Overwatch is unmatched in triple-A gaming for the diversity of its cast, but with that comes the potential for missteps. Universal Society of Hinduism president and interfaith statesman Rajan Zed has urged Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime and Activision’s Bobby Kotick to withdraw Symmetra’s Devi skin, which he says trivialises Hinduism’s goddesses.
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The Devi skin takes its name and visual inspiration from the great Hindu goddess of the same name. Although Devi is worshipped in many different manifestations, Zed says that Blizzard’s depiction doesn’t match that of the goddesses in scripture.
In his statement, Zed takes particular issue with the fact that players control Devi directly - where in life devotees “put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their goddesses”.
The statesman asks Blizzard to refer to its own core values - which include “lead responsibly” - and offers to provide research resources so that the company can better represent Hinduism, the third largest religion in the world.
Zed emphasises that Hindus support free speech, but that “faith [is] something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees”.
“Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects,” he says, “as these games [leave] lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people.”
Symmetra’s real name is Satya Vaswani. Her backstory finds her plucked from poverty by the Vishkar Corporation of southern India to work on the tech behind new, self-sustaining cities. She was later sent on clandestine missions and now carries a Photon Projector powered by the same light-bending technique she used in architecture.