People belonging to Hindu community have urged the California-based Blizzard Entertainment to remove the Devi skin of the Symmetra character from its video game Overwatch. The skin is said to demean and be dismissive of the respected Hindu goddesses by letting anyone assume the avatar of a holy deity.
The Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has asked the CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, and its parent Activision Blizzard's CEO, for a withdrawal in a statement in Nevada. He said, in the video game players can essentially control a devi by acquiring that skin, which goes against Hindu tradition of believers letting goddesses control their destiny.
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Symmetra, the character in question, is sent by her corporation "on clandestine missions around the world to uphold its corporate interests". She is also famous for "utilizing her light-bending Photon Projector to dispatch adversaries."
Blizzard Entertainment logo. Image source: kultur2.blog.fc2.com
Moreover, it has been noted that the skin is an inaccurate depiction of the goddesses and the movements do not correlate with those in the Hindu scriptures. Zed has said that this false interpretation of Hindu deities and concepts for the purposes of commercialization goes against the core value "lead responsibly" of Blizzard Entertainment.
Devis are meant to be worshipped and not manipulated by the mere movement of a joystick, said Zed. He also added that the skin has reduced the sacred deities to no more than a character rather than appreciating the high place they hold in the scriptures.
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He noted the difference between artistic freedom and belittling the faith of a community for monetary gains. He has also added that Hindu scholars would willingly and happily provide the details needed to depict the skin respectfully as inaccurate depictions would influence the minds of highly impressionable children and teens.
Overwatch was released in May and had claimed to be a "critical hit" by the "premier developer and publisher of entertainment software" Blizzard Entertainment. Overwatch has also been localized for overseas customers by incorporating other languages.
– prepared by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. You can find her on Twitter @VarshaGupta94