Spider-Man: Remastered markets itself as a realistic look at New York City in game form, punched up with superheroes and monsters. As always, though, there are some that want to reduce the city’s vibrancy for bigoted reasons. This weekend, shortly after its release on PC, the game was the focus of a mod called “Non-Newtonian New York”, which removed all of the game’s (relatively few) Pride flags, calling them “stupid” in its description.
The mod eluded content moderators at first because it designated “prisms”, rather than Pride flags specifically, to be swapped out. The result was the same, however: every rainbow surface in the game, including Pride flags, was replaced with the US flag.
Modding sites noticed and banned the user, including Mod DB, which cited a “zero-tolerance policy” for content that targets marginalized groups. In a blog post, NexusMods, another large modding site, took a strong stance against subsequent backlash against the ban, noting “If we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it,” and adding “We don’t want to and won’t argue this with you.”
Hi! We’ve removed the content and banned the users. ModDB is an inclusive environment for all and we do not permit targeting marginalised groups. Our content moderation is largely automated but when identified, we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of content. https://t.co/0leqjUxqJD
— ModDB (@ModDB) August 17, 2022
Several days on, it seems like the purpose of the original mod has backfired entirely. Another mod called “Colorful New York” swaps every US flag in the game with the Pride flag, painting rainbows across every building in the city with the stars and stripes on it (and there are a lot of them).