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Nazi tattoos removed from survival game Scum, Devolver apologizes

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The discovery of Nazi tattoos on characters in the open-world survival game Scum has resulted in an apology from publisher Devolver Digital, and their removal from the game. The tattoos were found by a member of the Scum subreddit, who posted an image of a tattoo in the Scum Supporter Pack that includes an iron cross with a skull in the center, and the numbers 14 and 88. 

14 and 88 are notorious white supremacist symbols: 14 is a reference to the infamous "Fourteen Words"—"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children"—while 88 is a soft code for the eighth letter of the alphabet, and thus translates into shorthand for Heil Hitler. 

An initial reaction from one member of the Scum team was to dismiss complaints outright. "If you are offended by some textures in the game, please don't play the game," Croteam Incubator marketing and community manager Zenoslaf wrote in a thread-locking message on Steam. "Because if we start removing things that hurt someone's feelings, it will be an empty game, with no people, no weapons, no blood, no humor, no [expletive] pooping, killing others, eating human flesh, killing animals."

"We are not right wing, we are not Nazi supporters, we are not even Germans, and [the] only offending thing here, in my opinion, is calling us Nazi supporters for no reason." 

Devolver, the game's publisher, responded differently, saying that it does not agree with the use of Nazi symbols, "or any hateful content," regardless of the intent. 

"The use of the tattoo was intended to assist in portraying a realistic element of prison culture and the horrid elements within it. This content has been patched out as of this morning, and Devolver Digital are currently conducting a full review of all assets and content in the game with Gamepires," the publisher said. "We strongly condemn any and all use of hateful symbology in our games and agree it should have never been in the game regardless of creative intent or realism. Devolver Digital apologizes unreservedly." 

Scum developer Gamepires also apologized for the inclusion of the symbols, and confirmed that they have been removed. "Our intention was to create an atmosphere of the worst of the worst criminals in SCUM, and to portray the horrible type of people who would find themselves in a ‘fight to the death’ situation for a futuristic reality show where the worst criminals are pitted against one another," it said.   

"Since our initial response on our forums [referring to the Steam post from Croteam, according to a Devolver rep] we’ve discussed this as a team and with our publisher and agree wholeheartedly that this content was unnecessary, should not have been included, and have removed it. We apologize for this misstep and promise to our fans that we will take more caution in our approach moving forward." 

Thanks, Polygon.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.