Bungie have found themselves in hot water as a Destiny 2 challenge completion banner slapped ‘Blood and Honour’ in front of the eyes of its player base.
The phrase ‘Blood and Honour’, which is the name of a Destiny 2 Season of the Chosen weekly challenge completion banner, has deep links with the Nazis and was the official motto of the Hitler youth. Bungie have professed an understandable ignorance to this, but gamers worldwide have kicked up and said they’re disappointed.
However, this is definitely a double-sided story. The phrase ‘Blood and Honour’ fits perfectly with the the militaristic, duty-driven society the Cabal are described to be. Games are meant to be escapes from reality, so it makes sense that we allow ourselves to step away from connotations that the real world has built. You’re playing a game about gun-toting space magicians fighting super big aliens, so it might be ok to let a thing or two slip past you.
Alternately, the slightest bit of research into the phrase ‘Blood and Honour’ finds that not only does the phrase have many links to the past, it also bears links to the present. ‘Blood and Honour’ is the name of a British neo-Nazi movement with branches all across the world. We stumbled across them in researching this piece, probably putting ourselves on a list, so you don’t have to.
The final, pretty damning point is that the challenge in question is called ‘Evicting the Cabal’, another tenuous link to Judaism through the Kabballah. It’s a lot of coincidences, none of which are particularly pleasant.
As a positive step moving forward, Bungie have already reached out to Kotaku and stated:
“Any connection to anti-Semitism in Destiny is completely unintentional. Bungie is emphatically committed to inclusion and human rights, and will never stand for anti-Semitism. We are already preparing fixes in an upcoming patch. We apologise to all of our players that were hurt by the references, and we are grateful to our community for bringing their concerns to our attention.”
Whatever your stance, it’s interesting to think about what this means for the crossover between fiction and reality in the gaming world. Are we expecting more awareness from game devs? It certainly seems so.