Custom content celebrating the pending Year of the Rat.



The Lunar New Year is just around the corner (January 25) and some of the world’s biggest gaming companies are marking the event with a release of custom content celebrating the pending Year of the Rat. Blizzard is leading the way, with a full complement of skins and even a new game mode for Overwatch. Starting on January 16th, the company made 7 new skins accessible: 3 epic and 4 legendary. Each of the 3 epic skins can be unlocked by playing and winning 9 games per week over the 3-week long event (it ends on February 6th). Week 1’s unlock is the Monk Doomfist, week 2 is the Ancient Chinese Bronze Winston and week 3 is Papercutting Wrecking Ball. The 4 legendary skins can be earned through lootboxes or by purchase and include Opera Brigitte, Face-Changer Sombra, Mask Dancer Moira, and Samul Nori Lucio. The new game mode, called FlagBlitz, is a version of Capture the Flag where the flags will be moved closer together.


Epic Games is also reportedly taking part in the festivities with a bevy of skins and a new event for their blockbuster multiplayer shooter Fortnite, though the company is apparently being quite secretive. Though Fortnite has celebrated the Chinese New Year since the game debuted in 2017, Daily Esports is claiming that the company has only leaked possible new skins, without adding any official announcement. According to the site and Twitter user @ShiinaBR, there are 6 skins that have leaked, although 2 seem especially linked to the holiday. A special Swift skin has already appeared on Chinese promotional posters, while those for Smoke Dragon also look particularly festive. 

smoke dragon

Shooters aren’t the only genre celebrating the new year, as Niantic is also planning to commemorate the date in Pokemon Go. As it is the year of the rat, perhaps it’s no surprise the company is releasing a new rodent-like creature called Minccino, along with its evolution, Cinccino. Other Pokemon like Charmeleon, Magmar, and Magikarp will appear more often in the wild as they are red in color, which complements the festivities. The event launches today and lasts through Feb 3rd.  


Interestingly, though League of Legends usually participates in the yearly celebration, apparently Riot Games has opted to skip this year. Instead, new skins were recently introduced as part of the Mecha Kingdom skin line, which dropped only a few days ago. Seems players hoping for a special skin for the rat champion Twitch are out of luck.