Blizzard announced plans to rename Overwatch‘s fan favorite hero McCree after the character’s namesake, Jesse McCree, was fired by the company after he was involved in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit that was filed against the company. Blizzard announced the decision on Twitter.
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
“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 reads in part.
Blizzard also vows to never rename characters after company employees again. This isn’t the only character Blizzard has felt compelled to scrub from their IPs — multiple references to World of Warcraft developer Alex Afrasiabi were removed from the game, including an NPC in Stormwind City name Field Marshal Afrasiabi, after some truly heinous allegations against Afrasiabi surfaced.
This decision will impact Overwatch‘s near-term roadmap, as a narrative story arc heavily featuring McCree was planned for September. This will be delayed until “later this year,” and Blizzard will instead launch a new FFA map in September.
Blizzard’s full statement is transcribed 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 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 refrlection 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.
– The Overwatch Team
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