Overwatch removes ‘Z’ from Zarya skins amid Ukraine invasion

overwatch zarya arctic front skin on volskaya industries backgroundBlizzard Entertainment

Overwatch has removed the ‘Z’ from Zarya’s Arctic and Siberian Front skins after the symbol gained political connotations, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While Blizzard haven’t pulled their titles from the region just yet, Overwatch’s development team has taken steps in-game in acknowledgment of the ongoing attack.

In March, a Ukrainian flag profile picture was added, and a now-controversial symbol, the letter Z, has been removed from certain skins.

Specifically, these changes have been made to Zarya’s Arctic and Siberian Front skins.

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overwatch arctic front zarya skin on hanamura templeBlizzard Entertainment
Zarya’s Arctic and Siberian Front skins have been slightly amended.

Overwatch removes ‘Z’ from Zarya skins

While the ‘Z’ that used to be on Zarya’s Arctic and Siberian skins simply represented the character’s name, the letter is being used as a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Given that Zarya does indeed hail from Volskaya, a fictional Russian city, the devs have chosen to remove the ‘Z’ from the torso area of both skins, leaving the area blank.

Attaching a side-by-side of the amended skin and its previous renditions, the ‘Z’ emblazoned on the top right of her bodywarmer just under the fur-lined collar has been completely removed.

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While some commented that because it was difficult to notice the Z before, “I don’t think such a tiny detail will be missed,” others lament that the issue is “an unfortunate coincidence”

Zarya has been the unfortunate victim of a few skin changes in her lifecyle. Following sexual misconduct allegations made against former San Francisco Shock player, Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won, the character’s iconic OWL Alien skin was removed from the game entirely.

Whether or not we see Zarya’s iconic ‘Z’ make a reappearance during peacetime remains to be seen, but until then we’ll have to get used to this slight redesign.

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The ongoing invasion has impacted esports and gaming in numerous other ways too, with tournaments being canceled across the CIS region, Russian orgs banned from competitions, and publishing companies such as CD Projekt Red, EA, and more blocking the sale of their games in Russia and Belarus.

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