Blizzard Entertainment’s latest skin for Overwatch 2’s Mercy character has sparked backlash from fans, who have accused the company of cultural appropriation. The skin, named “Lifeweaver,” features Mercy dressed in traditional Thai garb.
The “Lifeweaver” skin was released on December 6, 2023, as part of Overwatch 2’s Lunar New Year event. The skin features Mercy dressed in a traditional Thai ao dai, a long, flowing dress with a high slit on one side. She also wears a traditional Thai headdress and jewelry.
The skin’s release was met with mixed reactions from fans. Some fans praised the skin for its beauty and cultural significance. Others, however, accused Blizzard of cultural appropriation.
“This is not cultural appreciation, it’s cultural appropriation,” one fan tweeted. “Blizzard is taking a sacred Thai garment and turning it into a cheap, sexualized costume.”
“I’m Thai and I’m offended by this skin,” another fan wrote. “It’s not accurate to Thai culture and it’s just a way for Blizzard to make money.”
Blizzard has not yet responded to the backlash. However, the company has a history of releasing skins that have been criticized for cultural appropriation. In 2018, Blizzard released a skin for Overwatch’s Tracer character that was inspired by Chinese New Year. The skin was criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of Chinese culture.
The backlash against the “Lifeweaver” skin is a reminder of the importance of cultural sensitivity in game design. When creating characters or skins that are inspired by other cultures, it is important to do your research and consult with members of that culture to ensure that the representation is accurate and respectful.