It's been quite a week for Bungie. Aside from focusing on the development of Destiny 2, it's been put under the spotlight because of an armor piece adorned with a hate symbol.
Of course, the developer has issued a sincere public apology almost immediately, and it's already working on scrubbing it out of the game entirely.
2/2 Our deepest apologies. This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this. We renounce hate in all forms.
— Bungie (@Bungie) September 12, 2017
"Renounce" doesn't mean the same thing as "denounce," but hey, the company's sentiment is pretty clear.
Now as a follow-up to the kerfuffle, Bungie has provided an explanation on how the offensive emblem made it into Destiny 2 in a blog post, as well as the measures it intends to take to prevent anything like it from happening again.
The Hate Symbol
To start things off, the piece of armor in question is the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets, while the offending artwork on it is believed to be the Nazi-inspired Kekistan flag, a made-up banner of a fictional country 4chan users created.
Basically, it's a meme that originates from World of Warcraft. In the game, the Alliance and the Horde, which are two factions at each other's throats, don't speak the same language. As a result, whenever a Horde player says "LOL," for instance, an Alliance member will see it as "KEK" instead.
Sure, it seems harmless enough at first glance, but the thing is, members of the alt-right recently started using it as a symbol to portray their values, as the Southern Poverty Law Center spotted in several instances.
Bungie: 'This Was Completely Unintentional'
How did the whole thing come to be? According to Bungie, the design was made "as part of gear foundry explorations in June 2015." They were occasions where graphic artists "routinely reference real world art, iconography, typeface, and other design elements to inform the choices they make."
Now how did it manage to go under the radar of Bungie's watchful eye? Well, the team in charge of reviewing content for cultural, geographical, and other sensitive issues did flag the item, but it only did so in connection with the "kek" meme and not with what it now apparently stands for.
"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 says.
As for the preventative measures Bungie plans to implement, it says it'll figure out how to "more deeply vet" game content. The company continues to say that its creative process is still under investigation, but it assures the public that "there was no degree of malicious intent from anyone on our team."
"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," Bungie adds.
Still In The Game
The hate symbol can still be found in Destiny 2 in the UI icon and preview screens, but Bungie will remove it altogether via patch 188.8.131.52, which will be released sometime next week.