As the recent update came to Overwatch, it featured a cosmetic spray that characters can tag all over the environment with their designated symbols. Since then, Blizzard has removed the spray of popular character McCree (who originally had a noose as his spray), and replaced it with an upside-down horseshoe that says “Bad Luck”. While this change was not publically announced on any of Blizzard’s social media platforms, it was quickly noticed by fans who had recently updated the game and used the customizable sprays in their matches.
In today’s update, the Overwatch McCree “Noose” spray has been removed and replaced with the “BAD LUCK” spray. pic.twitter.com/rpMAfJlB2y
— Naeri X 나에리 (@OverwatchNaeri) July 15, 2020
While many can argue that the image of the noose is used to fit the aesthetic of the cowboy centered character McCree, it has also been claimed to be used in many instances of hateful behavior towards other players. As far as historical terms go, the noose has been adopted as a symbol of racial violence towards people of color and has been amplified of the history and meaning behind it in the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
In terms of Overwatch, this isn’t the first time Blizzard has removed a cosmetic item due to poor timing or public outcry from its large and diverse fanbase. While many of the removed cosmetic choices are due to availability only being for a limited time or just ones that picked the short straw in the rotation circle, this seems to be the first time the gaming franchise has removed something based on the potential racial abuse its fans could experience. This change to the game comes shortly after Activision removed the “okay” hand gesture from both Call of Duty Warzone and Modern Warfare after the symbol had been adopted by white supremacists.