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Blizzard is changing Overwatch character McCree’s name amid controversy

Jesse McCree, the six-shootin’ cowboy of Overwatch voiced by Matt Mercer, will be getting a new name according to a post on the game’s Twitter page. The decision by developer Blizzard comes after the character’s real-life namesake, a former game designer at the studio, was let go from the company.

“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,” reads Blizzard’s statement on the Overwatch Twitter page, “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.” A new name for the hero has not been announced.

A message from the Overwatch team.

— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021

The statement also announced that a narrative arc in the game’s story would also be delayed, as it would focus mainly on McCree. Instead, Blizzard will launch a new free-for-all map for Overwatch this September. Perhaps to prevent any other occurrences like this, Overwatch‘s “in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees,” according to the statement, “and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real-world references in future Overwatch content.”

Jesse McCree, the former Blizzard employee, was a developer who worked on expansions for World of Warcraft, as well as Diablo 3 and Diablo 4. His departure from Blizzard came earlier this month after a report from Kotaku showed him being included in an annual BlizzCon gathering known as the “Cosby Suite,” along with former World of Warcraft Alex Afrasiabi.

Afrasiabi was named in a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the State of California, which alleges that Afrasiabi “engage[d] in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions” while he was employed by Blizzard. Many of these interactions took place in the Cosby Suite, where “Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females.”

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