Blizzard will rename Overwatch’s McCree to no longer be named after former employee (Update)

Overwatch Cole Cassidy

The change will be implemented in a coming story arc

Today, the Overwatch development team announced a change to one of its original launch characters: a name change. The revolver-toting cowboy McCree will have his name changed, following the departure of his namesake from the company.

In a statement sent out today and shared on social media, the team confirmed it will be changing McCree’s name in order to “better represent what Overwatch stands for.” The Overwatch team says it won’t be naming any more in-game characters after real employees going forward, and it will be “more thoughtful and discerning” about adding real-world references in future Overwatch content.

“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,” the statement reads. “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 team plans to implement these changes in a future story arc that was intended to kick off in September, but due to the change, the arc will be delayed until later this year. A new FFA map will instead launch in September.

[Update: Similar changes are coming to World of Warcraft as well. The Washington Post reports that multiple references to McCree will be removed from the MMO “soon,” as well as similar references to former Diablo IV director Luis Barriga and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft; these were confirmed to the Post by a Blizzard spokesperson.]

McCree’s namesake was one of several employees who departed the company in the wake of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which alleges discrimination and a toxic work culture at the company. Employees at the company have since organized a walkout and formed a coalition, signing letters that demand change from the leadership at Activision Blizzard.

Axios recently reported that the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard has been expanded to include contingent or temporary workers, and included additional allegations of human resource personnel shredding documents related to the investigation.

Eric Van Allen