Bungie Explains Why They're Removing the "Kekistan"-Looking Gauntlets
"We will always strive to make all players feel welcome in our worlds."
Earlier, we reported that Bungie will be updating Destiny 2 to update 18.104.22.168. While the details of the update are still uncertain, they have confirmed at least one patch involving the controversial gauntlets that resemble a hate symbol.
The offending gauntlets that mistakenly resembles the Kekistan flag. Bungie was quick to announce that the gauntlets would be removed, but today they've expanded upon their reasoning in longer form. They announced that they will be removing the element from the armor piece, while leaving the armor itself intact, presumably in the 22.214.171.124 update. In a later update, they will be removing the same symbol from the UI icon and preview screens, "Scrubbing it from the game altogether."
But Bungie felt the need to further discuss the controversy to quell any uneasy fans.
"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."
It seems that Bungie was innocent in their intentions and the resemblance was purely coincidental and not at all intended to have an alternative meaning. If one looks closely at the armor itself, the "K" symbols are actually just lines and chevrons "|<" but put together in context, it resembled the word Kek.
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."
For those unaware, Kek used to simply be a translation of LOL in World of Warcraft but has taken to mean something entirely different in 2016/2017. Considering their focus on the older meme, the newer connotation slipped completely under the radar of the review group and Bungie themselves.
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."
Once again, they make it clear that the similarity was not intended, but that the comparison being made is legitimate in their eyes enough to remove the offending armor from the game.
They finish off by expressing their view on diversity and their reaction to the incident and take the opportunity to note that their response "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 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."
On a more positive note, a secret was found in one of Destiny 2's strike intro about puppies and voice actors losing it.