overwatch

Overwatch devs share inspiration for Lucio & Moira Lunar New Year skins

by Andrew Amos
Blizzard Entertainment

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With Overwatch’s Year of the Rat event kicking off, a couple of members from the art team have opened up on the inspiration behind Lucio and Moira’s Korean-themed Lunar New Year skins for 2020.

Overwatch’s first event of 2020 has started, celebrating the Lunar New Year in just a couple of weeks. Sombra, Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira received new skins in the event based on traditional Chinese and Korean culture.

While cultural sensitivities can sometimes be lost in gaming, the Overwatch developers made sure to tell a story true to the many communities around the world who play the game.

This spurred technical artist Lee Hak-sung and senior artist Im Hong-chan to share with the community what the New Year skins reflect on in Korean culture.

Overwatch Korea released a video with the two developers on January 15, outlining their inspiration for Mask Dancer Moira and Samul Nori Lucio.

“Since Orisa’s Sanye skin last year, our Overwatch team became very interested in traditional Korean talchum (masked dance) culture,” they said, according to a translation by Twitter user ‘Gatamchun.’

They took inspiration from a particular talchum titled Bongsan, featuring a corrupted monk named mokjoong. The character fit with Moira’s own design within Overwatch, but the devs wanted to give the scientist a bit of her own personal flair.

Mask Dancer Moira skin for Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Mask Dancer Moira took inspiration from traditional Korean talchum dancing.

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“Talchum was a well-loved mass culture in the Joseon dynasty, and Moira has a refined and elegant style, so we tried to reflect on those in the skin.

"That’s why Moira’s Bongsan skin features a sophisticated Hanbok look along with a mask that has striking glowing eyes to emphasize her particular charisma.”

Lucio’s skin was drawn from more of a celebratory nature. The bashful Brazilian musician was a perfect fit for the “festive” theme of samulnori culture in Korea, which was a “natural” follow-on for the developers from Moira’s theme.

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“Along with the traditional samulnori outfit, you can see that his skin features a variety of materials such as wood, steel, and rope,” they said. “His weapon design is also based on traditional Korean percussion instruments.”

Samul Nori Lucio skin for Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Samul Nori Lucio is a respectful take on the character's jovial nature.

However, it’s always the slight touches that make a skin truly reflect a character, and they found that in a very nuanced but effective way for Lucio.

“We observed that real Korean percussion performers often practiced with bandaged fingers, so we wanted to add even small details such as this.

"Lucio is represented by the color green, which is used for the ribbon on his hat, and other accents. We think this adds Lucio’s own flair to the traditional Korean clothes, and it looks really cool.”

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It’s all part of Overwatch’s continued attempts to represent the diverse cast of characters — and their players — within the game’s universe.

“As Korean game developers, we are working hard to ensure that the game portrays Korean culture accurately and sensitively.”

If you want to pick up the Lucio and Moira skins for yourself, you can get them from the Lunar New Year loot boxes, or buy them in the in-game shop while the Year of the Rat event is live.