Mordhau's Developers Are On Some Bullshit [Update]

Mordhau is a very good medieval brawler, but its also attracted its fair share of arseholes since release. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, a lot of games do, but Mordhau’s problem is that its not just retaining them, but catering to their arseholey 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.

“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 1, 12:29pm - Despite what was said in the PC Gamer interview, Triternion have since tweeted:

UPDATE 2, 12:57pm - 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, 1:26pm - In response to Triternion’s denial, PC Gamer have updated their original story with a transcript of the relevant section of the interview.


    You say "milquetoast bullshit", I say strategic planning. They're developers, not politicians or rights activists. Give the players the tools to choose how they play and what they see so the devs can get back to what they're supposed to do; develop the game. They don't want to be distracted by outrage culture, or virtue signalling. I like it.

    It may seem like a feeble move to people who need everyone to choose a side in this politically driven horse shit, but I say more power to them.

    But that's just one fellow's opinion. I don't need everyone to have a dog in every race.

      The more I hear, read, and see, the more I realise that the left and right are equally guilty in almost everything they accuse each other of.

      What Triternion is doing is called compromise. Compromise is kinda what democracy has been completely built upon, and in a funny twist, it's also what everyone seems to be missing right now which is causing the rift between sides to grow.

      But hey, if you need a platform to complain from, it might as well be here.

        Compromise with racists is not a virtue.

          They're not compromising with racists, though. They're specifically avoiding making the development of their game about racism, which is precisely what they should do. They haven't chosen to do nothing, but by choosing to give players the choices, they remove themselves from choosing a side of an entirely player driven situation. A toxic one, at that.

          Those who fire up a game and see white only character models can do one of a few things; assume it's an artistic direction and run with the lore of the game (a la Kingdom Come: Deliverance), decide that it's a racist decision by the developers and cry foul, or not think anything of it at all and just play the god damn game, without every noticing race to begin with.

          When I played Sleeping Dogs, I wasn't offended that there weren't many/any white people in the game's world, or lore. And why should I? Some might say "Well that game was based in China" - Well then the same argument can apply to Mordhau, or Kingdom Come: Deliverance or Def Jam Vendetta, so-on and so-forth.

          I for one, don't believe in the slightest that the Devs sat around during the texturing of their character models and thought to themselves "Let's make them all white because that's what we are and that's all we'll accept."

          Guaran-fucking-teed this would not be a conversation 10 years ago. People are on the lookout for this to be an issue it isn't, or an issue at all.

          It has nothing to do with anything but presumption at best. At worst? It's a cry for attention to say "Look what I'm pointing out that may or may not be the case, but here I am anyway, on my anti-racist soap box"..... in my opinion.

            If they give the ability to toggle diversity so that I can make everybody the same of ANY race, and I'll believe that it's putting control in the player's hands instead of just capitulating (or worse, catering to) racists..

            If you won't move forward with diverse skins unless there's an option to make everybody white dudes, I want you to also provide an option for me to make everyone black dudes.

            I mean, POC weren't just invented in the 19th century. They did exist, and quite a fucking lot of them, in medieval Europe.
            Shakespeare didn't just invent Othello out of nothing.

    I don't see any problems with this if you're looking for an authentic role-playing experience set in medieval Europe.

    I think this is the most diplomatic way to approach this, and I don't understand why (optionally) maintaining a level of historical accuracy within your product would be an issue.

      Doing 360 archer shots on a horse isn't exactly a "authentic role-playing" experience, though.

        Sure, if you decide to play in that way.

        Having n00bf4rter69 call me a cuck while doing it may fall outside the realms of immersion also.

          n00bff4rter69 should remember to use the entire term "cuckhold" and stick to iambic pentameter whilst doing so.

        But surely we understand that games have compromises for the sake of gameplay? I see this argument a lot that “It can’t be historical because x mechanic” but so what? Something can be grounded in history while having concessions for gameplay. It’s an absurd argument - I mean even “hardcore” sims like Arma allow for ridiculous feats that aren’t realistic.

          If you wanted actual authenticity there would be POC. They were everywhere in medieval Europe. They didn't just appear out of nowhere in the last 100 years.

            I was commenting on the “You can noscope 360” part, not whether x or y is over or under represented - see how I didn’t mention race once in my reply? Find somebody else to project your outrage on.

        Well, let's hold a moment now... Can you prove nobody ever did any sweet 360 archery shots during that time period?

        From a pure numbers standpoint I'd not even hesitate to bet that there was at least one instance of some utter madman doing archery trick shots from horse back while fighting the enemy. Betting against it never having happened at all actually seems quite foolish.

        Whether their shenanigans were effective, or if they promptly died following them is a whole other bag of cats.

