Blizzard has announced via the official Overwatch Twitter account that it plans to change the name of popular character McCree.
In a statement (below), the makers of the popular multiplayer FPS outlined plans to rename the character originally named after former Blizzard designer Jesse McCree, one of the ex-employees linked to the recent harassment and discrimination lawsuit brought against Activision Blizzard by the state of California.
While not referencing the lawsuit and continuing controversy explicitly, the statement — posted as an image on Twitter and a separate identical press release — says that Overwatch was built "around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future" and states that "going forward, in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees".
The character's name change will be part of a story arc originally planned for September but now delayed until later in the year in order to integrate the name change.
Here's the statement text in full:
The Overwatch team has issued a statement regarding plans to change the name of the character known as McCree. Please see their post below.
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.
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 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. 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 named after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content. This will help reinforce that we’re building a fictional universe that is unmistakably different from the real world and better illustrates that the creation of Overwatch is truly a team effort.
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. 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.
This change also follows the departure of Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, with Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra replacing him as co-leaders at the start of August.
There's no mention of McCree's new name.