Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga, Blizzard lead level designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft were let go from Blizzard on Wednesday, two sources with knowledge of the move told Kotaku.
: a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard confirmed the departures in an email. “We can confirm Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft are no longer with the company,” they wrote.
“We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate. We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all.”
In addition, we’ll continue to investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive. When we learn of shortcomings, we will take decisive action. And to strengthen our capabilities in this area, we’ll be adding additional staff and resources. People will be held accountable for their actions. That commitment means we’ll not just terminate employees where appropriate, but we’ll also terminate any management or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences.
We built the Overwatch universe around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future. They are central to the game and to the Overwatch team.
As we continue to discuss how we best live up to our values and to demonstrate our commitment to creating a game world that reflects them, we believe it's necessary to change the name of the hero currently known as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for.
We realize that any change to such a well-loved and central hero in the game's fiction will take time to roll out correctly, and we'll share updates as this week progresses. In the near term, we had planned to kick off a narrative arc in September supported with new story and game content, of which McCree was a key part. Since we want to integrate the change into this story arc, we will be delaying the new arc until later this year and instead launch a new FFA map this September. Going forward, 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.
This will help reinforce that we're building a fictional universe that is unmistakably different from the real world and better illustrates that the creation of Overwatch is truly a team effort. Work on these updates is underway, and they are just a part of our ongoing commitment to honest reflections and making whatever changes are necessary to build a future worth fighting for. We know that actions speak louder than words, and we hope to show you our commitment to making Overwatch a better experience in-game and continue to make our team the best it can be.
-The Overwatch Team