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Mordhau’s plans for women and people of color are confusing everyone

A proposed toggle would remove women and minorities from the game

Warriors charge into battle in Mordhau. Triternion
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The team behind massive medieval combat hit Mordhau appear to be at odds internally over the inclusion of women and non-white player avatars in their fictional medieval combat game. Reached for comment, representatives tell Polygon that an official public statement is forthcoming.

The situation began yesterday when PC Gamer published an article based off an interview with the team. Asked about the inclusion of women and people of color in future versions of the game, the team said it wanted to leave that decision up to players. The developer’s solution: a toggle that would allow those uncomfortable with the sight of a woman in their game world the ability to turn them into white men instead. It’s not the first time the developer has suggested this as an option, as a Steam post back in April confirms.

Following the article, Mordhau’s official Twitter account responded, saying that the team has absolutely no intention of implementing that feature.

“We at Triternion, and as a small indie team, have a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with toxicity/racism in a large community,” reads the two-part tweet. “However, we need to clarify some claims posted in an article today. We do not, nor have we ever, had plans to add a toggle to hide other ethnicities or ‘disable characters that aren’t white’ in Mordhau. Any claims to the contrary are false. Official statement coming soon.”

In response to Triternion’s statement, PC Gamer updated its article with a direct transcript of the conversation:

During our interview, we asked, “Are there plans to increase, on the character creator side, the diversity of the characters players can create? You’ve talked in the past about adding female playable characters and changing character’s skin tones ... is that something you guys are committed to doing?”

[Triternion artist Mike] Desrosiers replied, “That goes back to a similar situation as the chat filters. Whatever stance we take officially, some group of people are going to be upset with us. And so, ideally we’d put the power in the players’ hands, and give them the option to enable and disable different things.

”There has been endless debates about it, and it attracts a lot of toxicity, a lot of stuff we’re not interested in attracting to the game itself, any more on top of what’s already present. But we’re definitely always looking at ways of expanding [our customisation].”

Later, after [Triternion’s Andrew] Geach explained how Triternion might go about creating new character customization options, such as female characters, black characters, and Middle Eastern characters, we asked, “So current thoughts on that, as Mike said, maybe adding that and then giving the option for players to disable it? Is that the current thinking?”

Geach replied, “Yeah, that seems to be the current thinking. It’s not set in stone, it depends how our community is in the future. Maybe if it calms down in the future, the game still has a lot of players, a lot of toxicity, a lot of racism, a lot of politics, everything, people argue in chat about all sorts of nonsense.”

Today, Polygon visited the official Mordhau Discord server, where both sides of the argument are ongoing in the general chat channel – along with several other racist and sexist diatribes. The PC Gamer article called out the team at Triternion for its lack of ability to stem the flow of “rampant racism and toxicity” from its players, both in the free messaging service and on its forums.

Reached for comment, a member of the development team was unwilling to make any additional unprepared statements.

“There’s a lot of wrong stuff going on with this and we are going to try to learn from our mistakes,” the representative said, “and work a lot better in our internal communication before doing another borked public statement.”

Polygon will update this story when that statement is made.

Update: The statement on Twitter by the Mordhau team arrived prior to PC Gamer publishing the full transcript of the conversation with developers. We’ve updated our article to reflect that. The update adds a link to a Steam thread from April which discusses the inclusion of the client-side toggle.

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