Bungie have opened up regarding the controversial removal of the ‘hate symbol’ in Destiny 2. Why was it there in the first place? The following was posted over on the official Bungie website:
Earlier this week, we were made aware that a graphical element on one of Destiny 2’s armor pieces bore close resemblance to an internet meme that has been subsequently repurposed to represent hate and intolerance. This was completely unintentional. 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.
Like many of you, we aren’t satisfied with that reaction alone. As the team was busy patching the game, others were already asking the important questions – the very same questions we know many of you are asking now. Questions like these…
How did it happen?
The design in question was initially created as part of gear foundry explorations in June of 2015. 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.
How did we miss this content in development?
Although the design wasn’t emulative of the meme in question, the armor piece was eventually flagged by another team responsible for reviewing content for cultural, geographical, and other sensitive issues. Unfortunately, that review was conducted to explore whether or not we were comfortable with the connection to the original, innocuous “kek” internet meme. The more contemporary, vile derivation that has been repurposed by hate groups was not surfaced through this process, and therefore, the armor was approved for ship.
What steps are we taking to ensure that this won’t happen again?
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.
We want everyone to know their identity is welcome in our studio and in the worlds we create. This isn’t merely a platitude, but an official pillar we hold ourselves, and our work to. It is also a clarion call for the type of people we want to bring into our studio to help us make better games.
We aren’t asking you for the benefit of the doubt. 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. We will always strive to make all players feel welcome in our worlds, to promote positive experiences, and to portray a bright and hopeful world in Destiny 2, and in every game world we create.
As far as apologies go, this is a pretty solid and sincere one. Hopefully it soothes the annoyance for any of those that were offended by it. Here’s an image comparison for those of you that have yet to see it.
As you can see, the resemblance is striking. In any case it’s all being dealt with. Stay tuned and as soon we learn more, you will too.