While the war over lockboxes rages on in online games, there’s another war brewing about the nature of what’s in them, as a move by Daybreak this week has served to remind us.
Last night, the company announced it was removing a potentially offensive outfit skin from H1Z1’s most recent loot crate. The skin is themed to look like Maui, the Polynesian demigod who became a household name around the globe thanks to his role the Disney movie Moana.
“After careful consideration, we’ve made the decision to remove the Maui Outfit from tomorrow’s Macho Crate release,” the studio wrote on Twitter yesterday. “We take cultural representation seriously in all of our games, and want to apologize for any offense we may have caused.”
The insertion and then removal of the Maui skin has caused quite a row across Twitter and Reddit, where some folks argue Daybreak is taking “cultural appropriation” too far. But as multiple New Zealand and Australian publications and gamers have noted, the Maui skin was offensive specifically because it smooshed together family tattoos, weapons, and masks that didn’t even fit together logically or culturally and seemed to be created without input from experts or sensitivity toward the subject matter or context. According to one Reddit thread, “applying Māori designs onto an assault rifle is extremely problematic” in particular because of the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand.