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PUBG developer apologies after controversial World War II references found in game

Purchasable mask and AI bot caused offence across Korea and China with allusions to Imperial Japan

The team behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has apologised after offending players in key Asian markets with in-game content.

Korean news site Bzit, as reported by the BBC, revealed the developers had added a a pilot's mask that bore a rising sun symbol, often associated with the Imperial Japanese military.

Meanwhile, a player found an AI bot had been named Unit 731 - the same designation as a division of the Japanese arm that conducted human experiments on Chinese, Koren and Russian prisoners of war and developed chemical weapons, killing 10,000 people in its tests.

Both have understandably upset Korean and Chinese players, as they seem to allude to Imperial Japan and its aggressive expansion into Asia during World War Two.

PUBG publisher Bluehole has said the AI bot's name will be removed from the game and the pilot's mask was never supposed to be made publicly available. The item has been removed and any players that purchased it have been refunded.

In a statement, the company promised it would review items more thoroughly before they are made available to players for purchase.

"We apologise for causing concerns over a pilot mask item," the firm said. "We will conduct an overall re-examination of our image production process to prevent such a recurrence. We will enhance procedures to scrutinise game items before their release and hold the person in charge responsible."

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James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.