Destiny 2 developer, Bungie, found themselves apologizing earlier this week once it was discovered that a certain in-game legendary armor set within the game featured a ‘hate symbol’.
The "KEK" symbol has been used recently by white supremacists, however, its origins were in the World of Warcraft community and it became a meme from that origin. Bungie took to its blog this week to address what actually happened and why the symbol made it into the game.
"Earlier this week, we were made aware that a graphical element on one of Destiny 2’s armor pieces bore a close resemblance to an internet meme that has been subsequently repurposed to represent hate and intolerance," said Bungie’s community blog writer, DeeJ. "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.
"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.
"Although the design wasn’t emulative of the meme in question, the armour 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 armour was approved for ship."
The studio is promising that it will have a deeper vetting process in future when looking for real world inspirations. The game, despite not performing as hoped at retail, has still been the biggest week one launch and, according to Activision, is the largest ever day one sales performer on the PlayStation Store.