Update: The European Phenotypes and Names mod for Stellaris is back on the Steam Workshop. Its creator, Lord Xel, said he re-uploaded the mod primarily as “an experiment to see how far Paradox will lie about banning my other mod.” He claimed he's uncertain as to precisely why the original was removed, “since Paradox never contacted me and only gave conflicting reports to gaming media about why” it was cut.
Nonetheless, he listed three “rules” to be followed by commenters, including that there can be no use of a “certain non-offensive commonly used word.” The description of the mod is also less inflammatory as well: “Simply makes humans Europeans and adds a name list for European names.”
Paradox said it would not comment on the mod beyond the statement released yesterday by COO Susana Meza Graham. “We have a few rules of conduct that have been in effect for the better part of a decade where racial slurs, among other things, are not allowed. We interpreted this particular mod as breaking those rules of conduct, however it would appear that the comments surrounding the mod, rather than the mod itself, were the biggest problem,” she said. “We welcome everyone to create all kind of mods for us as long as they comply with our rules of conduct and we expect our modders to help us keep the comment sections free of any racial slurs or other things that do not comply with these same codes.”
Presumably the mod now complies with those rules. They're available in full here.
Game mods are great, but sometimes they're used to do not-so-great things. The “European Phenotype and Names Only” mod for Stellaris is one such example: As the title implies, it changes the game so that all humans are European—which is to say, “white”—and have only European names. If that strikes you as a little sketchy, well, you're probably not wrong—and Paradox agrees.
"We shipped the game originally with an accurate representation of humans, that is to say diverse in both ethnicity and personality," a Paradox rep told Eurogamer, explaining its decision to remove the mod from the Steam Workshop. "We embrace the idea that players mod the game to best represent how they want to play, we do NOT however wish to enable discriminatory practices."
It wasn't the mod itself that led to its removal, though, but a change to its description that was made after it was posted. “We saw the mod, thought it wasn't in very good taste, but let it remain. Then the creator of the mod decided to update the description of the mod to promote an 'agenda' not related to computer games at all, and this was being clearly displayed on our product page,” Community Manager Paradoxal Bear wrote on Reddit. “We decided it was a step too far and removed it.”
In a separate post, Paradoxal Bear acknowledged that other mods allow Stellaris players to role-play the game in just about any way they see fit, and that “our job is to make computer games, not push political agendas.” But, he continued, “this particular mod had several disturbing elements in its public description which we do not want to have clearly displayed on our project page."
Paradox didn't specify how the description had changed, but several Redditors state that it was the addition of “No multiculturalism here!” that triggered the decision to remove the mod. Interestingly, the description of the mod on ModDB (where it remains available) doesn't contain the phrase. The first comment, however, is a request to eliminate women from the game as well.