Overwatch‘s sharp-shootin’ cowboy Jesse McCree now has a new name: Cole Cassidy. Blizzard announced the character’s updated name earlier today, in a tweet posted by Overwatch‘s offiical Twitter account. According to Blizzard, Cole Cassidy will “ride into Overwatch” on Tuesday, October 26, with all traces of his former alias removed from the game.
Meet Cole Cassidy.
Rides into Overwatch October 26. pic.twitter.com/CT6PmaNXNs
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) October 22, 2021
In addition to the announcement and date reveal, the post shared the in-game reason behind the game change. Turns out, Jesse McCree was merely a name chosen by Cassidy when he first joined The Deadlock Gang and embraced the life of an outlaw. However, after years of “running from his past,” Cassidy is ready to embrace his former self and true identity.
“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. But in every cowboy’s life, there comes a time where he has to stop and make a stand. To make this new Overwatch better, to make things right, he had to be honest with his team and himself. The cowboy he was rode into the sunset, and Cole Cassidy faced the world at dawn.”
However, while Blizzard managed to come up with a pretty good spin on why they changed the outlaw’s name in Overwatch, the real reason behind the company removing Cassidy’s former name from the game is a lot less heartwarming. The change comes after Activision-Blizzard came under fire this past summer for creating a workplace driven by “frat boy culture,” in which their female employees were routinely harassed and discriminated against. One of the men called out for discriminatory and potentially predatory behavior was lead developer Jesse McCree, the man whom the Overwatch character was named after. McCree ultimately left the company a few months ago due to his involvement in the studio’s infamous “Cosby Suite,” but unfortunately the character’s name remained as a reminder of his time at the studio. Following his departure, however, the Overwatch team explained they would rename the character to something that “better represents” the company.
Ultimately, the team landed on Cole Cassidy, which is as solid an outlaw name as any, if you ask me. While the name change doesn’t erase Activision-Blizzard’s toxic workplace, troubling past, and a plethora of ongoing legal battles, it at least ensures a person who inflicted a lot of pain is no longer a permanent fixture in one of the company’s most popular titles.