Blizzard Entertainment says it is going to rename McCree, Overwatch’s outlaw bounty hunter, after his real-life namesake, former recreation designer Jesse McCree, was let go from the studio within the wake of a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed in opposition to writer Activision Blizzard.
In an announcement posted to Twitter, Blizzard’s Overwatch group confirmed the identify change, saying, “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,” Blizzard stated. “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 name after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.”
The real-life Jesse McCree was a longtime Blizzard Entertainment worker who labored on the developer’s World of Warcraft expansions, Diablo 3, and the upcoming Diablo 4. He left the corporate in August, two weeks after a report was printed that featured McCree collaborating in a Blizzard gathering on the BlizzCon “Cosby Suite,” with former World of Warcraft inventive director Alex Afrasiabi. In the lawsuit filed by California regulators in July, Afrasiabi was alleged to have “engage[d] in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions” whereas at Blizzard.
Blizzard confirmed McCree’s departure on Aug. 11, alongside the departure of two different builders. Afrasiabi himself left Blizzard Entertainment in 2020, forward of the lawsuit. Like McCree, his identify additionally appeared in a Blizzard recreation: World of Warcraft. Blizzard eliminated references to Afrasiabi from World of Warcraft shortly after the lawsuit was made public.
“We also want to take immediate action in Azeroth to remove references that are not appropriate for our world. This work has been underway, and you will be seeing several such changes to both Shadowlands and WoW Classic in the coming days.”
Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in July for making a “frat boy culture” that allowed gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment to proliferate. Several high executives, together with former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, have been described by the lawsuit as understanding about and enabling the alleged habits. The DFEH stated it carried out a two-year investigation into Activision Blizzard earlier than submitting the swimsuit.
Activision Blizzard initially known as the lawsuit and the DFEH’s investigation “distorted.” Fran Townsend, Activision’s chief compliance officer, stated it painted an “untrue” image of the corporate, with “factually inaccurate, old, and out of context stories.” Activision Blizzard workers, livid with the corporate response, signed an open letter and walked out of labor in protest, earlier than Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized for the “tone deaf” response to the lawsuit. The firm has since employed WilmerHale, a third-party regulation agency, to conduct a evaluation of its insurance policies and procedures. Workers have spoken out on social media about their mistrust on this evaluation; the DFEH additionally stated, in an amended grievance, that the investigation “directly interferes” with its personal.
You can learn extra concerning the allegations in opposition to Activision Blizzard in Polygon’s explainer.