The battle royale game’s Asian playerbase recently raised issue with a new mask added to the mobile game not long ago, a mask that featured the rising sun symbol that’s often associated with the Imperial Japanese military. GamesIndustry.biz (via Korean site Bzit through BBC) reported that players were uncomfortable with the mask being a wearable item in the game due to the implications behind the symbol. Korean and Chinese players in particular brought awareness to the item while reminding others and PUBG Corp. of the history behind the two countries and Japan during World War II. The mask can be seen below with the rising sun symbol displayed across the side, stretching across the front of the mask.
Coupled with the mask was the appearance of an AI bot that players could encounter in games, a bot whose name was Unit 731. That name’s a clear reference to an infamous division of the Japanese military that was responsible for conducting chemical weapon tests and performed various human experiments on prisoners of war, a unit responsible for the deaths of approximately 10,000 people.
PUBG publisher Bluehole responded to players’ concerns about the item and the bot and said that the bot’s name would be changed. The now-removed mask, according to Bluehole, was never supposed to be added to the game in the first place. Bluehole apologized for the incident and guaranteed a more thorough inspection of items and other content in the future.
“We apologise for causing concerns over a pilot mask item,” Bluehole said in a statement. “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.”
For all the mobile players who purchased the item, Bluehole has issued refunds to everyone’s account to compensate them now that the item has been removed from the game. It’s unclear how the mask and bot name slipped through the crack in the first place to be added to the game, but the promised revamping of the inspection process should help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.