Blizzard have announced plans to change the name of an Overwatch character named after a controversial Activision Blizzard ex-employee.
Cowboy McCree is one of the many heroes in the game and was named after Jesse McCree, a Blizzard employee who has now left the company.
McCree was, until recently, lead designer on the forthcoming RPG Diablo 4.
Fans had already been campaigning to change the character’s name, but now the official Overwatch Twitter account shared the name-change news.
“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,” it 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 know as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for.”
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
The name change, the statement explains, will take some time so won’t be done immediately. This will also impact story content intended for September but will now release later this year.
“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,” the statement continues.
“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.”
There’s no news yet on what the name will be.
While some fans are mostly positive about the change, there were also plenty of cynical and sarcastic responses.
Zarya was modled after an employee, right? Where does the real world end and this fiction begin? Am I even real? Is Overwatch on Earth? Am I on Earth? Am I Zarya???
— Ster (@SterLovesFood) August 26, 2021
If someone named Reinhart or Mei do or say something bad in the future, can we look forward to more name changes? You know, "to make the world a better place"?
— DeuS_eX_DaRe (@DeuSeXDaRe) August 26, 2021
We did it, Patrick, we saved Overwatch—and Blizzard! pic.twitter.com/aL2zZquNMg
— Kaleb (@KalebPrime) August 26, 2021
I propose that his name is changed to Shooty McPistolguy
— McCreamy (@McCreamy) August 27, 2021
It seems it will take more than renaming a character to undo the ongoing damage wrought by the allegations against the company.