The hunt for Overwatch's next hero gets even more ridiculous
¿Quién es Sombra?
Overwatch fans had expected something to happen yesterday, following months of cryptic hints and speculation surrounding the identity of the game's next hero. With no big character reveal happening at this year's Gamescom, players were quick to point out that perhaps we'd hear something about Overwatch's 23rd playable hero on the 23rd day of the month.
Sounds a bit hopeful, doesn't it? Perhaps, but it becomes somewhat more understandable when you see just how far Blizzard has gone with this stuff. Buckle up, this ARG goes deep.
Okay, so, the true believers were right: we did indeed see something happen on the 23rd. Late last night a hidden message was discovered on the Battle.net forum, disguised as a glitch. You should know, by the way, that Overwatch's next hero is thought to be called Sombra and specialises in both hacking and subterfuge.
At first glance the post reads "la que tiene la información; tiene el poder", which roughly translates to "she who has the information, has the power".
Wait a few seconds and your screen will glitch out, replacing the original post with a bunch of code.
Run that code through base64 and it reveals a skull. I think I might be regressing into my teenage years here, but I think that sounds pretty cool. Right? Whatever.
Anyway, a previous teaser had already revealed another skull, but this one looked a little different.
Overwatch fans ran the two skulls together through caeser-23 cipher and were hit with some more Spanish:
Which, again, sort of translates to:
"I PROMISED A GAME, I BELIEVE YOU, GAMEDETECTIVES WOULD CALL IT A TRAILHEAD BLZGDAUSA-AMBAS-CALAVERAS.HTML".
The last part of that sentence is clearly a link to the next piece in the puzzle and when added to the end of a generic Blizzard URL, it reveals a video.
Right, this video seems to be showing the vital signs for a character called Janina Kowalska, which isn't a name we initially recognise. But! Given the nature of her injuries, it's likely a pseudonym for Ana Amari, the previous Overwatch hero to be revealed.
Well, what does that tell us about Sombra? Nothing. Unless, that is, you download the video and read its description: "Parecen estar muy interesados en estos "héroes". ¿Tal vez les interese conocer algunos detallitos que he averiguado sobre ellos?"
That then translates to: "You seem to be really interested in these 'heroes'. Maybe it'll interest you to know some details that I found out about them?"
More than that, you see the heartbeat in the bottom right of the video? See how it's separated from the text with a series of vertical lines? Count them and you'll find that there's actually 26 lines, equating to the 26 letters in the alphabet. Of course there is.
If we watch the video from start to finish, we find that the heartbeat is actually spelling out "AMOMENTINCRIME", referencing the fake TV show used to first reveal the heroes Junkrat and Roadhog.
Oh god, I'm in too deep.
Head over to http://amomentincrime.com/ and you'll find yet more Spanish text:
This translates to:
"... Connecting ... ... Protocol v1.3 Shadow started ... ... Sneaking up automatic email response tracks ... ... Terminating connection ..."
I'm not sure what that's telling us exactly, but if you go back to the tweet originally sent out with the Junkers trailer back in September of last year, you'll notice that it includes an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send it an email and you'll receive one back, that looks something like this. This leads to yet another cryptic message and presumably the rabbit hole goes deeper still.
Oh! Also! The original post that started this whole thing? If you pay close attention to when it claims to have been posted, you'll notice that it's actually counting downwards. When it first appeared on Battle.net, the post was already 20+ hours old and yet it's now claiming to have been posted just nine hours ago. I wonder what happens when that number reaches 0.
We expect that to happen at about 7PM BST. See you then, fellow Overwatch nerds.