Overwatch, a hugely popular team-based shooter from Blizzard, and the inspiration for at least three of your fellow student dorm’s tattoos has made a new change in his latest patch, which plays a minor role but makes an important statement about the company’s values. In particular, they removed Character McCree’s “snare spray” from the game and replaced it with a horseshoe spray instead. Sprays are basically the game equivalent of spray paint and a purely cosmetic feature that allows your character to mark a surface with the image that the spray represents.
Multiplayer video games are known to be toxic, racist cesspools even under the best of circumstances. So you can see why it could be a bad idea to arm racist poisonous trolls with the ability to spray a noose on the wall, especially during our current moment.
… because the signal was co-opted by the white supremacist movement. Magic the gatheringA trading card game removed seven cards from its database due to racist connotations. Magic the gathering The editor of Wizards of The Coast said in an official statement: “The events of the past few weeks and the ongoing discussion about how we can better support people with color have prompted us to investigate ourselves, our actions and our inaction.” Here is too call of Duty Statement from the publisher Infinity Ward:
Whenever something is removed or banned, whether it’s a video game icon that could be used to racially troll people, or a branded candy bar from the office vending machine that you use to crank your morning cigarette, there will inevitably be people, she will see this as a violation of her freedom. “How will I let the other members of my party know that I’m an asshole if I can’t spray paint loops everywhere ?!”
Fair point, but such changes are not as unusual or even extreme when it comes to video game censorship. All countries do it and they all have their own problems. League of legendsFor example, a cigar is known to have been removed from a character’s mouth to appease regions with strict tobacco laws (only to bring them back into play three years later). The American version of Pokemon red & blue passed out an old man with a “lack of caffeine” instead of staying true to the Japanese version, in which he was only a passed out drunk. Final Fantasy VIThe American publication might as well have included a censorship bar that you could put on the TV screen as various elements of the game, from nudity to religious references, have been toned down.
Honestly, the only surprising thing here is that this change didn’t come earlier.
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Top picture: Blizzard Entertainment