When Overwatch‘s beta returned earlier this year, it added a progression system that rewards players with cosmetic loot like character skins. Initially, most of them were simple recolors. Now, though, they’re getting kinda ridiculous.
The most recent Overwatch update brought with it a handful of new skins that are more in line with the rarest ones that would been in the game previously. Instead of swapping a few plates of armour here or giving a gorilla a mustache there, they overhaul the looks of the characters in question. Here’s a video of all the most recent skins, courtesy of DoubleClickOverwatch:
For comparison’s sake, here’s what was in the game previously, via Sildee:
So now we’ve got wooden and steambot Bastion, space frog Lucio, mystery man McCree, raptorion Pharah, lionhardt Reinhardt, spirit of: 76 Soldier 76, architect and goddess Symmetra, and sunyatta and ifrit Zenyatta. I think my personal favourite is Soldier 76’s new daredevil Captain America look, if only because it seems so comically out-of-place. Mystery man McCree also cracks me up. All of the new skins are impressively imaginative, though. I dig ’em.
At the same time, I’m slightly wary of a couple things. For one, Blizzard intends to tell a somewhat serious story in this universe, and if everybody’s a cartoon character pastiche or reference, it might be a little hard to lose myself in it. More importantly, though, class-based shooters like Overwatch rely on character silhouettes in the midst of battle. If you see a silhouette that you can readily identify as, say, Torbjorn, you’re probably gonna want to look out for a turret. When chaos consumes the battlefield, silhouettes inform players’ snap-judgment decision-making process — the difference between life and death. Crazy character skins risk ruining that.
We’ll see. The current crop largely seems to stay on the right side of the fine line between amusing and balance-busting, so that’s a good sign. Alternatively, Blizzard could swing hard in the other direction: top hats for everyone.