Spider-Man Remastered (opens in new tab) recently launched on PC, and Insomniac’s excellent web-em-up instantly attracted the attention of modders. This unfortunately included an individual who took offense at the game’s rendition of New York City including some Pride flags among the absolute plethora of American ones. They created a mod that removed the Pride flags, replacing them with the stars and stripes, then uploaded it to Nexusmods using a sockpuppet account called ‘Mike Hawk’.
Nexusmods (opens in new tab) is arguably the most popular centralised mod database online (sorry Moddb (opens in new tab) ), with a nice clean look, a good community, and all the functionality a PC gamer could wish for. Nexus swiftly removed the mod, and banned the modder’s sockpuppet and main account. The sanction led to some community drama about whether someone innocent had been punished. The people who run Nexusmods subsequently decided enough is enough when it comes to this stuff, and have addressed what went on in a new blog (opens in new tab) that sets out clear guidelines for the future.
“The fact the user needed to make a sock puppet like a coward to upload the mod showed their intent to troll and that they knew it would not be allowed. Had they not been a coward and had they used their main account instead, we would have simply removed the mod and told them that we did not want to host it, only banning them if they reuploaded it again after being fairly warned. The creation of the sock puppet removed any doubt and made it a very easy decision for us. Both the sock puppet account and the user’s main account have been banned.”
In terms of future mods that try to replace Pride flags in any game, Nexusmods’ statement says “if we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it. The same goes for people attempting to troll other users with mods deliberately to cause a rise. For our part, we will endeavour to do a better job of moderating our website to this ethos ourselves.”
Nexusmods says it’s not trying to set itself up as an authority on what modders can and can’t do, but as a private company, it can and will choose what content it wants to host. The site has previously taken similar content down quietly, but today’s blog draws a line in the sand that modders know not to cross.
“We don’t want to and won’t argue this with you. We’ve now explained our stance and we won’t be providing a platform for you to distort our position in order to feed an irrational and paranoid narrative. You can do that elsewhere, where we won’t care enough to read it.
“If this policy upsets you, if we’ve broken some moral code of conduct as a business that you can’t accept, then please, delete your account (opens in new tab) (bottom option) and move on, as we will.”
Modders who spend their time trying to remove Pride flags from games probably need, as the kids would say, to go outside and touch some grass. This one certainly has the time on their hands to do so now.
It has to be said that the majority of Spider-Man mods so far have been fun and amusing, though it’s all early days at the moment and mainly character models and reshades. Among the first batch was one that turned the player character into Stan Lee (opens in new tab) , a No HUD (opens in new tab) mod to drop the UI, and the Symbiote Black Suit (opens in new tab) mod. Most promising though is a Modding Tool (opens in new tab) uploaded by the prolific jedijosh920, which should make things easier for modders and users alike.
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