Jesse McCree’s name change has finally come into effect in Overwatch.
Blizzard has announced that McCree is now Cole Cassidy. The hero’s name change is one of the lingering effects of the recent sexual misconduct case against Blizzard.
The name change for McCree comes with a retcon for the cowboy’s backstory. Blizzard’s explanation for the rebrand is that McCree’s name has actually been Cole Cassidy all along, and that McCree was a name he adopted after turning to a life of gunslinging.
Blizzard added a lore explanation to McCree’s name change. The character was already established as part of Reaper’s Blackwatch team and was an outlaw alongside Ashe. Blizzard expands that further with the name change.
“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…To make this new Overwatch better, to make things right, he had to be honest with his team and himself,” Blizzard wrote.
While the name change to Cole Cassidy is interesting and adds an extra bit of lore to the character, it wasn’t just done for fun.
McCree’s name was changed due to real-life Blizzard developer Jesse McCree’s association with sexual misconduct allegations against the company.
Blizzard is in the middle of two massive lawsuits from government entities that allege rampant sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and bullying. The plaintiffs are the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
A major part of the lawsuit revolved around the “Cosby Suite,” named for previously convicted rapist Bill Cosby. The Cosby Suite was allegedly an area at BlizzCons where Blizzard staff would sexually harass women on an annual basis. Though much of the focus on the Cosby Suit revolved around another Blizzard developer, Alex Afrasiabi, McCree’s namesake was also a key figure in and around the Cosby Suite.
Blizzard has been moving to scrub references to both McCree and Afrasiabi from its games. McCree is the namesake for the Overwatch character while a World of Warcraft NPC is named for Afrasiabi.
The real-life McCree remained with Blizzard and was working on the development of Diablo 4, but departed the company in August after the lawsuit was filed.