Late last night, an innocuous post on the Overwatch subreddit provoked a frenzy to unearth secrets about the supposed Overwatch stealth hero Sombra, who has been teased over the last few months.
“So this is complete tinfoil and I’m prepared for this post to go under the rug,” wrote redditor Colonelcactus before posting a clue he found: At the end of a developer update video for Ana, the Overwatch hero released yesterday on PC, the screen goes black. Then, there’s a beep and some apparent static.
“I watched a few other updates and they don’t do this for any others,” Colonelcactus added.
Redditors immediately sprung into action. Gathering in a #sombra Internet Relay Chat channel, fans took apart the last few frames of the Ana update video. They found that, if they cut out the vertical barcodes, ran them through a barcode reader, converted the resulting hexadecimal numbers into binary and represented the binary as black and white pixels, the clue could be converted into a QR code.
The QR code translates into a Spanish voice line: “¿Estuvo eso facilito? Ahora que tengo su atención, déjenme se las pongo más difícil.”
“Was that easy? Now that I have your attention, let’s make things more difficult.”
The investigation took a mere four hours. Total, the Sombra tease was hidden under seven steps—fitting for an alleged stealth hero whose name translates to “shadow.”
While the level of concealment seems comically extreme, Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan told Kotaku reporter Nathan Grayson that Blizzard had “been teasing Sombra for a long time. . .”. Players have noticed hints on the Dorado map, including a “Quien es Sombra?” (“Who is Sombra?”) newspaper article, as well as Reaper’s voice line, “Where’s Sombra when you need her?”.
When I reached out to Blizzard for comment, a representative confirmed that “She’s continuing to leave clues for us.”
“Sombra will let people know when she wants more to be known about her. She’s very good at that sort of thing,” Kaplan told Grayson.