In recent weeks, Activision Blizzard has been at the center of considerable controversy, following a lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing that alleged far-reaching sexism, harassment, and abuse at the company. Amid a series of departures from high-ranking employees at the company – including former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack – Blizzard has now revealed that it will be changing the name of Overwatch character Jesse McCree.
On the surface, that might be a strange move for the company to make, but McCree was named after a real-life employee of Blizzard, Jesse McCree, who has been implicated in these sexual abuse complaints. McCree was one of those high-profile departures in the wake of these sexual misconduct allegations, with Blizzard confirming his departure from the company earlier this year.
On Twitter, Blizzard confirmed that following McCree’s exit, the Overwatch character who shares his name will be renamed in a future patch. “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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
Blizzard says that changing McCree’s name is going to take time and that McCree’s name change will be included in an upcoming narrative arc. That narrative arc was slated to kick off in September, but since Blizzard wants to incorporate McCree’s name change, it has been delayed until later this year. In its place, Blizzard says it will launch a new FFA map in September, with details to follow.
In addition, Blizzard said that it will no longer name in-game characters after real-life employees and that it “will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.” We’ll let you know when Blizzard announces the new name for McCree, so stay tuned for more.