Valve have responded to some raised eyebrows regarding a recently revealed card for their upcoming game Artifact by changing its name. What was once called ‘Crack The Whip’ will now become ‘Coordinated Assault’ to avoid connotations of slavery and racism when considered alongside the card’s text, which begins "modify a black hero."
To be clear, ‘black’ cards do not refer to race, but are a gameplay classification alongside blue, green, and red. Nonetheless, Valve clearly agrees that it carried unfortunate implications and have adjusted it accordingly.
Valve's Tweet announcing the card received a handful of feedback questioning the associations that came along with it. Alongside several reaction gifs and memes, the top response, from @MattFrasche, reads in part “You should REALLY change the name of this card. Having a card called "Crack The Whip" that says it modifies black heroes is not a good look, especially out of context.”
Others were concerned that the card could be willfully misused, which doesn’t seem especially unlikely considering the propensity of Twitch chat to twist otherwise innocuous things to their own, rather less innocuous ends. Take, for example, the ways in which people use the TriHard emote, which features a black man, Mychal “Trihex” Jefferson.
Valve’s response is low key in turn, simply reading “Crack The Whip has been renamed to Coordinated Assault.” The card’s art, which features a blue and white kobold wielding a whip over similar fighters, does not appear to have been changed.
Artifact is scheduled to release on November 28th.