Minecraft mysteriously removes references to Notch

Posted on March 29, 2019

Minecraft, the revolutionary open-world survival crafting game, was created by Markus “Notch” Persson in 2009. For the last decade, Notch’s name was all over it. On its main menu, there would be a series of splash phrases including “Made by Notch!”, “The Work of Notch!”, and “110813!” (the date that Persson got married). However,  the game’s most recent update has removed these phrases from the title screen.

It is rare for these splash phrases to be altered, with only nine having been removed in the decade or so of Minecraft’s existence. The announcement that the changes were coming was Tweeted by 4J Studios, which has worked on some of Minecraft’s console ports. However, it does not specifically state that it is the references to Notch that are being removed.

Notch sold the Minecraft license, along with his studio Mojang to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion, although Notch himself didn’t come along for the ride. Since Microsoft’s purchase, Minecraft has been continually updated and iterated upon, with spin-offs including an Education Edition for classrooms, an interactive narrative adventure developed by Telltale and even a dungeon-crawler.

Notch’s influence has not been totally erased. He is still duly credited for his work in the end credits. However, the decision to distance Minecraft from its creator is probably related to many of Notch’s many controversial statements and positions in the last few years. In particular, Notch has spouted more than a few offensive statements on social media relating to the LGBTQ+ community, feminism and race, which have not exactly endeared him to many members of the gaming community.

Notch has not actively worked on Minecraft in several years, so it probably made sense for Microsoft to publicly marginalise Minecraft’s association with him so that their product is not associated with his many toxic opinions. Considering Notch’s reputation as a controversial public figure has been cultivated for years, it’s honestly surprising Microsoft hadn’t done something like this sooner.

Microsoft has not made a public statement in relation to the removal of the splash phrases.