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Overwatch’s teases have long been hidden in plain sight

Witch Mercy is just the latest

It’s not unfair to say that the most celebrated part of Overwatch’s new Halloween update is a costume for Mercy, the beloved healer. The Witch Mercy skin has attracted a ton of attention from artistic fans, complete non-players and lovers of all things flirty and spooky.

But there’s a certain subset of the Overwatch community that, upon yesterday’s formal announcement that Halloween was coming to the game, celebrated Witch Mercy for another reason. They’d speculated that this specific costume change would make it into Overwatch for six months now — since the release of “Recall,” the debut Overwatch short in which Witch Mercy makes a cameo appearance.

“Halloween skins here they come!” one Reddit user wrote on a thread about the animated video back in March, after spotting a photo of Mercy and Torbjorn in Halloween garb.

“OK, that was a blatant show of a Witch skin for Mercy,” reads a post on NeoGAF from that same month. “And I’m OK with that.”

As Halloween season approached, desire for — and expectations of — the character’s witch costume increased. When Witch Mercy was finally confirmed, so were these eagle-eyed fans’ assumptions. The origin of that first photo from “Recall” is even shown in the new Overwatch comic, “Junkenstein,” where Mercy and Torbjorn can be found posing in costume.

It’s not uncommon for Blizzard Entertainment to play the long game with Overwatch teases. Players discovered another one hinting at the Halloween Terror update just before it launched yesterday afternoon. On the Eichenwalde map, a sign appears that issues an “evacuation order” for Oct. 11 between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m. Although some caught on shortly after the area’s release in August, it wasn’t until this week that the hint began to take shape for most players. The Halloween patch came right on cue, hitting consoles and Windows PC on Oct. 11 around the vicinity of the hours stated in the Eichenwalde clue.

Long before that, characters like Roadhog and Junkrat were first seen in a promotional video for Overwatch, where they made quick, discreet appearances. A Moment in Crime, a website that is now the frequent landing page for Overwatch conspiracy theorists, gained significance long after it was used to help sell people on the game last fall.

Overwatch players who don’t pick up on these clues ahead of time shouldn’t kick themselves; instead, perhaps they should be galvanized to keep looking in every nook and cranny for the next reveal. Now that Witch Mercy is out in the wild, there’s always that Viking Torbjorn to look out for ... not to mention Sombra, the mysterious next hero who’s been teased in a variety of ways since the summer.