Matt Mercer Character Sees Name Change Following Blizzard Controversy
Blizzard, you know them, they make World of Warcraft, they make Diablo, and they make Overwatch, and many more games. They’re also in the middle of a proverbial storm that they just can’t seem to find the ‘Eye’ of.
The floodgates have opened and in the continuing debacle, which includes a lawsuit brought against them by the State of California – they are now being accused of ‘withholding and suppressing evidence’ needed for its current investigation.
The accusation comes from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and is just one of many woes to slam down on Blizzard in the last few weeks.
The hits keep on coming and in the wake of Luis Barriga, Jonathan LeCraft, former head of HR Jesse Meschuk, and former president J.Allen Brack leaving Blizzard in August, it seems they can’t catch a break.
Blizzard have suspended their plans to create skins for Overwatch MVPs, after sexual assault allegations have surfaced against former Overwatch pro, and MVP: Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won.
They’re removing references from World of Warcraft which are deemed ‘inappropriate for our world’. Which could be a reference to yet another Blizzard staff member, former World of Warcraft senior creative director: Alex Afrasiabi who is yet another person named in the lawsuit.
We’ve now learnt thanks to Overwatch’s twitter that McCree, the cowboy character voiced by Critical Role’s Matt Mercer, is going to have a name change. Why you may ask, what has McCree done to deserve this change?
His namesake, Jesse McCree is yet another Blizzard staffer who surfaces in the sexual assault allegations in the lawsuit, and many Overwatch casters have expressed their displeasure and refused to call the character by his name, only referring to him by the moniker: the cowboy.
Overwatch made this statement:
No new name has been announced or given for the cowboy yet, and Blizzard have stated they plan to suspend the in-game narrative arc where he played a ‘key part’. The company has also committed to no longer naming in-game characters after real employees.
Jesse McCree was photographed in the infamous Cosby Suite. This is the nickname given to BlizzCon’s 2013 hotel room, where they had a picture of previously convicted rapist: Bill Cosby.
Not a good look.
The news site: Kotaku managed to obtain pictures and group chat posts from a source, which clearly shows McCree was part of, and knew what was going on in that suite.
An image surfaced from a Facebook album, in a group chat called the BlizzCon Cosby Crew. Former Blizzard designer David Kosak writes, “I am gathering hot chixx for the Coz.”
“Bring em,” replies Afrasiabi. “You can’t marry ALL of them Alex,” Kosak writes. “I can, I’m middle eastern,” responds Afrasiabi. Jesse McCree, currently a lead game designer at Blizzard, then writes, “You misspelled fuck.”
McCree, the same McCree that Blizzard gave the honor of portraying a bad-ass gunslinging cowboy, voiced by legendary Matt Mercer, who has been silent on the issue so far.
With this as just the tip of a very shady and grotesque iceberg, Blizzard have to clean house constantly and so does the majority of the game industry. This is not an isolated problem, and many more developers and publishers have skeletons in their closet as big as this one.
It’s time that all of this was brought into the light.
The industry has to change, and it needs to change, regardless of whether or not this is your favourite company. People in this lawsuit have broken trust, committed sexual assault, and broken the trust of women gamers through their actions.
McCree’s name change is a token gesture at best though, it’s the very minimal that Blizzard can do to assuage fan’s anger. But the name change has come from the desires and demands of the fan base, so we’re at least glad Blizzard are listening in that regard.
They’ve got a long road ahead, and it’s going to be a while before people trust them again.
If they trust them again judging by various social media posts from fans.
We’ll keep an eye on this one as it develops.