‘Overwatch’ fans celebrate the return of hipster Hanzo
The second coming of Overwatch’s holiday-themed Winter Wonderland event will kick off on Dec. 12, ushering in all sorts of new wintry outfits for its diverse cast of characters and a Mei-centric yeti hunting mode — but a much subtler announcement about a new Hanzo skin has the Overwatch fandom in a tizzy.
“There’s obviously going to be a lot of legendary skins,” Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan teased in the latest developer update video. “I don’t want to reveal them all — I want to leave some surprise for you when you log into the game — but I can tell you a long-awaited Hanzo skin that you’ve seen before maybe in one of our comics is coming to life, and we think it’s pretty awesome.”
That won’t sound like much to most people, but for a small subset of Overwatch fans, it was an announcement they’d been craving all year: Hipster, undercut Hanzo from the 2016 Reflections comic is going to be an in-game skin. Finally.
See, in addition to being a video game, a significant amount of Overwatch-related story material exists entirely outside the confines of the game itself, in digital comics and animated short films. For 2016’s Winter Wonderland story content, Blizzard released a holiday-themed comic called Reflections. Mostly, it focused on the game’s title character Tracer, revealing that she has a girlfriend named Emily — but Reflections also showed how every other member of the game’s cast was celebrating the holiday season.
One character in particular — the angsty, sad boy archer Hanzo — caught the fandom’s eye. In his frame, Hanzo sports a heavy, pouch-adorned coat with a dramatic, cowl-shaped neckline. Across his chest is the strap of some kind of satchel, and atop his head is a strikingly modern asymmetrical undercut — a high, short ponytail, with one side of his head buzzed tight.
The fandom’s thirst for hipster, undercut Hanzo was immediate, spawning countless fan art and pleas for Blizzard to free this look from the confines of the comic — to make hipster Hanzo an unlockable in-game outfit. At BlizzCon in November, Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu acknowledged that the fandom requested this particular skin a lot, hinting that it might officially be coming this year — and now, it’s all but confirmed.
Needless to say, Overwatch fans are pretty thrilled this year-long battle seems to have a happy ending.