Blizzard Entertainment urged to Remove Devi Portrayal from “Overwatch” Video Game

Blizzard’s sexual depiction of Hindu Goddess in ‘Óverwatch’ is just not right

After making all the right noises since its launch, Blizzard seems to have erred. Overwatch is in the news again and this time, it’s for depicting a Hindu Goddess as an in-game hero.

Hindus worldwide are urging Blizzard Entertainment to withdraw the Devi (Goddess) skin of Symmetra character in its Overwatch video game, calling it inappropriate. Skins are alternate appearances that players can apply to characters in video games.

The Universal Society of Hinduism has objected to a skin that Blizzard introduced for Overwatch’s Symmetra. The skin transforms Symmetra into something not unlike the Hindu Goddess Kali by giving her blue skin, vaguely Indian attire and a set of poses that vaguely resemble traditional depictions of Hindu Goddesses. The skin itself is titled Devi.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that 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.

Moreover, Devi and its movements depicted in Overwatch did not match with characterization of the goddesses in the scriptures, Rajan Zed noted.

Zed stated that Blizzard Entertainment needed to follow its own “core values” which included “lead responsibly” (As one of the world’s leading game companies, we’re committed to making ethical decisions), as in this case it was creating confusion in the minds of community about Devi by misrepresentation.

Rajan Zed indicated that reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it created confusion. Controlling and manipulating Devi with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. 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.

Zed further said that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people, Zed added.

For those who know little about Hinduism, Devi, synonymous with Sakti, is applied to any of the many forms of Hindu goddess. Ancient Sanskrit text Devi Mahatmya described her supreme powers.



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