Minecraft has been updated to remove most of its references to original creator Markus “Notch” Persson from the main menu of the game, via Eurogamer.
The main menu of Minecraft has long been home to a series of rotating phrases of splash text on the top right-hand corner of the logo, which include hundreds of different jokes, catchphrases, and references. But the most recent update to the game has tellingly removed three splash text phrases from the game: “Made by Notch!,” “The Work of Notch!,” and “110813!” (the date that Persson got married).
A tweet from 4J Studios, which develops some of the console ports of Minecraft, previously confirmed that changes were being made to splash texts, but didn’t say which changes would be made:
A small update for Minecraft: Console Editions will be rolling out over the next few days to make some changes to splash text.— 4J Studios (@4JStudios) March 19, 2019
As Polygon notes, it’s the second largest batch of phrases to ever be removed from the game — only nine other splash text phrases have been removed from Minecraft during its nearly decade-long history.
Persson famously sold the entirety of Minecraft (along with his studio, Mojang) to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion, although Persson did not join Microsoft as part of the purchase. In the interim years, Microsoft has continued to grow Minecraft as a family-friendly brand, complete with a Minecraft: Education Edition for schools and the interactive Minecraft: Story Mode game (which has even made its way to Netflix as a quasi-kids show).
Persson, on the other hand, has become an increasingly polarizing figure, tweeting offensive statements regarding race, the LGBTQ community, gender, and other topics. Given the controversy surrounding Persson, coupled with the fact that he has no real involvement in the current affairs of the title, it’s easy to speculate that Microsoft would be looking to distance itself from Persson, especially given the massive young audience that Minecraft has and the cultural impact of the game. Persson is still listed in Minecraft in the game’s credits, although it’s a far less prominent placement than the main menu references that have now been removed.
Microsoft refused to comment when asked about the recent changes to Minecraft.