Bungie has admitted that the design of a pair of gauntlets in Destiny 2 that referenced a neo-nazi flag was based on real-world art but wasn’t highlighted as inappropriate by internal checks.
The original design for the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets was flagged internally for its association with the internet “kek” meme, which has since been appropriated by white supremacists for use on a Nazi war flag.
The developer extended downtime this week to remove the offending gear as it shared similarities to what it called a “hate symbol”.
“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,” said Bungie.
“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.”
Bungie added: “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.”
Bungie has said that intends to clear Destiny 2 of any and all symboles related to the meme, 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.”
The intention was never to offend, said Bungie, and it wants Destiny 2 to be a game welcoming to all players.
“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.”