Overwatch character McCree is going to be renamed, the game's development team have announced. The change comes after the character's namesake, Blizzard developer Jesse McCree, left the studio amidst a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the State Of California which alleges workplace sexual harassment and discrimination at the developer.
"We built the Overwatch universe around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future," begins the statement released through the official Overwatch Twitter account. "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 statement goes on to explain that McCree's name change will be folded into a narrative arc to roll out later this year, and that a planned story arc due to launch in September has consequently been delayed. "Going forward, in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content."
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
Jesse McCree more recently served as lead designer on Diablo 4. He was one of several Blizzard employees pictured in the BlizzCon "Cosby Suite", a hotel room which featured a portrait of Bill Cosby. The lawsuit brought against Activision Blizzard by California alleges that World Of Warcraft developer Alex Afrasiabi would harass women in the suite.
Activision Blizzard's initial corporate statements after the lawsuit were dismissive and aggressive, prompting several employees to condemn the response as "abhorrent" and to lead a walkout in protest. Several other employees have left the company, including Blizzard boss J. Allen Brack. Earlier this week, the State of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing accused Activision Blizzard of shredding documents pertaining to their investigation.
You can read the statement from the Overwatch team in full below:
"We built the Overwatch universe around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future. They are central to the game and to the Overwatch team.
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.
We realize that any change to such a well-loved and central hero in the game's fiction will take time to roll out correctly, and we'll share updates as this work progresses. In the near term, we had planned to kick off a narrative arc in September supported with new story and game content, of which McCree was a key part. Since we want to integrate this change into that story arc, we will be delaying the new arc until later this year and isntead launch a new FFA map this September. Going forward, in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.
This will help reinforce that we're building a fictional universe that is unmistakably different from the real world and better illustrates that the creation of Overwatch is truly a team effort. Work on these updates is underway, and they are just a part of our ongoing commitment to honest reflection and making whatever changes are necessary to build a future worth fighting for. We know that actions speak louder than words, and we hope to show you our commitment to making Overwatch a better experience in-game and continue to make our team the best it can be."