Sombra has been a hot topic within the Overwatch community for a long time now, with speculation originating even before the game’s official release, with players finding hints and clues toward the elusive ‘hacker’ since the beta stages of development. This article will mainly contain the ideas that I have come up with and found online relating to the concept of this ARG, for further analysis of who Sombra might be you should head over to Riley’s (Omnic Core writer) Sombra post here.
Artwork by Reddit user Grenhammer
Firstly, I must say that this is the first ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that I’ve invested time in, by following theories and trying to come up with some of my own. With Blizzard and Overwatch being the giants within the gaming industry and community that they are, it’s no surprise that there are thousands of people trying to crack the code, even if the trail does occasionally run dry. The excitement of finding new information, the tension of waiting for new clues, the exasperation of hitting a metaphorical wall all make for creating a great community atmosphere; Discord channels are filled with, quite literally, hundreds of people sharing and testing theories and subreddits are flooded.
Not only does it bring people together and remove some of the toxicity we all know and hate within gaming, but it’s a sensational piece of free advertising. All Blizzard needs to do is create a bizarre new website or a strange, augmented forum post and gamers will swarm like Genji’s to a support player. This method decreases the likelihood of the player base falling and allows for players who may have stopped playing in the past to gain enthusiasm in Overwatch again, not to mention that people who love puzzles may jump onto the game for the first time to just get in on the ARG.
So why wouldn’t Blizzard take advantage of this strategy? Let’s also say for a moment that Sombra isn’t going to be revealed as a new playable character, but rather that she becomes a tool. Sombra, whoever she may be may be, could become the resource with which Blizzard delivers its new hero information to the public. Doing so would satisfy the constant craving for additional content in the form of heroes whilst keeping the air of mystery surrounding Sombra and her quest for releasing information about the Overwatch universe. It’s certainly more exciting this way for the community as a whole and lets us help shape our own Overwatch stories, even if only for a moment. We may never completely understand the story behind Sombra, with each new reveal perhaps only giving us a piece of her story in the form of decoded messages and data mined voice lines. It’s possible that we can only generate her background after several other character releases and game updates, that is only if Blizzard keeps using this same method of giving us content. If this is the end of Overwatch-related ARGs, then the conundrum may become lost in time.
However, the ARG needs to be carefully managed to a timescale, or least have clues regularly revealed. Take for example the amomentincrime website, a site that is currently directly linked to Sombra, and contains lines of text hidden within the source code including ‘Wait for what’s coming’. We’ve been given a rising percentage that may, assumably, be leading toward a release of some kind, but it’s going painfully slowly. Slow enough, in fact, that the predicted timescale for its completion actually nears the dates of Blizzcon at the beginning of November. Whilst it’s becoming increasingly likely that the convention will be the finishing point for the ARG, it feels as though this percentage has detracted from the excitement of it all and takes away the community’s power to solve this by themselves as we are no longer piecing a puzzle together; it’s just a waiting game. The last thing Blizzard should want is for players to become fed up and cease caring for its puzzles, considering we’ve had such interesting decryptions, such as Sombra’s ‘skull’ and various map Easter Eggs.
The future of Overwatch is going to be long and filled with new characters and DLC in the form of maps and game modes. With Sombra’s name popping up since the game’s beta there’s a chance she’ll always be lurking in the shadows, never totally appearing to us in full, only watching us and giving out slithers of information when it suits her. Obviously, I could be wrong and Sombra might appear as a playable character very soon, but the possibilities are near unlimited. If you have your own take on the future of this ARG, we’d love to hear it!
At the time of writing, amomentincrime.com was at 11.2887%.