Anyone who’s ever been online could’ve predicted this. Give people an internet connection and a microphone, and some will quickly reveal just how much they suck. Following yesterday’s release of the PS5-only Destruction AllStars, players almost instantly reported instances of serious verbal harassment, exacerbated by the game’s bewildering absence of tools to prevent such behavior.
Scroll through social media, and you’ll see plenty of players complaining about Destruction’s intrusive voice chat, which is switched on by default. Even worse, the voices of other players come through that tinny little speaker on the face of the PS5’s DualSense controller. (Yes, really.) Some players flocked to ResetEra, the popular video game forum, to share stories about racial slurs, homophobia, and other instances of inexcusable, derogatory language. In reviewing the game for Ars Technica, Sam Machkovech reportedly heard “an alt-right podcast about the Dark Web and QAnon” relayed over the speaker.
“It’s a real fun game and I’m sure it’ll be fun with younger kids,” one ResetEra moderator wrote. “But I don’t think they’ll want ‘DIE YOU FUCKING BITCH!’ or some horrible homophobia screaming out of their controller speaker in their living room.”
Even worse, Destruction AllStars offers frustratingly few tools to help players steer clear of the jerks. As far as I can tell, there’s no way in-game to mute or report hostile players. You can press the trackpad to pull up a list of everyone in each match, but there’s no way to actually interact with any of the displayed usernames. It’s just a list. There’s also no setting buried in the options that will allow you to deactivate voice chat wholesale.
In other words, to get everyone to shut the fuck up, you’ll have to rely on system-level tricks. Provided you’re cool sitting out the (toxic) party chat, here are the two easiest options at your fingertips.
As you’re selecting your character before the match, you should see a notification pop up on the upper-right corner of your screen: “Game voice chat has started.” Once you see that, you’re clear to mute. Tap the PS Button. Navigate to the “Voice Chat | Destruction AllStars” activity card (it’s likely the first one that pops up) and hit Square. You can do so after the match has started, too, but you’ll probably get splattered. Just a heads up.
Another heads up: You have to do this every single match. The PS5 won’t remember that you muted chat the prior match.
When you hit the PS Button, you’ll pull up your “control center,” a string of icons on the bottom of your screen. The control center is customizable; when you have it open, just hit the Options button. Before you play, tweak your bar so it includes the “sound” icon. At any point, you can click on that and turn your controller speaker all the way down. That’ll make everything nice and quiet.
Of course, that players would even have to fall back on system-level workarounds in the first place isn’t ideal. It’s a bit odd that voice chat is on by default, and odder still that it comes through your controller’s speaker. But it’s downright baffling that there’s no apparent way to mute individual players per match, to report offensive assholes in-game, nor to deactivate the voice chat altogether, which has quickly proven to be distracting, at best, and derogatory, at worst. It’s 2021. Anyone who’s ever been online could’ve predicted this.
Kotaku reached out to Lucid Games, Destruction’s developer, and to Sony, the game’s publisher, to see if any of these issues will be fixed in future updates of Destruction AllStars.