You No Longer Have To Hear Hate Speech While Playing Destruction AllStars

Illustration for article titled You No Longer Have To Hear Hate Speech While Playing Destruction AllStars
Screenshot: Lucid Games

Since Destruction AllStars released for PlayStation 5 a whole 72 hours ago, the game has been plagued by reported instances of verbal harassment, exacerbated by a voice chat that’s turned on by default. Today, developer Lucid Games released a fix that switches the default chat to “off.”

Hotfix 1.2.2 “disabled multiplayer lobby voice communications by default for all players,” according to a tweet from the developer. Lucid Games also writes that it is “actively working on longer-term enhancements to the voice communications system.”

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Soon after Destruction AllStars went live, players took to social media to share instances of racial slurs, sexism, homophobia, and other intolerant speech. One reviewer wrote that they heard an alt-right podcast.

While abhorrent and inexcusable, language like this is, sadly, part and parcel for online games. It’s just that they generally come with tools to combat it. To get jerks to shut up in Destruction AllStars, you’d need to rely on system-level workarounds in the PS5's settings and menus. There’s no in-game way to mute individual players or to deactivate voice chat altogether. The group chat for Destruction AllStars was relayed through that tinny speaker on the face of your DualSense controller, so you could mute your TV and still be subject to language you’d want no part of.

Following today’s hotfix, you won’t hear any players through your speaker. Pulling up Destruction’s Activity Cards—those system-level inputs on PS5—no longer shows one for “Voice Chat | Destruction AllStars.” In my matches, it appeared that the public voice chat is off for the time being. (The option to create your own party is still present.)

While baffling that such a design choice was implemented in the first place, it’s terrific to see developers take such quick, decisive action to solve a pervasive problem.

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Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

A nice speech recognition AI that can pick out hate speech would be a good idea. First infraction, you get a warning. Second, lengthy suspension from voice chat. Third time, permanent off-switch on all voice chat for games tied to your account. Maybe one day.