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Overwatch’s Chinese New Year skins tell an age-old story

Overwatch’s Chinese New Year skins tell an age-old story

In its latest holiday-themed event, Overwatch is celebrating the Chinese New Year with new highlight intros, emotes, voice lines, sprays and, most importantly, brand spanking new skins. But rather than just look good, skins from the Year of the Rooster event actually work together to tell a story. While some of them merely paint familiar characters in the red and gold of the Chinese New Year, like Qipao Symmetra or Luna Mei, others draw inspiration from a great work of classical Chinese literature, Journey into the West.

Winston’s new skin appropriately casts him as Sun Wukong, king of the monkeys. In this skin, Winston swaps out his tesla cannon for a high-tech version of the Ruyi Jingu Bang, a legendary staff that could grow and shrink as the Monkey King needed. It is, uh, functionally the same as the ol’ bugzapper. Wukong’s golden armor, conned off the Dragon King from the East Sea, is also represented by the highlights on Winston’s more modern-looking combat gear.

Wukong Winston

Reinhardt’s skin casts him as Sha Wujing. Wujing was originally a celestial being cast down to earth for accidentally breaking the crystal goblet of a high ranking goddess. Like most people kicked out of an exclusive party, Wujing spent some time wallowing in a river, terrorizing nearby villages, until Wukong showed up and beat on him until he agreed to travel together. He uses a gardening spade as a weapon—but, you know, a badass one.

Wujing Reinhardt

There’s only one character in Journey to the West with a pig head, so the choice to model Roadhog’s skin after Zhu Bajie makes a lot of sense. Bajie was also a celestial being, a military leader who had too much to drink and flirted with the moon until she booted him down to earth and made him look like a pig. Yet again, this is a character with a garden tool as their primary weapon: Roadhog’s terrifying meat hook has become a rake. That means if you’re a vegetable patch, look out. At least it looks mildly intimidating in Roadhog’s grubby mitts.

Bajie Roadhog

Rounding out the party is Zenyatta as the Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang, the main character and titular journeyer on his way westwards. I don’t recall the stories saying anything about how handsome this guy was, though! While it was the duty of Wukong, Wujing, and Bajie to protect Sanzang during his quest to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures, my experience with most Overwatch teams mean that this version of Sanzang will have to watch his own back.

Sanzang Zenyatta
Sanzang Zenyatta
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