In an odd surprise, players of Obsidian's newly launched RPG The Outer Worlds have discovered that the game features a surprisingly robust language filter for its custom name field during character creation. More than that, the filter appears to be censoring a spectrum of words that could be considered excessive, including both general religious and LGBT terms. Fans are left questioning why The Outer Worlds is censoring names in a single-player game in the first place, as well as why the filter seems so specialized.

The vast majority of the words that are censored appear to be hateful slurs, both in English and other languages. But some of the words caught up in the filter are generic terms that seem excessive. For example, LGBT terms like "gay," "homosexual," and "trans" are all filtered. Other general examples include the words "race," "Muslim," and "Pakistani." The filter appears to censor general terms for communities that are targets of harassment, but to an extent that's rare in video games anymore.

While Obsidian and its publisher Private Division haven't commented on the inclusion of a filter for character names, the reasoning behind it is likely obvious. A single-player game having a filter is only silly when choosing to ignore the reality of modern streaming and screenshots. It's not uncommon to see posts on Reddit and social media showing off interesting characters made in any given game's custom character creator, whether it's Dark Souls or The Outer Worlds. Obsidian or Private Division must have viewed this as a risk that wasn't worth having to deal with.

Of course, that just brings up the argument that any sort of basic filtering is ultimately impotent. Any word can be altered in small or large ways so as to bypass language filters, particularly by someone willing to go out of their way to do something offensive in the first place. And in the process censor terms that can be perceived as targeting victims as well as harassers. Nevermind how the choice of terms to censor lends the decision an odd political slant to the profanity filter.

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Overall the list of censored terms in The Outer Worlds stretches to at least around 500 words, but is probably even longer. Most, if not virtually all, players will never even realize it's there. And even those made aware of the filter are unlikely to care too much about its existence. After all, it's a character name for a single-player game. It's unlikely that Obsidian will ever even address the inclusion of the list. But at the same time, it's intriguing that it was added, and certainly a sign of the times that it exists.

The Outer Worlds is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Source: Reddit