Mordhau is a very good medieval brawler, but it’s also attracted its fair share of assholes since release. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, a lot of games do, but Mordhau’s problem is that it’s not just retaining them, but catering to their assholey whims.
As PC Gamer report in this story about the game’s fanbase, a lack of adequate player moderation has led to a community where racism and other forms of bigotry are rampant, whether in the game itself or on forums.
Which sucks, but again, sadly it’s not a unique problem in online gaming, especially for an indie title on PC. What’s remarkable about Mordhau’s case, though, is just how unwilling developers Triternion seem to be to change any of that, and indeed just how far they’ll go to add options into their game to make sure that they don’t upset anyone who is being actively racist or sexist in their community.
The PC Gamer story reveals that Mordhau, which only launched with the ability to build white male characters, is looking to expand its roster to include women and people from different races. Which is cool, except the developers are so worried about upsetting their bigoted fans that they’re planning (though not guaranteeing the ultimate inclusion) on adding a toggle for players to filter out those choices, so that every character in the game is displayed as a white male, regardless of their rival’s actual selection.
UPDATE: While Triternion had been considering a toggle for female player models, they now deny the same was ever intended for models of different skin colours.
“Whatever stance we take officially, some group of people are going to be upset with us,” artist Mike Desrosiers told PC Gamer. “And so, ideally we’d put the power in the players’ hands, and give them the option to enable and disable different things.”
That “player’s choice” line is also used to explain why the game’s chat filtering system is so rudimentary, with Desrosiers saying, “If we take an official stance and we put an official filter list on all the words in chat, people will, first, find a way around it, and it might catch innocent words, or people might claim we’re censoring. So we’d rather put the power in the player’s hands.”
This is some milquetoast bullshit.
UPDATE 10:29pm - Despite what was said in the PC Gamer interview, Triternion have since tweeted:
UPDATE 2, 10:57pm - A quote originally attributed to Triternion’s Andrew Geach in the PC Gamer article was actually made by Mike Desrosiers. The story has been updated to reflect this.
UPDATE 3, 11:26pm - In response to Triternion’s denial, PC Gamer have updated their original story with a transcript of the relevant section of the interview.
UPDATE 4, 2:49am, July 2 - Here’s a forum post from April in which Triternion mention a possible toggle in relation to the introduction of female player models, saying “we might add a simple client-side toggle (for both female and male characters) which would let you disable them”, because “the realism complaint is valid”.
UPDATE 5, 6:10pm, July 3 - Triternion have now issued a full statement, denying that the possible toggle would ever have been for different skin colours, and blaming the confusion on a “misunderstanding” during PC Gamer’s interview.