Blizzard has announced that Jesse McCree, Overwatch's cowboy hero, is getting a name change. The developer broke the news in a Twitter statement, saying that the name will be changed to "something that better represents what Overwatch stands for."
Unfortunately, to anyone unfamiliar with the goings on at Blizzard, this news doesn't make much sense. What Blizzard didn't say is that McCree was named after Diablo 4 lead level designer Jesse McCree, who was let go along with other high-ranking staff earlier this month.
McCree, as well as several other longtime leads at Blizzard, were part of the infamous "Cosby Suite", an informal event taking place at a hotel suite at BlizzCon, where powerful men at Blizzard reportedly courted female fans, candidates, and colleagues.
Since that became public, many Overwatch fans called on Blizzard to remove all references to those people in the game, as it has done with Alex Afrasiabi's (another implicated major figure) references in World of Warcraft. A number of Overwatch commentators also stopped using McCree's name when casting Overwatch League matches.
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
According to Blizzard's statement, a new Overwatch narrative arc was set to begin in September, and McCree was going to be a big part of it. The developer has now decided to delay that until later this year. In its place, Overwatch will receive a new FFA map.
The developer added that a change as big as this one will take time - McCree is one of the game's most recognisable heroes, after all - but didn't say when we can expect it to take place. It will, however, be sharing regular updates on the process.
Finally, Blizzard said that going forward, it will no longer name in-game characters after real employees.
This the latest in the fallout from the State of California's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for widespread sexism, discrimination, and what it called "frat boy" culture at Blizzard. While the company has made some moves, most notably letting go of a number of implicated figures, as well as studio president J. Allen Brack and longtime HR head Jesse Meschuk, many don't feel the core of their problems is being addressed.
Just this week, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, who's suing Activision Blizzard, expanded the lawsuit to include temp workers, accusing the company of stalling its investigation and destroying evidence.