Overwatch developers confirm my conspiracy theory about Lucio’s hair

At long last, I have finally revealed the truth behind one Overwatch questions that have plagued me for six years: what the hell is going on with Lúcio’s hair?

Last week I spoke Overwatch 2 developers Geoff Goodman and Dion Rogers on Sojourn, the game’s first black female hero. Since this was the rare chance to be alone with a couple Overwatch developers, I took the opportunity to ask a burning question about another variety Overwatch hero: Lucio

Lúcio is my favorite before the stay Overwatch character both for his gameplay and his story. He is a healer with unique movement and healing abilities. He was one of the first and only characters I dedicated myself to mastering (with questionable, less than mastering results) despite not being great at team-based shooting games. He is also this cool, quadruple platinum, afro Brazilian DJ with an affinity for frogs who decided to join a group of international freedom fighters to stop the gentrification of his favela. I was attracted to him right away. But one thing is always generated me about this Beyonce-with-a-gun character was his hair.

I am obsessed with black hair in video games as hair especially for black women is such a sensitive topic. A few weeks ago, we could not stop talking about an event that at its core was about a black woman’s hair. There were laws written in the 18th century that promised how black women could wear their hair. Even today, in the supposed “enlightened age” of 2022, we pass laws that protect black people from hard discrimination after people lost job opportunities and children had their hair cut against their will.

So much of my own self-esteem has been tied to my hair. I have rocket wigs, extensions and dreadlocks. I have worn my hair straightened, naturally and now cut short. So I’m particularly sensitive to how black hair is represented in video games, which brings us to Lúcio and the case of his confusing hair.

Do you see, he has these huge – huge – Dreadlocks that looked so strange and unnatural that I made this complicated conspiracy theory that it is actually not his hair at all, but rather a piece of performance art. Yes, I’m a Lúcio hair truther. I’ve had dreadlocks before. I know how big a “B” they can get, depending on how you maintain them (or do not). But Lúcio’s locks did not seem real to me. They looked like they were made of foam instead of something growing out of his head.

Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

Where most black video game hairstyles fail is when creators do not take into account hair texture. This is why many of the afro styles you can choose in a game’s character traits resemble these large, matte balls of not-sure-what-is-but-it-not-hair, or why the afro style in Little Tina’s Wonderland similar to the armor model Elden Ring‘s abominable dung beetles.

I understand that it’s a cumbersome process to create any kind of hair texture in a video game, so I’m usually willing to calculate a bad texture for time constraints and the limitations of a game engine. But Lúcio’s style with flat-to-head cornrows that blossomed into big, bouncy … things ??? was just so weird that I rejected that premise in favor of going full stanniolhat, literally. In my hypothesis, Lúcio’s hair is actually a hat that he wears as part of his DJ persona. It’s like Daft Punk or Deadmau5’s helmets. It is a theory I have held for years until I finally had the chance to ask Overwatch developers and confirm my suspicions.

“Yes, your theory is correct,” said Rogers, art director for Overwatch. Sweet, sweet justification. Rogers also shared it Overwatch 2Lúcio’s hair would get an update.

“It simply came to our notice then Overwatch 2said Rogers. “A big part of the research we did was trying to create more culturally correct ethnic hair. You can see the improvement on his Overwatch 2 concept art. The foam loc headpiece has been replaced with more natural (and textured!) Hair that still pays homage to his DJ persona, ending in bright neon coils that remind me of cybergoth wigs from the late 2000s.

Lucio in Overwatch and Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard Entertainment

While I’m happy to have my long-standing suspicion finally calmed down, I’m just as happy that Rogers and his team understood that hair is important to a character’s identity, especially black characters like Sojourn and Lúcio.

“Something that I think is pretty cool about the art team is that we have people dedicated to improving the perception of hair on ethnic characters,” Rogers said.