PUBG Corp., makers of the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, received a harsh history lesson this week.
Last Saturday the company added a “rising sun” mask to PUBG‘s in-game store. According to BBC, which reported from Korean news site Bzit, the mask was inspired by Japan’s militaristic expansion into Asia during World War II. Naturally, many people, the Chinese and Koreans especially, didn’t welcome the pilot helmet design–slapped with the infamous Rising Sun flag layout from wartime Japan–with open arms.
But that’s not all: that very Saturday a player also discovered an AI-controlled bot named Unit 731. Now, for you non-history majors, Unit 731 was a Japanese military division that killed around 10,000 prisoners of war from China, Korea, and Russia in facilities where it tested the lethality of chemical weapons.
The company said the mask wasn’t meant to be released, but has since removed both it and the bot, while claiming the fault lies with an unnamed employee.
“We apologise for causing concerns over a pilot mask item,” PUBG Corp. said in a statement. “We will conduct an overall re-examination of our image production process to prevent such a recurrence.”
While this is a welcome message to those offended, “Employee Unknown” is having a more difficult time coping with the news.
“We will enhance procedures to scrutinise game items before their release and hold the person in charge responsible,” the company concluded.
According to Bzit, the company is offering some players in-game currency as part of the apology.