        And as much as this is just me having fun with the idea, if humanity has proven anything it's that people can do the most stupid, insane things at the most inappropriate and inexplicable moments.

      Ah yes the authentic roleplay of respawning, points, hud names and customised character builds.

      So true to life.

      Except that it's far more historically accurate to have Persons of Colour throughout the game, because trade, the Romans, migration, etc. spread people of many ethnicities throughout Europe.

      And women warriors are also plausible. Look at Joan de' Arc for example. Sure, she met a sticky end (because the English are sore losers), but she was still accepted as a champion by knights, lords and even the King of France. And she's not by any means the only example of this. There's Matilda of Canossa, Isabella of Castile, Lagertha, wife of Ragnar, and many others aside.

      So yeah, the 'Historical Accuracy' argument is a fallacy.

      Last edited 02/07/19 9:10 pm

    Surely the easiest solution is to have the "I only want to see one type of player model" to have a sub-option of "choose which player model this is"? Then if you want to only have black women running around you can have that too. If that doesn't satisfy you then I can only assume you're upset because people don't get to see specifically which character you've chosen to which I reply "boo hoo".

    Likewise, allow an option to turn chat filter on and off. Hell, let each player control their own chat filter so they can add any terms that might offend them and they'll never have to see any text that they don't like.

      People who think opposing racism is "taking a side" are not ones to listen to for advice on social policy.

      Basic human decency isn't a political position.

      Go oldschool like UT era MP games - have an option for only loading one character model so potato computers didn't run out of memory trying to maintain everybody's specific selection :p

    Here we go.....

    They've given people a mute button. Someone being an arsehole? Use it.

      Why? Its not hard to just autofilter common keywords.

      Plenty of mainstream games do it with no issues.

        Yes they do. But it dosnt stop people finding a way around it. See: twitch/youtube/any game with online chat.

    It can go both ways, if someone wants to apply any filter they want so what filter away, you want only white dudes go ahead, you only want black women do that to your heart's content.

    As for the chat stuff I agree, people will find ways around it at least this way people can see who's being a piece of shit and mute them as well as report if that's an option.

    Chat filters inadvertently catching words is unavoidable unfortunately, unless you set up a separate 'safe words' filter. I think my favourite one recently, was being in a Steam Discussion page, about the Castlevania anthology and people were losing their heads about not being able to use the word Pachinko as its the running joke that their revenue to primarily making new Pachinko machines.

    I had to point out to them that the letters that were being censored out of the word Pachinko were a racist slut towards asians. Which brings to mind that various Yakuza games would be a string of censorship as they try to discuss some of the minigames.

    I do usually play games with the chat filters on, because the only swearing I really want to be exposed to is my own cursing aloud in frustration.

    Hey that's pretty cool. Give people the option for diverse player models, while also giving players the option to limit their own experience to something more historically authentic.
    Seems like a win-win in my books.

      Historically authentic would actually include loads more POC. Medieval Europe was full of people of all different ethnicities. It wasn't just white people until the 1900s.

    So... if Ghosts of Tsushima ever comes out.... and the character list is 100% Japanese and Mongolian.... are Sucker Punch going to be accused of racism?

      No, because presumably Sucker Punch aren't also going to be doing literally nothing to discourage racist behavior within the game. ...Which is also single-player anyway, far as I can tell, so that's a non-issue.

    What did my comment say that was wrong? Was it that I used the f word?
    Also second comment what rule did that violate. Because I literally didnt say anything wrong there.

      Don't attack the author, mischaracterise things that have nothing to do with the article in question, and fling garbage about the site. Any one of those isn't part of the community guidelines, and if you want to keep beating that drum, you can do so elsewhere.

        Kotaku flings crap about how others need to be accountable but not themselves. What's wrong with personal accountability?
        Also public opinion is out there but can't be critiqued. That's sad.

          You're providing zero foundation for that, you're attacking the entirety of the site and you're doing nothing to contribute to the discussion. Help make this a productive comments and not a cesspool like the rest of the internet, or take the mudslinging elsewhere.

            Multiple authors have made multiple articles that X game hasn't got enough to stop harassment... Yet every game has a mute function. If I'm making sweeping statements it's because overall every author that has made an article with the exact same opinion. Name one article that is about personal accountability and not blaming the service and I'll eat my own words. Also multiple authors are 'kotaku' so if saying all of kotaku I'm basically right. But if that's offensive mind blown I guess.

    Luke Plunkett logic:

    Mean words in an online game - BAD
    Throwing chemical-laced milkshakes at a journo and then beating him up - GOOD

    Make no mistake. I dont like racist shit on online games. But you wont ever wipe it out. Use the mute function and move on. You are only giving these Luddites the attention then want. They dont say this stuff because they believe in it, They do it to provoke a reaction.

    You are giving them the reaction they desire.

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