As someone with Nigerian roots, I’m a fan of Overwatch’s newest hero and fellow Nigerian, Akande Ogundimu — otherwise known as Doomfist. It helps that Blizzard Entertainment is making his heritage an integral part of his character, with the character’s first set of skins drawing on cultural traditions.
A Twitter thread from Andrien Gbingie, a marketing manager at Ubisoft Montreal of Nigerian origin, provides more context for what inspired some of Doomfist’s coolest new looks.
Doomfist’s two legendary skins are based on orishas, spirits that reflect the gods of the Yoruba religion. Doomfist is of Yoruba descent, according to his official bio; the ethnic group is one of the biggest in Nigeria. The orisha have different color schemes, with their colors corresponding to different values and symbols important to the faith.
Gbingie explains how this applies to Doomfist’s “Avatar” and “Spirit” skins. Avatar is red, which is known to be “quick-tempered and harsh,” while Spirit is blue. That’s the color of the “cool, gentle and compassionate” spirits.
So, Avatar and Spirit.Red orisha, like Ogun, are quick tempered and harsh.Blue orisha, like Yemoja, are cool, gentle and compassionate. pic.twitter.com/WniOG5OLYi
— Andrien Gbinigie (@EscoBlades) July 13, 2017
“Moreso than any character before him, most of Doomfist’s skins really highlight and celebrate his heritage,” Gbingie wrote, “which is cool to see.”
The game’s explanations behind these two skins aren’t quite as explicit about how they relate to Yoruba culture, but the imagery is clear to people of the ethnic group. The classy spiritual inspiration is much more striking to me than the more generic “Cheetah” and “Painted” skins, which draw on a much broader cultural theme. Cool these may be, it’s even more special to see a Western game do its homework on the history of Africa’s most populous country.
These skins are available to check out on the Public Test Realm now, so PC Overwatch players should go ahead and try a different look for Doomfist.