Overwatch to Change McCree’s Name After Namesake’s Workplace Misconduct

A storyline in the game has also been delayed until later in 2021.

Activision-Blizzard’s workplace harassment saga continues, and it’s having a pretty significant impact on one Overwatch character: Jesse McCree. The hero was named after an employee at Blizzard, one who was named and subsequently removed from the company after it became the subject of a lawsuit for its workplace culture. As such, Blizzard has announced its plans to change the character’s name, and it will have an impact on the game’s story moving forward.

In a post on the game’s social media channels, the team said McCree’s name will be changing, and that this will also result in the delay of an Overwatch narrative arc that was meant to begin next month.

The full message reads as follows:

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 instead 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.

This isn’t the first time Blizzard has changed character names in the wake of the workplace lawsuit, as World of Warcraft saw several changes to remove references to former employee Alex Afrasiabi, who was called out by name in the lawsuit. Meanwhile, employees organized a walkout in protest of the working conditions within Activision-Blizzard. As far as the company’s public-facing image, reveals like the next Call of Duty have tried to keep things business as usual, but it has tried to keep the controversy away from its products by not including its own logo in some presentations.