Image: Activision Blizzard
Trigger warning: sexual assault and harassment.
An inappropriate Overwatch 2 game mode reappeared, but it’s not one to get excited about. The mode, titled “sexual harassment simulator,” was played enough times that it appeared as one of the most popular over the weekend for some players, according to PC Gamer, which spotted the reappearance just before Blizzard quickly pulled it down.
Another “sexual harassment simulator” was discovered in October 2022, but both tasked players with knocking down Overwatch 2’s female heroes (like Mercy and Widowmaker) while playing as the cowboy Cole Cassidy and repeatedly crouching over their bodies, apparently, as PC Gamer reported, with the word “raping…” until the character in question is labeled “pregnant” as an AI-controlled Torbjorn supposedly fills the role of the baby. This is disgusting on so many levels it’s not even funny, especially because players are forced to play as Cassidy, previously known as McCree, the same name as the ousted Activision Blizzard developer who took part in the controversial “Cosby Suite” meetups.
A screenshot of the custom mode was posted to Overwatch’s official subreddit by user Joyolo13, who simply asked: “What in god’s name?”
“Lol I remember seeing this every day in [Overwatch 1],” said Redditor sw1nky. “Can’t say I’m surprised it’s still around, [to be honest].”
“McCree is back in the game I guess,” said user FoulfrogBsc.
Kotaku was unable to find the custom game mode in Overwatch 2 as it appears Blizzard took the “sexual harassment simulator” offline—for now. So, it seems the company is aware that such a mode exists but might be having a hard time preventing it from reappearing in the game.
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“Inappropriate or explicit content has absolutely no place in our game,” a Blizzard spokesperson told PC Gamer when the outlet asked about the first version of the mode last year. “We immediately removed the user-created game mode once made aware of its existence. We are continually working to improve automatic filters to prevent inappropriate user-created content, and manually removing any that are not caught by the system.”
Kotaku reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment.
While this is at least the second time the “sexual harassment simulator” has popped up in Overwatch 2 specifically, players noted that a similar mode existed in some form in the original Overwatch game. At the time, players posted PSAs to warn the community about the offensive content. Of course, not all player-created game modes are this egregious. But it is concerning that this issue has come up more than once within a few months.