Over the past several months, Blizzard has been not-so-subtly hinting that a new hero will be released in Overwatch, the mysterious Sombra. Developers teasing new content is hardly unusual, but the approach Blizzard has taken is definitely turning heads. The hunt for Sombra began in an early build of Overwatch, when players discovered three files in the power plant on Dorado. One of these files was labeled Jack Morrison, another Soldier 76, and the third was marked Sombra. It is known only to a few that Jack Morrison is 76, so it’s plausible these were intended to be files on three different people, one of whom being Sombra. Shortly thereafter, a newspaper was discovered on the ground in Dorado. The headline read “¿Quien Es Sombra?” which translates to “Who is shadow?” (or shade, the literal translation is ambiguous but I assume Sombra is referred to as The Shadow). These pieces of evidence, combined with a photograph found on the Temple of Anubis and a leaked screenshot of a support sniper led many to believe Sombra’s true identity was Ana Amari, mother of assault hero Pharah, and a known sniper in the lore. However, after Ana was announced as a separate hero, these theories were immediately shot down. It was at this point that Blizzard took to an unusual strategy of letting us know that Sombra is still out there.
In two separate frames of the Ana story trailer, a hexadecimal code can be seen , which when passed through a XOR cypher using the number 23, can be decrypted as the Spanish equivalent of “Sombra… She who has the information, has the power.”
Things only got more difficult from here. Not long after the announcement trailer, Blizzard released a developer update trailer that was intended to detail Ana’s role as well as the direction Blizzard hopes to take Overwatch going forward. The video ended by cutting to static, but some something seemed unordinary about this static. Upon taking all the vertical lines found in the static, scanning that barcode, converting the hexadecimal code into binary, and converting the binary into a QR code, the message reads (in Spanish, of course) , “Was that easy? Well now that I have your attention, allow me to make things much more difficult.” She followed up on this in a big way. The next appearance of Sombra was during the summer games trailer, where for one frame, a code can be seen in Tracer’s teleport trail. Unfortunately, the password to decipher this message still hasn’t been found.
The last message received from Sombra, found after data mining an image in the Battle.net achievement section read, “I see you like these little games… Why don’t we play a real one?” This “real one” comment combined with the recurring number 23 has led many to believe Sombra will launch tomorrow on August 23rd. 23 was the key to the original cypher. Sombra would be the 23rd hero. The game will be updated on August 23rd to remove the summer games theme, and some claim to have seen the numbers 823 hidden in the trees of the latest animated short “The Last Bastion”. Could Blizzard be planning on launching a hero with no prior official announcement? We will know soon enough.