The Overwatch ARG takes a new direction as the search for Sombra continues

ARGs—that's “Alternate Reality Game”—can be a lot of fun, but when they're subjected to the collective scrutiny and analysis of the internet, they tend not to stand up for very long. Consider the StarCraft 2 ARG from earlier this year: Despite requiring a “huge, complex, hard-to-read explanation” of what it was all about, it took the community just two days to unlock its mysteries. So it's a little unusual that the Sombra mystery in Overwatch, reignited last week with the release of the Summer Games update, remains unsolved. In fact, as reported by PCGamesN, Blizzard was recently forced to drop a hint to help stumped sleuths get back on the path. 

It seems that players were spending their time staring into the sky from a control point in the Dorado map, in the belief—mistaken, as it turns out—that a pattern in the blue held the next piece of the puzzle. They even translated it into a song, which despite being completely off the mark is still pretty fantastic. Blizzard let the wheels spin for awhile, and then uploaded a new screen from the Dorado map to the Overwatch website, which stood out from the rest because it was obviously corrupted. 

But the corruption is actually datamoshing, a process used to hide data within images, and when decoded it produced this: 

“Por que estan mirando al cielo? La respuesta no esta sobre sus cabezas, esta detras de ustedes. A veces, necesitan analizar sus logros previos.” 

Which Reddit tells us translates to: 

"Why do you look to the sky? The answer is not above your heads, it's behind you. Sometimes, you need to analyze your previous achievements"   

(You can see the results yourself by following the instructions in that Reddit post: Grab Notepad++ (the minimalist package works nicely), drag and drop each image into its own tab, then copy and paste the results separately into DiffChecker and run the comparison. Exclamation marks in the datamoshed image correspond to letters in the original, which spell out the Spanish text. I never would've figured this out myself, but it's still cool to see it in action.) 

This is where it currently stands, although more progress may have been made by the time you read this: The Sombra mystery remains unsolved, and Blizzard thinks you're making a mess of it. The conversation, and work, continues on the Overwatch subreddit and at the Game Detectives Discord

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.