Devolver removes neo-Nazi tattoos from Scum
Imagery was included to emphasise 'prison culture', review being conducted to check for other potentially offensive content
Indie publisher Devolver Digital and developer Gamepires have both apologised for the inclusion of neo-Nazi imagery in recently released survival game Scum.
Polygon reports the title caused outcry due to a tattoo in its Supporter Pack, a $9.99 add-on featuring character customisations. The tattoo in question included various image commonly associated with Nazi and neo-Nazi groups, including an iron cross with a skull on it, and the number '14' and '88'.
The tattoo has since been modified to remove these images, and Devolver says it is conducting a review of the game for any other content that may cause offense.
In statements to Polygon, both Devolver and Gamepires attribute the original inclusion to the game's concept: a battle to the death between prison inmates for a future reality show.
Real-world prisoners have been known to sport racist or offensive tattoos so this is in keeping with the theme, but the tattoo in question was too prominent for people's liking. Not only was it on the back of your character's head in a third-person game, it was also used in marketing posts on social media - although these have since been deleted.
Devolver stressed: "We do not agree with use of this symbology or any hateful content, regardless of intention. The use of the tattoo was intended to assist in portraying a realistic element of prison culture and the horrid elements within it. This content has been patched out, and Devolver Digital are currently conducting a full review of all assets and content in the game with Gamepires.
"We strongly condemn any and all use of hateful symbology in our games and agree it should have never been in the game regardless of creative intent or realism. Devolver Digital apologises unreservedly."
A Gamepires spokesperson added: "Our intention was to create an atmosphere of the worst of the worst criminals in Scum, and to portray the horrible type of people who would find themselves in a 'fight to the death' situation for a futuristic reality show where the worst criminals are pitted against one another.
"Since our initial response on our forums we've discussed this as a team and with our publisher and agree wholeheartedly that this content was unnecessary, should not have been included, and have removed it. We apologise for this misstep and promise to our fans that we will take more caution in our approach moving forward."
Released last week, Scum has been off to a great start commercially, shifting 250,000 copies in its first day - making it the biggest launch in Devolver's history.
Nazi symbology is frowned upon in most markets around the world, and was until recently banned outright in Germany. However, this law is now changing providing the use of its symbolism serves an artistic purpose or is for historical accuracy. We spoke to German trade body Game about the implications of this change.