Overwatch has a new hero now. Sigma, an astrophysicist who, in typical comic/ video game story, goes mad while researching black holes. Yawn, cliched. There’s only one original thing about him: not wearing shoes. Now the artist has revealed this is an “asylum reference”.
If you have been following Overwatch fans on twitter, you know the image of Sigma floating around bare feet has been shared often. This has evoked feelings of disgust from those who don’t take kindly to random feet, animated or otherwise, being shared on their timeline. Even more than that, Sigma’s bare feet have confused fans of Overwatch.
Why does someone whose daily routine includes being shot at, not cover their feet with armor? Or even just a pair of sneakers? Is there currently a shoe shortage in the Overwatch universe or has Sigma’s student loan left him too poor to afford a pair? So many questions!
Now, one of the artists over at Blizzard has given us an answer but not the answer we probably expected. Over at ArtStation, Blizzard character artist Qiu Fang posted the Overwatch concept art of Sigma with the caption “I had an amazing time working on this”.
As expected, the comments were invaded by questions asking about the rationale behind the bare feet. The artist then revealed that it was directly related to the character’s backstory.
Thanks for your feedbacks! We decided to keep the feet bare to sell the ‘asylum’ look a bit more; in many institutions, patients are not allowed to have shoes because they might cause harm with the laces. While Sigma isn’t necessarily in danger of that, we felt that having no shoes helped draw that connection. I also had iterations of him with shoes on, and it made him a lot more generic, so in the end we decided to leave him barefeet. That’s just what the reasoning internally was though, I’m sure we’ll be making skins with shoes on him in the future!
And um, we sincerely do hope that this doesn’t mean what it seems like. There were several things that could have been original about Overwatch’s Sigma. The backstory especially is woefully cliched. However, trying to reference asylum patients and then backpedaling on how this trivializes self abuse is not the wisest move. We sincerely do hope that Blizzard retcons the story.