New Delhi: Blizzard Entertainment’s latest shooting game, Overwatch, has landed in the thick of controversy after a self-acclaimed Hindu group demanded that the portrayal of one of the skins of an in-game hero as an Indian goddess was “inappropriate” and that it be immediately taken down.
US-based Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has urged Blizzard to remove an Overwatch skin, which, he claims, “trivializes” a highly revered Hindu Goddess. The skin (a feature that changes the appearance of a character in the game) is claimed of an Indian-origin character, Symmetra, which turns her into Maa Kali’s avatar.
In a blog post, Zed claims to represent the thoughts of all Hindus around the globe, and says, “Hindus are urging Blizzard Entertainment to withdraw Devi (Goddess) skin of Symmetra character in its Overwatch video game, calling it inappropriate.”
“In a video game set-up, the player controlled the movements of Devi, while in reality, the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their goddesses,” Zed wrote. “Controlling and manipulating Devi with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration,” he added.
Zed added saying that reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it created confusion. “Devi was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be reduced to just a ‘character’ in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground,” he wrote.
Even though Zed made his point clear on his objections to the alleged humiliation of the image of the Indian Goddess, players in India, do not agree with him.
On the Indian Facebook page of Overwatch, a user named Eric Yumnam commented, “I was so proud that there is a Hindu depiction which also represents India in a game which i love, both in Smite n in this game which is rare for any other game to put in their games. These religious pple sud stop interfering. (sic)”
Another player Rohan Mondal commented, “Blizzard is probably going to ignore him like the irrelevant s**t he is. how far can he escalate the matter? he can’t do s**t about it. we as the actual players, have absolutely no problem with it. (sic)”
This is not the first time that Rajan Zed has made such appeals. Earlier this year in February, he was offended by Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final’s depiction of Lord Krishna in the Japanese role-playing game. Even then, he had said that the picturization disrespected the Indian God.