Amid the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit that alleges a discriminatory “frat boy” culture at the publisher, Overwatch’s McCree is getting a name change. Jesse McCree was named after a former senior Blizzard dev of the same name. McCree (the dev, not the character) was let go from Blizzard following the recent filing of the California lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. In the aftermath of the lawsuit becoming public, McCree was found to have taken part in the now infamous “Cosby Suite” detailed in the lawsuit. Demands to change the character McCree’s name in light of this information have been ongoing, and Blizzard finally confirmed that the character’s name will by changed to something else via an upcoming narrative event.
Blizzard confirmed the upcoming name change via a tweet.
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
“We built the Overwatch universe around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future. The are central to the game and to the Overwatch team,” the statement says. “As we continue to discuss how we best live up to our values and to demonstrate our commitment to creating a game world that reflects them, we believe it’s necessary to change the name of the hero currently known as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for.”
They go on to talk about the difficulty of changing the name of a character so heavily integrated into the game’s fiction, and want to “take time to roll [it] out correctly.” This name change will come as part of a new story arc and game content that is due later this year.
Additionally, the Overwatch team promises it will not name any future characters after real employees in the future to prevent having them tied to potentially problematic individuals. It will also look closer at adding any real-world references in future content to avoid similar issues.
This isn’t the first time Blizzard has had to rename characters and items named after problematic individuals. World of Warcraft had a number of in-game characters, items, quests, and other references to former problematic Blizzard dev Alex Afrasiabi, who quietly left the company last year and was one of only two named people in the California lawsuit. Blizzard changed these in-game names and references earlier this month.
At this point, it’s unknown what McCree’s new name will be, or how exactly Blizzard plans to integrate the change of name into the story. Overwatch quietly suppressed the announcement of a new map the day after the lawsuit came out back in July, and some recent reports say that Overwatch 2 development is taking longer than expected.