Developer Bungie has recently found itself embroiled in a controversy revolving around the word "kek" that has forced it to remove a legendary piece of armor from Destiny 2. It apparently was so upset about the issue that it has now given an in-depth explanation of how the hate group meme made its way into the game.
"This was completely unintentional," Bungie Community Manager David 'DeeJ' Dague said in a blog post. "As an immediate response, we extended our planned maintenance window to remove the element from the armor piece itself, and will be following up next week with another patch to remove the same element from the UI icon and preview screens, scrubbing it from the game altogether."
But Dague said Bungie wanted to find out how it happened in the first place and wanted to lay out its findings for the fans.
"The design in question was initially created as part of gear foundry explorations in June of 2015," Dague wrote. "Graphic designers routinely reference real world art, iconography, typeface, and other design elements to inform the choices they make. In this case, some of the reference imagery featured the simple mirrored chevron shapes found in the finished piece. Some graphic design that belongs to sports teams provided some inspiration as well, along with some primitive shapes and chevrons that were used to permeate our Guardian class iconography."
Bungie internally vets all of art and content, and indeed it was flagged by that team because of an innocuous meme originally related to World of Warcraft. For those who haven't played the immensely popular MMO, Kek is Orcish for LOL in the common tongue. Human players even used it as a response to humorous situations. The game was launched back in 2004.
However, with the candidacy of now U.S. President Donald Trump, "Kek" and "Pepe the Frog" started to be repurposed for an alt-right "religion" of sorts, as Kek was found to be an Egyptian god with a frog head who was known for bringing darkness and chaos. The fictional country of Kekistan was even created by posters on the controversial site 4chan, with the name and country exploding in popularity among hate groups and the alt-right.
"The more contemporary, vile derivation that has been repurposed by hate groups was not surfaced through this [internal vetting] process, and therefore, the armor was approved for ship," Dague said. "We are digging in to determine how we can more deeply vet our game content to shield us, and our community, from inappropriate imagery. Though we are still investigating our creative process in full, we know there was no degree of malicious intent from anyone on our team. That said, we do recognize that the design in question is close enough to warrant removal from the game."
Since the armor was created before the appropriation of the WoW meme by hate groups, Bungie's claim of a lack of intent is understandable. But Bungie also isn't using it as an excuse, hence the quick removal of the armor from the game.
"We aren't asking you for the benefit of the doubt," Dague said. "We know we are judged by our actions. We want to thank the members of our community, and the press, for bringing this matter to our attention."
Destiny 2 is currently out for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and will be coming to PC on October 24. Bungie said earlier today that it had already seen more than one million concurrent players online since the game launched on September 6.
Image via Ars Technica
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