The Overwatch development team announced on Thursday that they would rename cowboy McCree later this year. The change is due to the name’s association with former Blizzard developer Jesse McCree, who left the company after a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. McCree is not specifically named in the lawsuit.
Now the World Of Warcraft team have announced similar changes, with rerences to former Blizzard employees due to be removed in a future update.
In a statement posted on Twitter about Update 9.1.5, which will launch on the public test realm next week, the World Of Warcraft development team said the patch had “updates to improve the game environment for our community, including additional changes to some content to better reflect our shared values, better visibility into the impact of your in-game reports of harassment, and more serious penalties for people engaged in disruptive behaviour.”
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) August 27, 2021
It’s less specific than Overwatch’s equivalent statement, but a Blizzard spokesperson confirmed to PC Gamer that “the in-game references to Jesse McCree, Luis Barriga, and Jon LeCraft will be removed from World of Warcraft.” All three are former Blizzard employees who recently departed the company.
Changes have already been made to World Of Warcraft in recent weeks to remove references to former creative director Alex Afrasiabi, whose behaviour was specifically cited among the allegations in the lawsuit brought by the State Of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
It’s worth remembering that while these changes are easily dismissed as superficial, or as an attempt to mollify, that the development teams involved probably do not want to continue to work on a game which enshrines developers alleged to have contributed to a toxic and abusive workplace.
While Activision Blizzard’s initial corporate statements after the lawsuit were dismissive and aggressive, employees at the developer condemned that response as “abhorrent” and led a walkout in protest. Meanwhile, earlier this week, the State of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing accused Activision Blizzard of shredding documents pertaining to their investigation.