Overwatch’s McCree Gets His New Handle Following the Firing of His Namesake


The explosive discrimination lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard earlier this year has generated plenty of fallout, with one of the more peculiar ramifications being the changing of some character names inspired by real-life devs swept up in the controversy. Most notably is Overwatch’s McCree, named after Jesse McCree, who was fired by Blizzard after a photo featuring him and others posing in the infamous “Cosby Suite” at BlizzCon 2013 circulated. Blizzard promised they’d rename McCree as part of a new policy of not naming characters after real people, and now they’ve delivered.

From now on, McCree will be known as “Cole Cassidy.” In a tweet, Blizzard seems to imply that the in-universe reason for the change is that Cole Cassidy was the character’s original name. I’m not sure an in-universe explanation is really necessary, but sure, I guess that works.

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The first thing a renegade loses is their name, and this one gave up his long ago. 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.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed suit against Activision Blizzard, alleging gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher. Activision Blizzard’s official response to the suit accuses the DFEH of “distorted […] and false” descriptions and insists the picture painted is “is not the Blizzard workplace of today.” An open letter objecting to the official response was signed by thousands of current and former Acti-Blizz employees, leading to a worker walkout. Acti-Blizz CEO Bobby Kotick would eventually apologize for the company’s initial response, calling it “tone deaf.” Several high-ranking Blizzard employees, including former president J. Allen Brack and Diablo IV and World of Warcraft team leaders have resigned or been fired, leading to some of the aforementioned name changes. The story has even attracted the attention of the US Federal Government, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opening a "wide-ranging" investigation. Unfortunately, in-fighting has also broken out between some of the agencies investigating Activision Blizzard, including the DFEH and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

So, what do you think of Cole Cassidy? Could Blizzard have done better? The name does have a certain cowboy-ish feel, although it’s a bit generic. Personally, I would have just gone really on-the-nose and called him Clint Overwood.

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