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Muslim fighter given Christian celebration in UFC 2

EA apologizes to Khabib Nurmagomedov, pledges to fix issue in game's next update

Fresh off a GDC panel decrying the industry's treatment of Muslim characters, Electronic Arts has provided another example of how games can be inconsiderate of practitioners. The publisher's recently released UFC 2 has drawn some heat for post-fight celebrations that can show Muslim fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov making a Christian gesture, the sign of the cross.

The Russian fighter tweeted his displeasure last week, saying, "I'm a MUSLIM and not Baptized. Please @EASPORTSUFC edit my after fight celebration. I have a lot of Muslim fans and you have to respect it."

Yesterday he followed up by posting a picture showing EA's response through a Twitter direct message.

"Hello Khabib. Just wanted to reach out and let you know that we've seen your concern in regards to your after fight celebration," the publisher responded. "We've informed our development team about this issue and will change the celebration in our next update. Apologies if this has offended you in any way."

Nurmagomedov accepted the apology, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes and saying he wouldn't hold a grudge.

"Hopefully, next time they wouldn't make mistakes like this, and take [into] account everybody's religion," Nurmagomedov said.

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Latest comments (7)

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios8 months ago
How about checking what his religion is first, before doing the animation?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 months ago
Strike one: See above. Strike two: Sadly, I'd bet a penny someone somewhere on that dev team said "he doesn't LOOK Muslim" as they coded up that incorrect animation. Strike three: I guess they ALSO didn't watch any of his winning matches either to see what sort of celebration he did after a victory.

Hmmmm... So much for being "in the game!" I guess...
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship8 months ago
Is no one of the opinion that honest mistakes, honestly apologised for and planned to be rectified, are generally best left at that?
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Show all comments (7)
I haven't played the game but it was probably was just a standard celebration animation rather than something specifically made for him. Which means they would have had to take it out rather than actively put it in. As Nick said it was an unfortunate mistake but nothing more and it's nice to see someone not making a big deal over something like this.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 months ago
Why would they code a Christian based victory animation to begin with? This doesn't sound like a mistake or an accident.

Did they give everyone else (religious or not) a Christian based victory animation?
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania8 months ago
They probably have a range of victory animations which they randomly select from ( considering the rig is the same and/ or that they do have some form of re-targeting ). On games of this scale ( animation production wise ) this makes perfect sense.

Somewhere, in an animation tree or something of the sort, they link these up. I'd guess they have a Christian Victory node with a bunch of sub-nodes, a Muslim one, etc. One of these gets selected based on some trigger value. Easy to overlook given how massive these things can become and how QA is not necessarily that much into sports nor do they have a theological background.

They've apologized and will fix it. Which is, frankly, the only thing they can or should do for these types of minor bugs.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 26th March 2016 8:39am

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 months ago
I'd guess they have a Christian Victory node with a bunch of sub-nodes, a Muslim one, etc
But that's where proper research comes into play, Tudor. If say, there was NO Muslim celebration coded (does the game have other Muslim fighters who celebrate, are there different types of poses like in a WWE game and was Nurmagomedov just not given the proper animation?), that can be called a mistake.

If, on the other hand, no one bothered to even double check his matches or maybe get him to mo-cap his victory poses, it's less of a "mistake" and more of an omission that requires a proper fix, apologies aside.
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