From one event to another, the Lunar New Year event is just around the corner. Slated to start on the day of the actual Chinese Lunar New Year, January 25th, the Overwatch team is sure to have whipped up something special. For the past two years, the Lunar New Year event has showcased some of the history behind the actual celebration. Two years ago, characters adorned skins based off of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. This past year, characters showcased their war strategies with skins modeled after prominent figures in the Three Kingdoms Dynasty.
This year, fans can expect the very same. Something about the Lunar New Year skins always stands out. The level of detail and the rich history is truly admirable. With inspiration being pulled from Chinese history, as well as Japanese and Korean tradition, there’s something for everyone, and the celebration is truly inclusive and beautiful. With past years to reflect on, these are some of the skins fans could see when the Lunar New Year event goes live.
1: Year of the (Junk)Rat
This year is the Year of the Rat. With that in mind, it would only be fitting if everyone’s favorite Australian rat got a skin of his own. Most fan interpretations of this skin relate him to a Rat King, fully dressed in royal garb with a crown to top it all off. This, however, might relate too closely to the Rat King skin released for Reaper during the Winter Wonderland event.
With that in mind, Junkrat’s Lunar New Year skin could still poke at the hilarity of his name, while also honoring the traditional Chinese history that follows with the holiday. Perhaps his riptire shows the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, where each animal represents certain years. His ears could also be longer, and his hair a little shaggier to make him more animal in appearance.
2: Lü Dongbin Baptiste
Based off of the Eight Immortals in Chinese history, a Lü Dongbin inspired skin for Baptiste gives a new and interesting take on the culture. Lü Dongbin was a poet and a scholar, who mastered one of the earliest forms of alchemy. This alchemy — or niedan — promoted the idea of physical, mental and spiritual health. With these practices, humans can sustain life after death and create an immortal spiritual body.
If anyone knows about immortality, it’s Baptiste. A healer himself, a skin inspired by one of the first ancient healers in Chinese history would make perfect sense. Statues and artwork portray Lü Dongbin in golden robes with a small mustache and a hat atop his head. Baptiste can adorn those robes with ease. Long, golden and flowing, the skin is complete with a set of glowing eyes that lets the roster know that he’ll keep them safe, even after death.
3: He Xiangu Ana
Another member of the Eight Immortals is He Xiangu. He Xiangu is said to be the only woman among the group. She lived briefly before ascending to Heaven as an immortal being, living the rest of her days from up top. He Xiangu is often depicted holding a lotus flower, which is said to improve one’s mental and physical health. She’s a healer and a protector.
While there are plenty of support characters in the game, none of them give off the same energy that Ana does. Older, immortal and unkillable, Ana makes perfect sense for a He Xiangu-inspired skin. Old depictions have her at a younger age, with ribbons tied into her hair as her robes flow. Legends also say that He Xiangu is often depicted with a bamboo ladle. Imagine Ana’s sniper gun coated in beautiful bamboo, while her hair is swiped away from her face and gold trimmed robes cloak her body.
4: Zhinü Mei and Niulang McCree
Based on an old Chinese fairy tale is Zhinü Mei, and matching Niulang McCree. The fairy tale, the Cowherd and the Fairy, recalls the tail of a farmer, Niulang, who caused a ruckus. In the woods, he came across several fairy sisters, and stole their clothes while they were bathing to see what would happen. The sisters sent the youngest of them, Zhinü, to retrieve them. When she did, the two fell in love and got married. However, the Goddess of Heaven punished Niulang for marrying a fairy girl, and separated them well into their afterlives.
In this story of star-crossed lovers, Mei and McCree lend themselves perfectly to these roles. Zhinü Mei is a fairy queen, wearing beautiful pink robes. With her hair sweeping perfectly, and flowing glitter that sets her apart from mere mortals, she floats across the map. McCree, on the other hand, suits the cow herder. As a cowboy, McCree can settle into the role of scruffy and well meaning, in more relaxed common clothes. Add a bun atop his head to pull the look together and they’re a match made in Heaven. (Literally.)
5: Kumiho D.Va
Delving into the world of Korean mythology gives the Overwatch team a perfect chance to give D.Va a new event skin. Kumiho D.Va gives them a chance to right the wrong, as well as celebrating her own Korean culture. The Kumiho is a nine-tailed fox that changes its appearance into seemingly anything. This includes, but is not limited to, an internationally acclaimed war hero and video game champion.
D.Va’s skin could go in many directions, and fans have already been thinking about a skin like this for years, considering D.Va’s resemblance to League of Legends character Ahri. For D.Va, the subtle approach is more accessible for the game. Her mech could be adorned with bright colors, including an array of fox tails on the back (like her Black Cat skin). When she pops out, D.Va has a tail of her own, and bright red eyes that indicate she’s ready to take down anyone who gets in her way.
6: Shinigami Reaper
A figure from japanese culture is the shinigami. Fallen angels or grim reapers, they’re seen as gods, or supernatural spirits, that often welcome mortals to the other side when they die. When it comes to inspired skins for the Lunar New Year event, a shinigami would fit right in.
And who better to play this shinigami than the fallen angel himself, Reaper. With a complicated backstory related to his own mysterious death, in addition to his wraith powers and the ability to phase whenever he wants, Reaper makes for a perfect shinigami. In popular culture, shinigami have taken on a variety of forms. In most art, they tend to look more ghoulish as they lurk in the shadows. Since Reaper’s base skin is already a traditional black coat, something more ornate could make him stand out. Adorned with a fearsome metal helmet and layered cloaks, Reaper could certainly inspire fear into the hearts of other players.
7: Hou Yi Hanzo
A famous figure from Chinese history is Hou Yi. An archer, Hou Yi took to action when the Emperor’s sons turned into three legged crows. They burnt the land, harming anyone that got in their way, and Hou Yi shot them down to save his home. He’s hailed as a hero, and is credited with saving mankind from the attack. Hou Yi has already appeared in modern media, including as a playable character in the fighting game, SMITE.
With how perfectly the stars align in this particular tale, only one Overwatch character could bear such a strong resemblance to a world saving archer. Hanzo suits the bill perfectly. With accents of fire, Hanzo’s bow can be red and orange, designed ornately from top to bottom. His hair could be styled into a long ponytail, a red ribbon could tie it all together. Red robes top it all off, and Hanzo would proudly represent a hero of the people.
As of right now, nothing has been stated regarding the start of the Lunar New Year event. Keep up with The Game Haus for any and all updates as the date draws closer. Also, a special thank you to Peregrxnans (@A2Ziegler on Twitter) for guidance, help, and instruction on Chinese history and folklore. Make sure to give them a follow and a shout out for the amazing work they did!
Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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