Overwatch writer Michael Chu explains the origin of McCree’s name.
Jesse McCree, lead level designer on Diablo 4, was one of several senior Blizzard staff dismissed from the company after a lawsuit brought against Activision Blizzard highlighted “numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation” at the company. He’s also the namesake of an Overwatch character who will be renamed, Blizzard has announced, following calls from the community and casters no longer saying his name while commentating matches.
“Going forward,” the statement reads, “in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.”
Overwatch isn’t the only Blizzard game with a character named after an ex-employee, and references to former senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi—who, like McCree, was part of the infamous “BlizzCon Cosby Crew” group chat published by Kotaku—have been removed from World of Warcraft following protests by players. The questgiver Field Marshal Afrasiabi, for instance, has now been replaced by Field Marshal Stonebridge.
McCree also has multiple characters and locations named after him in World of Warcraft, including Scarlet Lord Jesseriah McCree, Jessup McCree, Marshal McCree, and several others. Presumably they’ll be replaced as well. Back in March, Blizzard declared it would no longer create Overwatch cosmetics based on Overwatch League MVPs after one was accused of sexual assault.
References to the names of employees are common Easter Eggs in games (in fact the first Easter Egg was Warren Robinett hiding his name in Atari 2600 game Adventure), though if other developers follow Blizzard’s lead, that might not be the case for much longer.
In a recent amendment to the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard HR was accused of shredding documents related to allegations of abuse.