Microsoft has removed a trio of references to Markus “Notch” Persson, the original creator of , from the game’s opening menu screen. Random messages known as “splash text” are printed in yellow on this screen, and they used to include “Made by Notch!”, “The Work of Notch”, and “110813!” (a reference to the day Persson got married), but now all three mentions are gone.
Persson first released the blocky building game in 2009. Five years later, after the game had become a global smash hit, he sold his company Mojang to Microsoft for $2.5 billion, giving Redmond ownership of . The references to Notch have remained a feature until their removal in this latest patch. They’re reported to have been removed both from the original Java edition played on PCs and the legacy console edition used on PlayStation 4.
No official rationale has been offered for the change, but Persson has become something of a polarizing figure on Twitter. Recent tweets include such family-friendly fodder as “I’d rather be a fascist cunt than have a feminine dick,” (since deleted) and endorsements of both the Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracy theories. He’s also propagated the false claim that people face fines for “using the wrong pronouns” to refer to trans people. Additionally, Persson has also offered a range of racial commentary, such as “It’s ok to be white“, and he’s said that anyone who recognizes systemic racial biases and imbalance within Western society is racist.
Such messages are at odds with E-for-everyone rating, so it’s perhaps not altogether surprising to see Microsoft trying to distance itself from the game’s original developer. Right-wing conspiracy theories and sweary outbursts probably aren’t things that Microsoft wants players to find should they search the Web for things they’ve seen in the game.