Due to harmful allegations regarding the real-life Jesse McCree (among several others), a former lead designer at Blizzard Entertainment, the Overwatch studio decided to change the name of the character that person was named after. That name was to be revealed at a later date as the team needed time to justify it in the lore. And now, after a few months, Blizzard has finally revealed McCree’s new name: Cole Cassidy.
Meet Cole Cassidy.
Rides into Overwatch October 26. pic.twitter.com/CT6PmaNXNs
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) October 22, 2021
The official Overwatch Twitter account tweeted out the new name along with a monologue from Cassidy himself. In it, he talks about how he gave up his old name long ago and to “make Overwatch better,” he had to make a stand and go back to his original title. While it is rooted in lore, the whole thing reads as an obvious nod to the real events and how this name change is a step toward making things right both for the character and for the real world. The full speech reads as follows:
“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 that divide between who he had been and what he had become. But in every cowboy’s life, there comes a time when 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 face the world at dawn.”
This change will roll out on October 26, likely through some sort of patch. However, it’s unclear if this will also replace dialogue in the game. Blizzard also had a “narrative arc” planned with Cassidy that it had to push and it remains to be seen when that will kick off.
Cole Cassidy appears to be both an homage and a play on words. Cole has a history with Ashe, a fellow Damage hero and member of the Deadlock Gang, and together their names seem to be a play on “coal” and “ash.” It doesn’t seem like an accident that Blizzard is using two related terms for two related characters. “Cassidy” also might be a nod to Butch Cassidy, an American outlaw in the Old West around the late 1800s and early 1900s.