The Secret World's Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos has just posted an explanation for last week's mankinigate episode. As we reported on April 4th, a mankini outfit for male characters was added to the game's cash shop as part of the April Fools' Day patch but was later removed from that shop and from those who had purchased it, with no reason given. Today, Bylos told forumgoers that the mankini wearables were always intended to be a limited-availability April Fools joke and that players were meant to keep them. But...
Funcom management feels strongly that the Mankini outfit goes against what The Secret World intellectual property (IP) is all about and they did not want this item to stay in the game permanently. We all agree on the fact that The Secret World should be the best urban contemporary horror MMO out there, and they want to make sure that everything we bring into the game stays true to the setting and the atmosphere we have created – however it is safe to say that there is sometimes disagreement on nuance. For that reason, Management made the decision to pull it from the game entirely.
While he disagrees with purging the gear from those who bought it, he stresses that it was "pulled due to concerns over the integrity of the IP, not because of the gender or skimpiness of the outfit." The female wetsuit has also been removed from the store but will remain wearable by those who purchased it.

[With thanks to tipster Snurx! We've included Bylos' entire post after the cut.]

Here's the complete text of the post:
Many of you have been asking why we decided to pull the Mankini outfit on Friday last week, and I understand some of you have been very frustrated by that decision. I have been avoiding commenting until I could be sure I had spoken with all involved and gotten all the information correct.

To be clear: the Mankini outfit (and the wetsuit) was definitely an April Fool's joke, and it was always my intention to have them be available for a limited time only in the store. However, it was never my intention to pull them from players who actually bought these items.

Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between my team and Funcom management on how this was to be handled. Funcom management feels strongly that the Mankini outfit goes against what The Secret World intellectual property (IP) is all about and they did not want this item to stay in the game permanently. We all agree on the fact that The Secret World should be the best urban contemporary horror MMO out there, and they want to make sure that everything we bring into the game stays true to the setting and the atmosphere we have created – however it is safe to say that there is sometimes disagreement on nuance.

For that reason, Management made the decision to pull it from the game entirely.

I do not think we should have pulled it from those of you who had already purchased it. I have made that very clear, and I have also voiced your opinions to everyone involved. I am making sure we take every step necessary to make sure we do not end up in a similar situation again.

The wetsuit has also been removed from the store, as planned, but we are not going to remove it from those of you who already own it. However, if you wish to be refunded, please do contact our customer service for assistance.

The Gender Equality outfits were supposed to be a commentary about poor choices in the past and our commitment to being a better company in the future. The item was pulled due to concerns over the integrity of the IP - not because of the gender or skimpiness of the outfit. Let me reassure everybody that we take gender issues seriously (the entire point of the April Fool's joke was to make fun of ourselves and respond to some comments that you have made in the past in a lighthearted way)

We all apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. I hope that this has explained the situation to you all, and reassures you that we won't allow anything like this to occur in the future.

Joel

This article was originally published on Massively.