In an attempt to make amends, the publisher has removed suggestive and inappropriate language and depictions while cities and locations have been renamed in the months since the lawsuit came to light.
Most recently, Blizzard rebranded one of the game’s non-playable characters, Gorge the Corpsegrinder, who was named after Cannibal Corpse frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. This came as a result of the musician's comments from an interview in 2007 which resurfaced online, prompting the publisher to make “targeted adjustments” to the character.
From Corpsegrinder to Annihilator: Blizzard changes WoW’s NPC name
Gorge the Corpsegrinder is one of the game’s NPCs that players can meet at the Borean Tundra region. Renamed to “Annihilator Grek’lor”, the NPC’s backstory is that he’s an Orc commander with the Horde faction, noted to have a disliking for Night Elves and Gnomes.
This recent change to the NPC follows controversial comments made by Cannibal Corpse frontman, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher during an interview in 2007 which had recently resurfaced online. These comments were later broadcasted by Blizzard during BlizzCon in 2011 where Fisher was seen making homophobic comments and slurs directed at Alliance/Night Elf players.
Fisher can be seen calling the Alliance faction the “homo-alliance” while Night Elf members were referred to as “f**king emo c**ksuckers”. Blizzard’s co-founder and ex-President Michael Morhaime had issued an apology but nothing had been done by the studio until this year.
Blizzard is continuing to make targeted adjustments to #WorldofWarcraft on the Patch 9.1.5 PTR, renaming a reference to George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, while changing dialogue in the quests Damsels Were Made to be Saved and The Day that Deathwing Came.https://t.co/SUC1JcpdVfpic.twitter.com/4B7x6nvl2x— Wowhead💙 (@Wowhead) October 17, 2021
First announced by a reliable source, Wowhead, this change comes in light of recent reports that have described the working environment at Activision Blizzard to be a “frat boy culture” that became a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”.
Since the change had been revealed, neither Blizzard nor Fisher had made any comments or statements publicly. The change is currently live on the World of Warcraft’s public test realm (PTR) which will become permanent when it rolls out in the next patch update.
This isn’t the first character that Blizzard has found reason to change the name of. Earlier this year, the publisher revealed they were changing popular Overwatch hero, McCree.
“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 known as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for.”
A message from the Overwatch team. pic.twitter.com/2W3AV7Pv6X— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 26, 2021
The name, attributed to the studio’s former game designer who left in the wake of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CDFEH) lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, was found to be in bad taste.
WoW community responds to NPC name change
When the change became public knowledge, it didn’t take the WoW community long to respond. Professional WoW raider for Complexity Limit, Thdlock, responded to Wowhead’s Twitter post with a single clown emoji.
🤡— Thdlock (@LimitThdlock) October 17, 2021
Another Twitter user sarcastically hinted at what WoW’s next update should remove from the game. “Next patch, we will remove irony, sarcasm and foul language.” However, another user aptly responds to what else Blizzard should remove from the game. “And remove WoW’s soul… At least what’s left of it.”
And remove WoWs soul… at least whats left of it.— PiniponSelvagem (@PiniponSelvagem) October 17, 2021
As many WoW community members continue to debate whether they approve or disapprove of the recent change to the game, it’s safe to say that this won’t be the first or last character name change we’ll see. The next PTR patch update will arrive in World of Warcraft on 2nd November 2021.
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Featured image courtesy of Activision Blizzard / Wowhead.