Overwatch’s McCree becomes Cole Cassidy next week

Overwatch's McCree will be called Cole Cassidy as of October 26, 2021.

The Overwatch hero we’ve all known as McCree for years will get his new name next week. The multiplayer game’s cowboy gunslinger will be known as Cole Cassidy beginning October 26, when Blizzard will officially change his moniker and introduce a new backstory for the character.

The hero had originally been named after former Blizzard lead level designer Jesse McCree, who was let go from the company in the wake of a lawsuit filed against the company by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. That lawsuit has since expanded and been joined by others, and has sent shockwaves through the company. It’s also had the result of making the name McCree a sore point both for Blizzard and for Overwatch fans, and Blizzard announced in August that it planned to update it.

Today, October 22, Blizzard officially unveiled the new name, Cole Cassidy, along with a snipped of introductory text. “The first thing a renegade loses is their name, and this one gave up his long ago,” it reads. “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,” the blurb goes on. “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.”

Blizzard has said it won’t be naming Overwatch characters after real-life employees, and the new name for the hero formerly known as McCree “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.”

Activision Blizzard is facing a lawsuit filed in July by the state of California (since expanded for QA and customer service contractors) alleging years of discrimination and harassment. Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has called the company’s initial response “tone deaf”, employees have staged a walkout, Blizzard president J Allen Brack has left, and the ABK Workers Alliance has demanded change at the company. The lawsuit is ongoing; follow the latest developments here. In September, an agency of the US federal government opened an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s response to sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints from its employees, as part of which Kotick has reportedly been subpoenaed. The company is also facing a separate unfair labour practice suit alleging “worker intimidation and union busting” filed by a workers’ union, also in September. In another, separate development, Activision Blizzard reached an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “to settle claims and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination”.

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