Spider-Man Remastered (opens in a new tab) recently launched on PC, and Insomniac’s excellent web-em-up instantly caught the attention of modders. This unfortunately included an individual who took offense to New York’s interpretation of the game, including pride flags among the absolute plethora of American flags. They created a mod that removed the Pride flags, replacing them with stars and stripes, then uploaded it to Nexusmods using a sockpuppet account called “Mike Hawk”.
Nexus mods (opens in a new tab) is arguably the most popular centralized mod database online (sorry Moddb (opens in a new tab)), with a nice clean look, good community, and all the features a PC gamer could want. Nexus quickly removed the mod and banned the puppet and the main modder account. The punishment led to community drama over whether someone innocent had been punished. The folks running Nexusmods later decided enough was enough for this stuff and explained what happened in a new blog post. (opens in a new tab) which sets clear guidelines for the future.
“The fact that the user needed to make a sock puppet like a coward to download the mod showed his intent to troll and he knew it wouldn’t be allowed. If he hadn’t been a loose and if he had used his main account instead, we would have just deleted the mod and told them we didn’t want to host it, only banning them if they re-uploaded it after enough warning. creation of the sock puppet removed all doubt and made the decision very easy for us. the sock puppet account and the main user account were banned.”
Regarding future mods that attempt to replace Pride flags in any game, Nexusmods’ statement states that “if we believe anyone is uploading a mod to our site with the intent to be deliberately against inclusiveness and/or diversity, we will take action against it. The same goes for people who deliberately try to troll other users with mods to cause an uplift. For our part, we will strive to do a better job of moderating our website to this philosophy ourselves.
Nexusmods says it’s not trying to position itself 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 previously quietly removed similar content, but today’s blog draws a line in the sand that modders know not to cross.
“We do not want to and will not discuss this with you. We have now explained our position and will not provide you with a platform to misrepresent our position to fuel an irrational and paranoid narrative. You can do it elsewhere , where we won’t care enough to read it.
“If this policy bothers you, if we have violated a moral code of conduct as a business that you cannot accept, then please delete your account (opens in a 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 kids would say, to get out and touch some grass. This one certainly has time to do it now.
It has to be said that the majority of Spider-Man mods so far have been fun and entertaining, although it’s just the beginning for now and mostly character models and reshades. Among the first batch was one that turned the player character into Stan Lee (opens in a new tab)a No HUD (opens in a new tab) mod to remove Symbiote UI and black suit (opens in a new tab) mod. The most promising is a modding tool (opens in a new tab) uploaded by the prolific jedijosh920, which should make things easier for modders and users.