In response to the leak of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent for abortion rights in the United States, the New York Times has changed today’s wordle answer from “fetus” to a new solution for as many users as possible, according to a statement from the company.
Josh Wardle, the game’s creator, had set forth future responses like this well before the NYT’s acquisition of his game or the leak of the Supreme Court’s unprecedented ruling. The NYT statement insists that “at the New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.”
However, many users can still come across the original puzzle. The new solution will only be present if the user has updated the browser tab since the NYT made the change last week, not always a given when many players just keep a tab with the game open.
“Because of current Wordle technology, it can be difficult to change words that have already been loaded into the game,” explains the NYT. “When we found out last week that this particular word would be featured today, we swapped it out for as many solvers as possible.”
The NYT has certainly been put in an awkward position by today’s puzzle, with a long-feared reversal of a human right in the United States being the last thing anyone wants to think about when loading up their favorite little puzzle game.
I think the company made the right choice here, for what it’s worth. In the same way that Blizzard had to change an Overwatch character’s name who was initially named to an allegedly abusive senior employee at the company, I don’t think there was any better option here.
After the Supreme Court ruling was leaked, high-profile developers like Double Fine and Bungie voiced opposition to the decision and support for abortion rights, with Bungie encouraging followers to donate to a selection of pro-choice organizations: