Blizzard Outlines Plans To Rename Popular Overwatch Character

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Nintendo Life 27 August, 2021 - 04:15am 35 views

Why is overwatch changing Mccree name?

Jesse McCree, a character in Blizzard's Overwatch game, will be renamed in the wake of fallout over sexual harassment allegations against the company. bbc.co.ukOverwatch to change cowboy character McCree's name

Overwatch to change cowboy character McCree's name

BBC News 27 August, 2021 - 08:16am

The in-game McCree, a revolver-toting cowboy character, was named after a real-life Blizzard staff member.

In August, he and two other executives left the company without explanation.

In a statement, the Overwatch team said it was "necessary to change the name... to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for".

"Going forward, in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees," it promised.

But the Overwatch developers did not reveal what the character's new name would be.

Overwatch is one of the best-known examples of the hero shooter genre, with a cast of characters each with a unique identity and set of abilities.

McCree remains a fan favourite as one of the game's launch characters, and is deeply tied to its back story.

On top of being a playable character, he appears in connected comic books, a high-budget six-minute short animated film, and as merchandise, including an action figure.

However, the real-life Mr McCree after whom the character is named, was allegedly aware of the infamous "Cosby suite" detailed in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed in the state of California in July. Mr McCree is not personally cited in the lawsuit.

The suite was named after actor Bill Cosby, who was convicted of sexual assault, then had his conviction overturned, years after those photos were taken.

Gaming news site Kotaku obtained photos it said showed the inside of the suite, which it reported appears to show a group of executives, including Mr McCree, posing with a photograph of Mr Cosby.

Shortly afterwards, Mr McCree and two other senior staff left Blizzard, though the company did not give any reason for their sudden departure. Mr McCree has not issued any comment on the matter.

There had already been some criticism from the Overwatch community about the continued use of the name McCree for the in-game character.

In one instance, some live commentators covering competitive games stopped saying the name McCree, calling the character "the cowboy" instead.

Announcing the decision to change the name, the Overwatch team did not reference Mr McCree or the harassment allegations against the company. Instead, in a Twitter post, the firm wrote that the change was about "how we best live up to our values" including "inclusivity, equity and hope".

A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X

"We realise 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," it said.

As a result, it was delaying a "narrative arc" planned to begin in September, of which McCree was a central part, it said.

"We will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real-world references in future," it said.

Earlier this week, the state of California expanded its legal action against Activision Blizzard, apparently redefining its terms to cover temporary or contract workers as well as employees.

But it also accused Activision Blizzard of interfering with its investigation, alleging, among other things, that human resources personnel shredded documents related to the probe.

Activision Blizzard firmly denied those claims.

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Blizzard will rename Overwatch’s Jesse McCree

Polygon 26 August, 2021 - 01:48pm

McCree was named after a fired real-life Blizzard employee

“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’s Overwatch team said in a statement posted Thursday to Twitter announcing the name change.

“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 continued. “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.”

A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X

The real-life Jesse McCree was a longtime Blizzard Entertainment employee who worked on the developer’s World of Warcraft expansions, Diablo 3, and the upcoming Diablo 4. He left the company in August, two weeks after a report was published that featured McCree taking part in a Blizzard gathering at the BlizzCon “Cosby Suite,” with former World of Warcraft creative 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” while at Blizzard.

Blizzard confirmed McCree’s departure on Aug. 11, alongside the departure of two other developers. Afrasiabi himself left Blizzard Entertainment in 2020, ahead of the lawsuit. Like McCree, his name also appeared in a Blizzard game: World of Warcraft. Blizzard removed references to Afrasiabi from World of Warcraft shortly after the lawsuit was filed.

“We also want to take immediate action in Azeroth to remove references that are not appropriate for our world,” Blizzard’s World of Warcraft team said in a statement from July. “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 allegedly creating a “frat boy culture” that allowed gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment to proliferate. Several top executives, including former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, were described by the lawsuit as knowing about and enabling the alleged behavior. The DFEH said it conducted a two-year investigation into Activision Blizzard before filing the suit.

Activision Blizzard initially called the lawsuit and the DFEH’s investigation “distorted.” Fran Townsend, Activision’s chief compliance officer, said it painted an “untrue” picture of the company, with “factually inaccurate, old, and out of context stories.” Activision Blizzard employees, furious with the company response, signed an open letter and walked out of work in protest, before Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized for the “tone deaf” response to the lawsuit. The company has since hired law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of its policies and procedures. Workers have spoken out on social media about their distrust in this review; the DFEH also said, in an amended complaint, that the investigation “directly interferes” with its own.

You can read more about the allegations against Activision Blizzard in Polygon’s explainer.

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