Overwatch Update Removes McCree’s Noose Spray

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Overwatch Update Removes McCree’s Noose Spray
Image: Blizzard

Since 2016, Overwatch’s McCree, a walking amalgam of cowboy movie references, has been able to slap an image of a noose on any surface he pleases, provided players have unlocked the decal in question. Now, as of the game’s most recent update, it’s gone.

The noose was always a curious inclusion in a family-friendly game like Overwatch, given that nooses — while present in cowboy movies — make for grim imagery even before you add a long history of racist lynchings to the equation. A simple lasso probably would’ve fit a (mostly) goody two-boots like McCree better. With the game’s latest update, Blizzard has opted to replace the noose with a horseshoe that says “Bad Luck” on it. The company has not explained why, nor has it drawn attention to the noose’s removal. Instead, players noticed the change yesterday and posted about it on Reddit, the official Overwatch forums, and Twitter.

Blizzard’s timing seems to speak for itself. The ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and sustained police violence have forced many companies to rethink racially charged symbols and creative decisions. In addition, the noose itself has become a prominent part of national discourse due to the recent discovery of a rope tied like a noose in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, a Black Nascar driver, as well as a series of deaths by hanging that authorities declared suicides, but that some people are demanding be investigated as racially motivated murders.

Even with the noose spray gone, Overwatch is still in an odd spot. On Twitter, some fans have suggested that Blizzard should now remove Overwatch’s police skins, which belong to Brigitte and D.Va, while others vehemently oppose that idea on the grounds that neither specifically represent American police forces. That said, both Sweden and South Korea — where Brigitte and D.Va, respectively, are from — have their own histories of racism and police brutality to contend with. Additionally, Brigitte’s police skin leans hard into the idea of police militarization, a global problem that, among many other things, has facilitated violence against Black Lives Matter protesters in recent months. Despite all this, when paired with cheery heroes and absent further context, in-game representations of the police-enforced status quo come across as endorsements, because, well, that’s how status quos work.

Overwatch also finds itself at a broader crossroads: In the game’s fiction, the Overwatch organisation was essentially a team of super-powered world police. As people in America and across the world continue to reevaluate society’s relationship to the very idea of policing, the central goal of Overwatch’s heroes — to get the old band of unstoppable ultra-cops back together — is starting to feel retrograde. With other media properties like Brooklyn 99 taking a long, hard look in the mirror, it might be time for Overwatch, which similarly purports to focus on a diverse cast and lighthearted heroics, to more thoughtfully consider what it really means to be a hero.

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Comments

  • Yeah, because nooses were never used in the Wild West…

    Seriously, companies need to stop quivering in their boots and kowtowing to whatever inane requests the so-called BLM people come up with. How the hell does removing a noose decal make black lives better??

    Fuck this pandering bullshit.

    • I think the problem is more about how people use the spray than how it fits into the game’s lore.

      If people are using it to harass others and make jokes about lynching then it that’s a problem, no matter what the original intent was.

    • It’s just some cosmetic spray in a game? If they’ve had complaints than they go lets swap it instead of dealing with peoples bullshit. There’s probably some background reason but who cares? sure they could swap out a hangman noose for a lasso graphic but that’s their decision, it’s their product

    • Yeah! Nobody needs to care about the fact that people are literally being fucking lynched for being black in 2020 and other jerks are making jokes about it!

      Racism is made up! Anyone who gives a fuck about people being murdered for their skin colour is just a pandering virtue signaller! If it doesn’t directly affect me I don’t see how anyone should ever care! I require a picture of a noose in all games!

      • People are still being shot in 2020, should we ban anything resembling a gun? People are still being stabbed in 2020, should we ban anything that can stab people? Men are still killing women in 2020, should we ban every representation, including positive representations of men? I mean… They are wanting to do that with police. Teachers are still raping students, should we ban any representation of teachers?

        Where would you like to draw the line? Where, on your oh so perfect moral compass, way above on your high horse, would you draw the line?

        But in all seriousness, no sarcasm. Where do you draw the line?

        Don’t worry Angorafish, I got you covered #slipperyslopefallacy

  • “…nor has it drawn attention to the noose’s removal.”

    As if companies don’t know there are ‘journalists’ circling like vultures who’ll gladly do it for them.

  • Yeah! Nobody needs to care about the fact that people are literally being fucking lynched for being black in 2020 and other jerks are making jokes about it!

    Racism is made up! Anyone who gives a fuck about people being murdered for their skin colour is just a pandering virtue signaller! If it doesn’t directly affect me I don’t see how anyone should ever care! I require a picture of a noose in all games!

    • For some reason it double posted?

      That’s ok. I’m just going to make fun of the person who constantly accuses everything of being confected outrage being so full of confected outrage twice!

      • Haha I see it I wish there was a catchy term for ironic/circular outrage paradoxs, but I didn’t see anything with a brief google.

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