Blizzard Lays Groundwork for ‘Cowboy’ Rename Project
By Jack O'Dwyer
Blizzard Entertainment announced it would be changing the name of its beloved American southwest cowboy hero.
The announcement came through the official Overwatch Twitter account on Thursday, Aug. 26. According to the posted message, the game, itself, is built “around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks to a better future.” It called the theme central to the game’s lore and the team behind it.
So, following those ideals, they’ve made the decision to change the cowboy’s name.
Overwatch Team Plans to Change Cowboy Hero’s Name
The decision comes on the heels of Blizzard’s infamous lawsuit brought by the state of Calif. following a two-year investigation into its “frat-like” workplace culture. “Jesse McCree” shares his full name with a now-former staff member who has since been fired allegedly due to the reveal of a chat log referencing named perpetrator Alex Afrasiabi.
In lieu of retiring the hero, Blizzard has simply chosen to change his name. The team will be adding that narrative in a pre-planned arc for the game originally meant to launch in September. The arc already featured the character as a central actor, so the project has been delayed in order to incorporate the name change and, of course, update finished elements.
”We realize any change to such a well-loved and central hero in the game’s fiction will take time to rollout correctly, and we’ll share updates as this work progresses,” the Twitter message reads.
Additionally, as far as old content goes, it appears the company will only apply the new name to its content going forward. Blizzard’s official forum staff explained that reworking all the user interface interactions, visuals, voice lines, and more is an “significant undertaking.” The team isn’t taking any of it lightly.
Fans were not impressed. Credible leaker @GarretLeaks called the move “too little too late.” Others claimed it was performative at best and that the company at large was “skipping steps” to improve the core of its allegations—it’s toxic culture.
Others argued that it is a step in the right direction and applauded the team for its announcement.
For its part, the Overwatch team explained that this—alongside its promise to not name anymore characters after real-world individuals—was just one in a series of efforts they would be making to show their commitment to their aforementioned ideals.
There are no concrete leads on what the cowboy’s new name will be. It’s always possible he could follow suit after Ashe—with her “Calamity” nickname a clear homage to famous Wild West outlaw, Calamity Jane. DBLTAP cannot confirm a release date for the new narrative arc, either.