Blizzard has officially announced that it plans to change the name of McCree’s character in Overwatch. The new name of the hero is still unknown.
Why did it happen? To begin with, McCree’s character was named after Jesse McCree, a former Blizzard employee and lead game designer for Diablo IV.
This summer, a serious scandal related to sexual harassment broke out around Blizzard. Female employees complained of harassment and misconduct from the male part of the company. Alcohol was always freely available in the office, men could drink cocktails and play video games during working hours – while women were kicked out of the feeding rooms in order to allegedly use these rooms for business meetings. At the same time, there are more than enough meeting offices at Blizzard! (Note: no, nursing rooms do not mean that women brought babies to work; there is such a thing as pumping.) Many female employees say that they were “pawed” right in the workplace, not to mention “ trifles ”such as refusals to raise or lower wages than men.
One of the accused is Alex Afrasiabi, the former creative director of the World of Warcraft MMORPG. At the annual BlizzCon, he openly pestered the employees, hugged them, tried to kiss, did not let go, despite their physical resistance; quite often those around him had to literally drag Alex away from the girls. Alex’s personal hotel number during BlizzCon 2013 was codenamed Cosby Suite, after the famous convicted rapist Bill Cosby. Afrasiabi’s chat with male employees at the time was called the BlizzCon Cosby Crew. This is not just a bad joke: it is known that the “Cosby company” regularly posed in this very issue with a real portrait of Cosby (photographs have been preserved), remained there with a lot of alcohol and, possibly, girls of easy virtue.
What does cowboy McCree have to do with it? As mentioned, Jesse McCree is a very real person, and he was in the same chat. Prosecutors unearthed old screenshots of a chat where McCree, responding to a joke from Afrasiabi about how he would like to “marry all hot chicks”, says “you made a mistake in the word you ***.”
Result? Thousands of demands from players to rename McCree or even kill him (a character, not a human, although some Twitter activists are quite aggressive). Many commentators and streamers refused to call McCree by name during matches, dismissing nicknames like “shooters” or “cowboy”.
As a result, we have what we have – an urgent renaming of the character. Plus the cancellation of the story arc with him, which was supposed to be released in September.However, I don’t think that plugging the hole in the dam with clay will save the company’s rapidly falling shares.