×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Overwatch removes controversial spray

Overwatch has made an interesting new change to one of its characters and fans have been taken completely by surprise. For the last few years, Overwatch's cowboy character, McCree, has had the ability to tag just about any surface with spray paint depicting a noose. It's a McCree player's way of telling competitors "you're next." However, the noose spray can has been replaced by something else.

According to a report from Kotaku, players have discovered that the noose has been replaced by a horseshoe that says "Bad Luck." The change can be seen in a pair of screenshots shared by Twitter user and former Overwatch League MVP @OverwatchNaeri.

It's a pretty neat design, but it has definitely come out of nowhere for a lot of fans. In fact, Blizzard didn't announce the change before it went live and has yet to weigh in on it since then.

As Kotaku's Nathan Grayson points out, McCree is also more of a relatively decent guy within the lore of Overwatch, so it never made too much sense for him to post up such ominous imagery. Not only that, but with present day tensions rising and the connotations of racial violence that the noose has carried with it for a long time, it makes sense that Blizzard may have had second thoughts about the noose. 

Overall, even putting aside political and social concerns for the company, it really is just kind of a grim and uncomfortable bit of iconography for a game that normally skews toward cartoonish mayhem. In other words, there's a chance that this decision was simply motivated by a desire for Blizzard to soften some of Overwatch's harder edges. 

At least one fan on Twitter seems to be in favor of this line of thinking. They tweeted, "[a noose is] a symbol used for HANGING PEOPLE. is that really something that should be in a kids game? also cowboys carry lassos but this clearly isnt a lasso, they're different knots."

Overwatch isn't the only game to make changes in recent weeks that seemed to be politically motivated. Last month, Epic Games quietly removed police cars from Fortnite in an effort to be sensitive toward fans. This decision has been seen as a low-key response to protests against police brutality across the United States.

There's a chance that the McCree change may have arrived as part of the game's latest patch, but this is also unclear. The latest patch notes on the official Overwatch website (posted just a few days ago on July 14) do not list anything to do with McCree's missing signature spray tag. However, there are plenty of other notable updates to the game that should excite longtime fans of the game.

According to the patch notes, multiple bugs have been fixed regarding different character abilities and maps within the game. Also, the patch notes announced that a new soundtrack album for the game, Overwatch: Cities & Countries, has been released to several popular streaming platforms. Now you don't have to log into the game just to hear some of your favorite tunes.

In other words, Overwatch is changing and growing with time. We may never actually get an Overwatch 2, but it's clear that the game is continuing to evolve over time. This is just another example of Blizzard's continued support of the game and possibly an attempt at keeping up with the times. Blizzard is going to have to continue to tweak Overwatch to keep up with competing games as well. 

In a recent podcast appearance superstar streamer Pokimane even expressed that she thought Riot Games' new tactical shooter Valorant could end up being the game that kills Overwatch. The game has also lost one of its most notable players in recent months. Back in April, Overwatch League MVP Jay "Sinatraa" Won announced that he was retiring from playing the game. According to Sinatraa, he "straight up just lost passion for the game."

Developers change their games without making announcements all the time. Sometimes small changes are welcome, while massive updates can lead to major failures. For instance, fans of Fortnite were recently dismayed to discover that Epic Games had made changes to Fortnite's aim assist programming without alerting anyone. 

At least this is more of a cosmetic change than something that fundamentally changes how the game is played. Although the absence of McCree's noose spray may come as a surprise for fans who have been with the game for years, it will most likely come to be accepted by the Overwatch community as a part of his character.