Reddit is chock full of conspiracy theories and wild, unfounded claims. But sometimes, it’s a community full of Sherlock-level sleuths who can crowdsource some pretty amazing discoveries.
At the end of a YouTube video of Blizzard developers discussing a newly-added character to the multiplayer shooter “Overwatch,” someone on Reddit noticed that there was a brief flashing image of some static and interference, excerpted in GIF form below. This set the Reddit “Overwatch” community into a frenzy.
One frame contains a collection of barcodes, which were run through an online barcode reader, converted to binary, then converted into a QR code, which links to a mysterious phrase in Spanish when it’s scanned.
The phrase reads, “¿Estuvo eso facilito? Ahora que tengo su atención, déjenme se las pongo más difícil,” which translates to, “Was that easy? Now that I have your attention, let’s make things more difficult.“
Because all of that wasn’t difficult enough, apparently. But it’s just one of the many clues “Overwatch” players have found that they believe point to a top-secret character that Blizzard has been teasing for months.
¿Quién es Sombra?
As the “Overwatch” community keeps finding hidden secrets in images and videos, one word keeps popping up: “Sombra,” which is Spanish for “shadow.” It’s thought that this is the name of a character that will eventually be added to the game, and that she is hacking into various “Overwatch” videos and images, leaving a trail behind for players to discover more about her. (Not actually, because, you know, she’s a character in a video game.)
Her name has popped up in incredibly complicated ways: In two separate frames of a YouTube video uploaded to the “Overwatch” YouTube channel, a series of letters and numbers is visible (only if you modify the contrast, of course) that was eventually decoded to say “La que tiene la información; tiene el poder,” which translates to, “Whoever has the information; has the power.” But, if you decode the last four characters of the first image and the first two characters of the second, you’ll get the word “Sombra.”
Does your head hurt yet? Mine does.
If you think that these Redditors are just a bunch of tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, you’re wrong. These teases appear more explicitly in-game, too, like on a computer screen and in a dialog line of one character.
Sombra has even been acknowledged by Blizzard’s own Jeff Kaplan, the director on “Overwatch.”
When asked about the discoveries on Reddit in an interview with Eurogamer, Kaplan said, “We have put a lot of hints, all over the game and out of the game, so I would say it’s about time that people are concerned with who Sombra is. I hope they keep researching more and find more hints that are out there.”
More recently, he told Kotaku, “Sombra will let people know when she wants more to be known about her. She’s very good at that sort of thing.”
No really, who is Sombra?
As Kaplan said, there are still many undiscovered secrets about who Sombra is, but given that many of the secrets surrounding her have been hidden in codes, some are speculating that her abilities will be technological in nature or somehow related to hacking and stealth.
One mystery that the “Overwatch” community has yet to decode includes a string of jumbled letters and numbers that appeared in a single frame of the trailer for the Summer Games seasonal in-game event.
Some have even suggested that messing with the contrast ratios when you’re looking at a certain area of the sky in one of the game’s levels looks like some kind of a barcode, or that it might actually correspond to specific music notes that will play some kind of secret message.
OK, so maybe some Redditors are tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, but crazier theories have panned out in the past.