Game announcements and reveals are tricky to nail, if the last year has taught us anything. On one hand, you have something like Fallout 4, which Bethesda just up and announced mere months prior to its release with a full gameplay reveal days later; on the other hand, there’s something like The Last Guardian, whose reemergence last year was diminished by yet another delay. While not on the same level as the latter game, Overwatch and the way that it’s been handling Sombra certainly doesn’t stand as a highlight of announcements. Blizzard’s new hero shooter has been out for nearly six months, but the love surrounding it and its roster of characters has made it so that any announcement regarding a new character (or one of the preexisting ones) will be highly anticipated.
Sombra in particular has been something that fans have been looking forward for months, to the point where even before Ana’s reveal, people were convinced she was coming before the elder Amari. Back in July, a trailer dropped for Overwatch that pointed toward her eventual reveal, with a website dropping back in August showing a slowly increasing percentage number. As the number increased, bits of her personality oozed out, from her mocking the other characters in Spanish, to throwing shade at people for not guessing her clues. More recently, the game’s Halloween event leaked ahead of release, which showed the physical appearance of the female hacker. Also furthering evidence of her incoming arrival was this description of her backstory from the leak:
“Sombra is one of the world’s best and most notorious hackers. As a child she lost everything during the Omnic Crisis. She worked with the Los Muertos gang in Mexico… until she attracted too much unwanted attention and had to go underground. During that time, she upgraded her augmentations and was recruited by the mysterious Talon organization.”
All of that seemed on the up and up, and it’s been two months since it started. This week saw the the percentage finally hit the late 90’s, one would think that we’d finally get our hands on our new hero, right? Would today finally be the day that the wait would all be worth it? Yeah, no, it turned out to be a complete and total dud. Once the counter hit the full 100, it didn’t stop there. Turns out that even more code got out, and that’s when things got weird and frustrating. There was a fuzzy image of Bastion stating that he was “compromised,”
After all of that build up, it feels like a giant letdown after months of waiting. Overwatch has been pretty consistent with giving fans what they want on a consistent schedule, but this one may have just missed the mark entirely. There’s a point where a cute joke wears out its welcome, and for Sombra, it definitely hit that point with the .1% stuff. The fact that nothing came of this beyond just endless frustration and confusion about when she’ll actually release is the icing on the cake of all of this.
It’s very reminiscent of the Far Cry Primal reveal from last year, which spent hours and hours teasing out bits of the game over the course of a day before resetting it all over the evening and not actually revealing the game until halfway through the day. Much like this, it definitely wore thin after a while, and when combined with the casual announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2, this feels like one hell of a step backwards. It’d be one thing if this were just a simple reveal of a character, but the fact that it’s a puzzle makes the fizzle all the more damning. The Sombra stuff was practically a game in and of itself that plenty of people spent their time on deciphering and decoding. Right now, it’s likely that a good amount of those fans feel burned that the carrot on the stick they spent months chasing ended up being nothing.
This doesn’t detract from the overall fun of Overwatch, but the endless maze of tease after tease is a bit of a black mark. Some may not view it as going too far and are willing to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, saying that this is probably something Sombra the character herself would pull. That may be true, but the thing with a tease is that you eventually have to deliver the goods, and deliver this certainly did not.