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Sombra is an upcoming playable character in the first-person shooter video game Overwatch, who is an infamous Mexican hacker specializing in espionage for various criminal organizations. Following an alternate reality game (ARG) that lasted four months, the character was officially announced at Blizzard's annual Blizzcon event in early November 2016.


Sombra was officially announced during Blizzard's annual Blizzcon conference in early November 2016. The character is equipped with several unique hacking-themed items and abilities, including an invisibility field, a miniature teleporter and an EMP blast ultimate ability.


Alternate Reality Game

Prior to Blizzard's official announcement, clues and ciphers about the character were leaked over four months as part of Blizzard's official ARG. On May 22nd, 2016, a page for Sombra was created on the Overwatch wiki. On July 12th, Blizzard released a video providing background information about the playable hero Ana (shown below, left). At the 1:16 mark, a sequence of hexadecimal numbers are displayed, which reveals the Spanish sentence "la que tiene la información; tiene el poder" ("she who has the information, has the power" in English) when run through a XOR Cipher. Additional hexadecimal sequences revealed the words "somb" and "ra." On July 19th, the PlayOverwatch YouTube channel released a developer update about the Ana character, which contained a barcode at the end of the video (shown below, right).

Upon scanning the barcode, a series of hexadecimal numbers were revealed, which could be turned into a QR code containing a Spanish sentence hinting that additional clues and ciphers would be released:

Spanish: "Por que estan mirando al cielo? La respuesta no esta sobre sus cabezas, esta detras de ustedes. A veces, necesitan analizar sus logros previos."
English: "Was that easy? Well, now that I have your attention, allow me to make things much more difficult."

On July 22nd, a page titled "Sombra ARG" was created on the Game Detectives Wiki,[7] which cataloged additional clues and ciphers related to Sombra discovered online. On August 30th, YouTuber QuizzicalPixel uploaded a video explaining the various clues leaked by Blizzard about the upcoming character. Within three months, the video gained over 161,600 views and 400 comments (shown below).

On October 18th, Redditor RingoFreakingStar submitted a post asking about the Overwatch community's negative response to the character to /r/OutOfTheLoop,[9] to which many replied that the community found the alternate reality game to be underwhelming.

Blizzcon Annoncement

During their annual Blizzcon event on November 4th, 2016, Blizzard released a new animated short film titled "Infiltration," which introduced Sombra as a new character in the game (shown below, left). Within 72 hours, a YouTube upload of the animation received more than 6.3 million views and 40,000 comments (shown below, right).

That same day, the Unit Lost – Great British Gaming YouTube channel uploaded the first gameplay footage of the character taken at the Blizzcon event, gathering upwards of 1.2 million views and 6,100 comments over the next three years (shown below).

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