A non-player character in Sega MMO Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis has undergone a name change with scheduled maintenance this week. The black and brown member of the former CAST robotic race known as “Diggah” will henceforth be known as “Excator”.
Brought to our attention initially by Joe “Kongablooey” Negron on Twitter, Diggah was originally the name of a character who was not a player in the recently released Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis responsible for distributing mining missions to players. It introduces players to Dualomite, a rare violent mineral used to upgrade equipment in the massive online multiplayer game.
The name Diggah is not intrinsically offensive, but it is just a letter away from a very bad word. It is doubtful that the name was offensive, since it is basically the English version of the character’s original Japanese name, Dighoru (basically Digger). However, combined with the relatively unique coloration of the CAST and the fact that it requires players to find Dualomite, that sounds very similar to 70’s blaxploitation comedy movie Dolemite, it’s easy to see how the name can be considered quite damaging offensively.
In a post about name change on the Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis Reddit group, some players lamenting the renaming, while others wonder why it was necessary in the first place.
The name change happened quietly with this week’s patch, listed below update notes such as “Correct NPC names that were determined to be inappropriate as character names.” So far it seems that Diggah is the only name changed. We touched on Sega to comment on the name exchange, but we still didn’t hear it.