Valve has offered a steady reveal of Artifact cards over the past several days, but one of those reveals came with some extremely unfortunate connotations. Thankfully, the developers have already confirmed that the card – originally titled Crack the Whip – will now be called Coordinated Assault, after a wave of criticism about the original title’s implied (though admittedly accidental) racism.
Coordinated Assault reads “modify a black hero with ‘after you play a black card, give this hero and its allied neighbors +2 Attack this round.’” In the purely abstract terms of gameplay, that’s fine – Artifact cards are categorized by colour, and heroes are no exception.
But having a card titled Crack the Whip take effect exclusively on “black heroes” conjures some very racist imagery. The connotations may have escaped Valve’s attention, but they weren’t missed on social media – there was an understandable bout of controversy following the reveal that, thankfully, Valve has now addressed.
Valve Tweets “we changed the name of Crack the Whip to Coordinated Assault.” The company doesn’t offer any further explanation for the change, but none is really required here.
You can see the original card below.
This card packs a big punch immediately and then keeps on punching. When you play Crack the Whip, it triggers once right after it’s played. If you play an Untested Grunt next to the whipped hero it will trigger again, and the Grunt will receive the bonus. pic.twitter.com/qXflFpdOZb
— Artifact (@PlayArtifact) September 26, 2018
The Artifact release date is set for November. Hopefully we won’t need to see any similarly urgent name changes in the weeks leading up to launch.