Forza Horizon 5 has been lauded for its technical excellence and Playground Games’ commitment to inclusivity, but fans have found some non-Anglo-Saxon or European names are being blocked by the game’s world filter.
Today, Microsoft told Eurogamer it was working on a fix.
Osama Dorias, a game designer at WB Games Montreal, found he was unable to add his name to the in-game number plate because it contained “inappropriate content”.
Oh no, it appears that my name is inappropriate content. ?
— Osama Dorias (@osamadorias) November 9, 2021
Nazih Fares, head of localization and communications at The 4 Winds Entertainment, received the same message when trying to add his name to the number plate.
Oh why am I not surprised @WeArePlayground
The eternal curse of not being allowed to use my legal name will forever hunt me. pic.twitter.com/wtoWWY6YJ4
— ????? ????? ? ???? ???? (@nazihfares) November 9, 2021
Both players’ names appear to have fallen foul of Forza’s Enforcement Guidelines, which bans “user generated content” content containing “profanity or other offensive terms or gestures: This includes phrases such as “FTP,” “ACAB,” “CIP,” and other abbreviations”.
Ironically, Forza’s mission statement is “To preserve and promote a safe, secure, inclusive and enjoyable experience for all Forza Community members, and provide offenders a chance to change their behaviour following enforcement action.”
But, to state the obvious, Forza’s policy in this instance restricts the inclusivity of some ethnic minorities’ names. And it’s especially disappointing to players (like myself) who won’t find their name in the list of approved names which the game’s AI and voice actors call out in-game.
“We are aware and are working on a fix to evolve and adjust our content moderation,” a Microsoft spokesperson told me today.
Of course, it’s unreasonable to expect Playground Games to include every single name to ever exist for voiceovers, but at the very least those players should be able to personalise other aspects of the game with their own identity.
This isn’t a new issue with Forza either, with players calling this issue out in previous titles, and it’s a shame this issue has persisted, especially in the context of Playground Games’ other measures to increase inclusivity, like adding prosthetic limbs and non-binary gender terms in character customisation, and the upcoming addition of sign language support.