Blizzard announced they will be changing the name of the Overwatch character McCree in a tweet Thursday morning. The cowboy was named after former Blizzard level designer Jesse McCree, who was let go from the company following the Activision Blizzard lawsuit.
“As we continue to discuss how we best live up to our values and to demonstrate our commitment to creating a game 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,” the tweet reads.
Jesse McCree is one of the few high-level individuals who have been let go from the company as a result of the lawsuit, alongside Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft. The decision to rename McCree was expected, as the company had dealt with this before following the removal of creative senior director Alex Afrasiabi. Named in the lawsuit for heading the “Cosby suite” and harassing female employees, Activision Blizzard quietly let him go last year. They also removed references to him in World of Warcraft, changing Stormwind’s Field Marshal Afrasiabi to Field Marshal Stonebridge and removing Fras Siabi’s Axe.
The Overwatch team said that they would be delaying a new arc originally set to release in September in order to implement the name change into the story. Instead, players will be receiving a new FFA map. While we are unsure of what the new name will be, their statement made it clear that they will no longer be naming characters after real employees and they will be “more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.”
The Activision Blizzard lawsuit was originally filed on July 20 by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Since then, the company has received backlash from employees for their leadership’s response and has hired a union-busting law firm in an attempt to improve the workplace environment. The DFEH has also recently expanded the lawsuit to add temporary female workers to the list of people they are suing on behalf of, and are alleging that Activision Blizzard is tampering with the investigation.