Without people to play them, games wouldn’t exist, and game developers owe a lot to their fans for keeping their games alive and active. Often, when a fan of a game passes away, the communities will rally to remember them and sometimes the creators themselves will even take part, adding content to their games to remember their fallen fans.
On the Lijang Tower map, there’s a display of some space suits, and one of them is emblazoned, in Chinese, with the name Hongyu Wu, and the phrase “Heroes Never Die,” the catchphrase used by Overwatch character Mercy.
On May 23, just hours before the release of Overwatch, student and gamer Hongyu Wu died from injuries suffered pursuing a thief who’d stolen his friend’s bike. His efforts did result in the thief being caught, but Wu ultimately succumbed to the injuries and passed away.
Wu had been looking forward to Overwatch, and some of his last communications online were about his excitement for it. Reddit user Czhihong posted that last communication where friends of Wu have left messages following his passing to express condolences.
There’s not much a company like Blizzard can do directly in a situation like that, but remembering fans like this connects the company to their community in a meaningful, personal way, and reminds us that the people creating even huge games like Overwatch are human and pay attention to the people who love their games.
As for me, I’m probably going to tear up every time I hear Mercy’s catchphrase now.