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Gaming week in review: ‘Overwatch’ Sombra and Esports reveal, Valve tightens store page image rules



Overwatch’s next hero, Sombra, makes her debut at Blizzcon 2016 alongside the announcement of an Overwatch competitive Esports league

Sombra is a name that has been whispered among Overwatch fans for the past few months. Blizzard has teased her upcoming appearance with an augmented reality game, with clues appearing as far back as the release of the game’s previous new playable hero: Anna. During the Blizzcon 2016 opening ceremony, Sombra made her debut by hacking into the opening ceremony broadcast. This would have been a surprise if it hadn’t been leaked to the public several days beforehand.

Since Anna’s origin story trailer, Overwatch fans have noticed hidden messages, started decoding secret ciphers and have otherwise pieced together the identity of this mysterious hacker. By decoding messages and symbols hidden throughout the game and various promotional material, players have gradually discovered more about the new character.

Sombra is from Mexico and is formerly associated with the gang Los Metros — previously seen in Soldier 76’s animated short — but now works for the Talon, the antagonistic shadow organization of the Overwatch universe. In this new short, we get to see her abilities firsthand and get a glimpse at her personal agenda.

Sombra is an offensive hero equipped with a machine pistol and an array of gadgets and hacking skills to shut down enemy heroes. She can hack a hero’s equipment to shut down their abilities, use a cloaking field to briefly turn invisible and has a placeable teleporter she can recall to during battle. Her ultimate is an EMP blast that eliminates the shield and shuts down the abilities of any hero caught in it.

No specific release date has been given for Sombra yet; however, she is expected to enter the fight sometime during the month of November.

To add a little more punch to the unveiling, Blizzard has also announced it will be creating an Overwatch competitive league using a similar model as its Heroes of the Dorm Esports league. Details so far have been sparse, but Blizzard has invited Overwatch players, team owners and fans to compete in upcoming combine-like events to qualify for the competition. The league itself will take off sometime in 2017.

Valve has changed its policy to require actual in-game footage on a game’s featured store page images, including those for its own games

Steam has come under fire the past few months for allowing game developers to post potentially misleading photos on the store page for their game. The most recent controversy included the images and videos for No Man’s Sky, which showcase features that are not in the game and may never make it in.

An email to various Steam game developers has repeatedly surfaced over the last few days to inform them of the upcoming changes to the online game distribution platform’s screenshot policy. According to the email, all images in the screenshot section will soon need to feature actual in-game footage. Valve specifically cites pre-rendered footage, concept art or pictures of awards and marketing material related to the game as things they would like to avoid moving forward. They have stated that their goal is for developers to focus on showing images that are representative of the game as a favor to consumers.

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(Image courtesy of FacePunch forum user Sanjuaro.)

To capitalize on its point, Valve has pointed to its own games as an example of misleading promotional images and admitted they need to improve as well. The email on the subject featured the store page of Valve’s popular Dota 2, which featured a variety of concept art instead of in-game screenshots. The artwork had been crudely crossed out to signify it would no longer be viable for use with Valve’s upcoming policy changes. Since then all concept art has been replaced with in-game screenshots on the Dota 2 store page.


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Mathew Brock

Mathew Brock