In 2007, Christopher "Ichida" MacKinnon and two other Bandai forum moderators were featured as an arena team in the third volume of PlayStation 2 RPG series .hack//G.U. This month's remaster of the series inexplicably removed MacKinnon and another moderator's character name.
As MacKinnon tells it in a lengthy post on his personal Kinja page, back in 2006 he and two other active users on the .hack//G.U. forums, Viscosity and Leon, were recruited by a Bandai representative to be super-moderators. They moderated posts, helped out with community contests, and otherwise helped spread word of the action RPG series, released in three instalments for the PS2 between 2006 and 2007. In appreciation for their work, the three were included in the third volume of the game, 2007's Redemption. Legal releases were signed, and the NPC arena team named Super Mod Squad was born.
MacKinnon reached out to Kotaku about the situation back on November 9, six days after the release of .hack//G.U. Last Recode for PlayStation 4 and PC. A huge fan of the series, he had picked up the remaster as soon as it dropped, eager to see his team in action in high definition. On November 3 he confirmed that the Super Mod Squad team name was included in the new version.
But when he finally played through the game enough to unlock arena battles and face off against Super Mod Squad, he discovered that two of the three character names had been changed.
"Here comes Last Recode, the remaster of the same games, and for some reason two out of the three of us, including me, had our names changed, whereas one of our group was untouched," wrote MacKinnon in his initial email to Kotaku. I have no idea why this happened but I'm upset that my immortalization in my favourite game series was not carried over to this release."
We reached out to Bandai Namco to get to the bottom of why the names were changed, but so far we're come up empty. A PR representative spoke to members of the team behind the remastered game, but none were aware of the original arrangement. The rep speculated that in the 10 years between the original release and remaster, almost everyone involved the first time around has moved on. It may be the case that since the original agreement involved signing legal releases, the names were changed in order to avoid having to go through that process again.
As for why the name Viscosity remains intact, we can only speculate that maybe since it's an ordinary word, a release wasn't needed.
Christopher "Ichida" MacKinnon is fully prepared to sign another release, if that's what it takes to get his and Leon's name into the .hack//G.U. remaster. He's holding out hope that someone from Bandai Namco will hear him, explain exactly why the names were changed, and maybe restore the Super Mod Squad to its former glory.