By Alexander Espinosa
The game “Overwatch” has been more creative with its various “skins,” or alternate appearances, for its large roster of heroes. The game has not only been praised for how creative the skins are, but also for how historically accurate they have been regarding which hero gets what skins.
With the new set of skins, in honor of the Lunar New Year of the pig which began Jan. 24, the developers of Overwatch have once again shown they conducted their research and know their heroes’ personalities.
In the latest update to the game, a great deal of respect is paid to one of China’s greatest historical novels, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” a 14th century masterpiece melding fiction and history during the division of China between the states of Shu, Wu, and Wei. One of the skins draws inspiration from “Lu Bu,” one of the most horrific villains during this time period. This skin is available for the greatest antagonist in the game, Reaper. The connections between these two go beyond them being evil; Lu Bu was a monster in both strength and personality, much like Reaper.
“They’re interesting reimagings of those figures as Overwatch heroes,” Jordan Tyner, a senior film major, said about the Lunar New Year skins. “I’m curious to see more historical twists from the team in the future.”
Lu Bu was a backstabber, having no loyalty to any of his allies and betraying anyone and everyone just to reach his goals. He had such little loyalty, that he even betrayed Liu Bei, the man who established the Shu kingdom, by taking control of the Xuzhou province after Liu Bei offered him shelter there from his enemies.
Lu Bu’s story could not be closer to Reaper’s origin story. Reaper started an uprising against Overwatch and betrayed his best friend Jack Morrison (soldier 71), who was the head of Overwatch at the time. Since his betrayal, Reaper has continued to backstab everyone to complete his goals.
Lauren Beyer, a freshman graphic design major, admires how the skin caters to the character. “It looks like in terms of representation, they grab the most highlighted feature of [Lu Bu] and put it on [Reaper],” she said. Reaper’s Lu Bu skin is similar to the original look without completely copying it. The skin features Lu Bu’s two-feathered headpiece and the red trimmings on the armor. “You can’t have the actual person as the character, you also have to think of the character you are giving a new skin and making it relevant to them,” Beyer said.
Another major player the game pays respect to is Guan Yu, one of Liu Bei’s five tiger generals and sworn blood brother. The hero used to portray Guan Yu is the chivalrous Reinhardt, and for good reason. Guan Yu was a warrior whose skill, strength and loyalty made him a legend. Guan Yu was a champion whose honor could not be questioned. His loyalty to Liu Bei held strong even when death was certain.
Andrew Frank, a senior broadcasting major, connected these two characters. “I don’t want to say he [Guan Yu] was a monster of a man, but he definitely got the work done if you know what I mean,” he said. “It’s not a perfect fit, but if they were going to pick anyone to represent Guan Yu, it would be Reinhardt.”
“Reinhardt probably has the biggest heart and the biggest, loudest personality,” Frank said about traits such as the character’s chivalry. “The man is essentially a futuristic knight.”
Zhang Fei, one of Liu Bei’s five tiger generals is the last of the three sworn blood brothers. The hero used to portray Zhang Fei is the strict and hot headed Torbjorn. Zhang Fei, while bad tempered, was an amazing warrior whose skills could only be compared to Guan Yu. Just as Reinhardt, who plays Guan Yu, can take down many enemies with ease, so can Torbjorn.
When Liu Bei made a pact with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei to create a better future for China and created a group dedicated to saving the people, so did Torbjorn and Reinhardt. They are two of the six founding members of Overwatch, an organization dedicated to saving the world. Personality-wise, this connection makes sense. Just as Zhang Fei was a brutal man who punished his subordinates for slacking off, so is Torbjorn. The difference is that when Torbjorn punishes his trainees, he does so in a way that shows he cares about them and is only being hard on them to make them stronger; Zhang Fei, on the other hand, abuses them to the point where they can’t take it anymore and they betray him by taking his life.