In Overwatch’s latest Competitive Play update, hidden among the addition of the new play mode, Blizzard have honoured a young Chinese fan who died the day before release.
Lijiang Tower’s Control Centre map, the in-universe headquarters of Chinese space agency Lucheng Interstellar, has a minor addition to the display case of astronaut exo suits.
The centre suit is now adhorned with the name Hongyu (宏宇) in honour of Hongyu Wu (吴宏宇) who died May 23 after injuries sustained in pursuit of a motorcycle thief on his university campus.
Hongyu, a young Guangzhou University student, saw the thief make off with his classmate’s motorcycle and gave chase on his own. The chase ended in a collision between the two vehicles as Hongyu suffered severe internal injuries that he later died from. The thief was captured as a result of his pursuit.
The red banner behind the suits in Lijiang Tower has also been emblazoned with the phrase “英雄不朽” or “heroes never die”, Mercy’s iconic ultimate voiceline and a fitting tribute for the young man.
Hongyu did not live to see the game he was so excited for released, as several friends took to BBS and forums linked to Blizzard games to pay tribute to their fallen friend.
A group chat shows him excited the day before release, asking “hey guys, are you ready for the launch tomorrow?” and letting his friends know they could get the basic game cheaper if they couldn’t afford the deluxe Origins launch version.
Blizzard’s tribute to this young Overwatch fan is not the first time a player has been immortalised in their games. When World of Warcraft player Dak Krause died from leukaemia in 2007, Blizzard added the quest-ending NPC Caylee Dak with the same appearance of Krause’s Night Elf character at the time of his death.
Rest in peace, Hongyu.