Overwatch’s fan-favourite cowboy character Jesse McCree finally has a new name after Activision Blizzard committed to changing it in the wake of California’s ongoing lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and a “frat boy” culture at the company. Henceforth, Jesse McCree will be known as Cole Cassidy.
McCree is just one of many characters across Blizzard’s portfolio to have taken his name from a developer at the company. However, back in August, Blizzard announced it would be renaming the cowboy after the real-life Jesse McCree, who had been named in several accounts of the studio’s toxic work culture, was confirmed to have departed the company amid the fallout from the lawsuit – although no reason for his exit was given.
Two months on, the official Overwatch Twitter feed has now revealed Cole Cassidy to be the new name for the sharp shooter formerly known as Jesse McCree, with the change set to occur in an update next Tuesday, 26th October.
“The first thing a renegade loses is their name, and this one gave up his long ago,” Blizzard writes in the blurb accompanying the news. “Running from his past meant running from himself, and each passing year only widened the divide between who he had been and what he had become. But in every cowboy’s life, there comes a time when he has to stop and make a stand.”
“To make this new Overwatch better – to make things right – he had to be honest with his team and himself,” Blizzard continues. “The cowboy he was rode into the sunset, and Cole Cassidy face the world at dawn”.
Cassidy isn’t the only Blizzard character to be renamed in light of the ongoing California lawsuit, of course. Blizzard previously confirmed it would be removing references to other former Blizzard employees from its titles, including nods to former Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga and former World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft.
World of Warcraft fans recently also launched a protest demanding the removal of a quest-giver in Stormwind City named Field Marshal Afrasiabi – named after former senior creative director of World of Warcraft Alex Afrasiabi, who was fired from Blizzard in 2020 “for his misconduct in his treatment of other employees” following an internal investigation.
In a statement provided to The Washington Post this August, Blizzard pledged that, “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,” it continued. “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.”