Blizzard Entertainment’s successful shooter game, Overwatch, has drawn strong criticism from Rajan Zed, a ‘Hindu leader’ based in the US. Zed has asked for the ‘Devi skin’ to be removed as it is ‘inappropriate’ and ‘belittling’ the beliefs of Hindus.
Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter game, launched by Blizzard Entertainment in May 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Overwatch draws a lot of inspiration from cultural sources all over the world.
In a statement, Rajan Zed urged Blizzard Entertainment CEO, Michael Morhaime and Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick to remove the goddess skin from the video game, saying that it trivialised the highly revered goddesses.
Zed said that the game is set-up in a way that players can control the movements of Devi with a joystick, which is denigrating. The movements of the goddess do not match with the characterisations given in the scriptures as well, as the statement, which has been put on Rajan Zed’s website.
Zed further indicated that re-imagining Hindu deities, concepts and scriptures for commercial use will create confusion. He added a Devi was meant to be worshiped in temples, and not to be reduced as a “character” in a video game to fight in a virtual battleground.
According to his website, Rajan Zed is a distinguished religious statesman who has taken up Hindu, interfaith, environment, and other causes all over the world.
Zed also claims to be the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Interfaith Ambassador of Nevada Clergy Association, Spiritual Advisor to National Assoc. of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc, and claims to have won awards in the past for his ‘religious leadership.’
In the past, he has also written to a German firm Spreadshirt asking for images of gods to be removed from their underwear brand. calling it “mercantile greed,” and mocking Hindu gods. Zed’s group has also asked for an apology from the New York Mayor Bill de Blasio over a school principal in the city being depicted as a Hindu goddess.
His group has also urged the Rio Olympics organisers to ensure the ‘Hindu room’ at the sporting event is ‘properly equipped’ with shrines of pretty much every possible top Hindu God being mentioned in the list.
Blizarrd has not issued a statement on this issue yet.