Blizzard will no longer name characters after real people

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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)—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 The questgiver Field Marshal Afrasiabi, for instance, has now been replaced by Field Marshal Stonebridge.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 (opens in new tab)), 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.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.