In a game as popular as Overwatch, many of the in-game characters become almost household names to the players — which is why many were surprised when longtime character McCree suddenly had his name changed to Cole Cassidy. Why did the game's developers decide to change his name? Overwatch was created by Blizzard, which has faced some massive controversy and allegations in recent months.
The name change was originally announced in August and was implemented in late October.
Following the news of Blizzard's ongoing lawsuit, the official Overwatch Twitter page announced in August that it would be making some changes in-game to create "a game world that reflects [our values]." The change didn't go into effect until Oct. 26, when the developers revealed McCree's name would change to Cole Cassidy.
"As we continue to discuss how to 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," the game said in a statement on Twitter in August.
"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," the statement continued, noting that it would be postponing an arc that was meant to originally focus on McCree until the changes were implemented. "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."
Why did 'Overwatch' change McCree's name? It has to do with Blizzard's ongoing lawsuit.
The cowboy character was originally named McCree, after Blizzard game designer Jesse McCree, who was allegedly part of the “Cosby Suite” and was fired as a result of the allegations of sexual harassment against him. Jesse was a longtime staffer with the company, which is what led to him having a character named after him.
McCree officially got a new name on Oct. 26, and in a post on Twitter, the developers tried to tie his name change into the character's lore.
"The first thing a renegade loses is their name, and this one gave up his long ago," the post read. "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. The cowboy he was rode into the sunset, and Cole Cassidy faced the world at dawn."
While this new change has officially been implemented, the developers clarified that only new content focusing on McCree going forward will include his new name, and any older content will remain the same. This may become confusing, as there are certain places in the game where Cole Cassidy may still be referred to as McCree.