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Censorship and Changes in Video Games

Discussion in 'Mature Discussion' started by Desert Warrior, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Desert Warrior

    Desert Warrior Well-Known Member

    No idea if this thread has popped up before, but here it is now.

    Anyways, the title is rather self-explanatory. Should video games be censored due to whatever reason? More importantly, should a game made in another country (Let's be honest, the basis of this thread is about video games from Japan; more on that later) be changed because there are aspects of said game that some might find offensive? Should you be forced to play a game differently than the creators intended due to somebody else thinking they know better than you do? What if the removed content was something optional?

    My first example is not the cause of this thread, but due to being a KH/Square Enix based site I figured I should start with it. Final Fantasy VII. In the original PS1 release, there is a part of the game on disk 1 where Cloud is required to cross-dress in order to infiltrate a mansion and rescue Tifa. Depending on how the player gathers the cross-dressing stuff and options made, there is a part that has some people who are very much a gay stereotype. Almost offensively so if I'm remembering correctly since I think the scene implies that Cloud gets molested by those men. Furthermore, if the player does everything correctly the owner of the mansion will choose Cloud to be his concubine for the night instead of Tifa or Aerith (Yes, I'm using Aerith and not Aeris).

    With the general mindset of what is considered offensive today, this part of FFVII is probably considered super offensive. Logically, Square Enix might consider taking that part out of the upcoming remake on PS4. But should they? I've seen 8 minute or longer videos detailing why it is important to keep that scene in the game (Long story short, it shows Cloud as more than the depressive emo-type his character has derailed into). Whether they should remove the part or not, I have heard that Square Enix had announced they will keep the part of the game in. I haven't looked for any sources to confirm this (Due to being too lazy), but I do hope it is true.

    Moving onto the basis of this thread. Fire Emblem Fates has recently been released here in America. Unfortunately it has come under heavy criticism from the fanbase due to the changes that have been made. The part of these changes that has come under the most scrutiny was one minor feature that was removed for the American release. In the original Japanese version, there was a part where you could use your 3DS stylus to interact with your character's spouse. Specifically you could pet their head with that feature. A little creepy? Sure, I would agree. But as a friend has mentioned to me before, it is an optional piece of gameplay. It has zero effect on the story and nobody is forced to do it.

    Other changes made to the game were character names. Some characters were given more western names that might fit better with the theme. Also they removed the dual audio in the game, so people who wanted to play with the original Japanese voices were stuck with the English voices.

    Now, initially I didn't mind these changes. I figured "so what?" But I've learned more lately that has changed my mind. The game has undergone many more changes than I initially thought and they are incredibly stupid. For starters, the names. For those who are unaware, the background of the game is basically Europe vs. Japan. As such, the characters from the Europe expy were given more western names. But plenty of them already had pretty western names already. To further change them is, to me, stupid and pointless.

    In addition to removing the "petting" feature and changing character's names, the translation team has changed or removed some other content. In the Fire Emblem series, one of the extra parts of the games are support conversations. These conversations are special interactions between two characters that gives players a chance to see a character's past or parts about them that the player may not witness during the story. The translation team for Fire Emblem Fates have changed these support conversations, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. The best example I can think of is one support conversation where, in the Japanese version, two assassins meet and talk about the other. Here is that conversation in the English version. Better yet, here are both conversations, side by side.

    Unfortunately, there is more changed content than that. I kinda want to include it in this post, but I suppose that can be for later in the discussion. Also, this thread is meant to be all inclusive and not necessarily a debate on how badly the translation team screwed up this new Fire Emblem.
    Kitty likes this.
  2. Kitty

    Kitty I Survived The BG Massacre Staff Member Administrator

    Generally, I don't think games should be censored. If content is potentially objectionable, the game can advertise that fact and let gamers choose whether or not they want to play it. People need to take responsibility for themselves rather than ruin the fun of everyone else.

    With regards to games made in other countries being imported, I think there may be concepts that don't translate well between cultures that may need a work around, or some more context to make sense. I'm okay with names being Westernized (but then, I can hardly figure out how to pronounce some of them even with that, so... *shrugs*), and a strict translation of dialogue might not make sense when going from Japanese to English, so I'd be okay with some changes as long as both games were basically meaning the same thing. But changing too much could drastically change the intended themes, etc, and I don't think that would be a good idea, especially if it is dumbing down the game or taking away options. It reminds me of some of the problems I remember from my preteen idolizing of Sailor Moon- how ridiculously obvious it was that the North American translators were butchering characters and chopping up entire episodes to hide the gay or lessen the "violence". That's ridiculous, and does a disservice to the fans. Plus, you can usually tell what they were trying to hide, anyway, which makes it pointless. Looking at your link of the support conversation in Fire Emblem Fates, the difference is really appalling. That's a lot of backstory/character development being lost, and for the US version to just leave it blank?! I don't know if they were trying to do something clever, but no. What a waste.

    About FFVII, I'm personally fine with the crossdressing, which was basically just a pretty typical finding-and-gathering mission, that just so happened to take place in a brothel. I don't think "dude dresses like a chick to get information out of a scumbag rich mobster" is inherently offensive to anyone. And any sexual overtones involved with the Don picking a "date", well, the game is rated T for a reason. The Mukki scenes, though, I could certainly see people being offended by those, both because of the blatant stereotypes, and the implications of sexual assault, although I think that the scenes were vague enough that S-E could probably get away with saying that that wasn't what they were intending. When I played the game, I looked on these scenes as weird, but funny, rather than offensive. It was just more of the ridiculousness common in VII, like Cloud riding a dolphin, or Red XIII passing himself off as a human Shinra soldier. It's all part of the game's charm, and I would advocate leaving as much from the original in the remake as possible. In a remake, I think S-E could do some slight rewording to make it clear our hero wasn't drugged and raped, or ganged up on in a bath tub and molested, and the scenes would play fine with minimal people getting their panties in a bunch, if it is a concern.

    For your laziness: here's an article with Nomura in June 2015 telling gamers to "please look forward" to seeing Cloud in a dress, so it would appear you heard right.
    Desert Warrior likes this.
  3. Desert Warrior

    Desert Warrior Well-Known Member

    Exactly. But, as my friend likes to put it, it is censorship on the grounds of "I know better than you, therefore I'm removing this aspect."

    Certainly. To kinda quote something I heard before, translating Japanese to English is more of an art than a science. So certain forms of dialogue need to be changed in order to fit better with the language they are translating to. But when this is being done, people should try to keep the original theme behind it and keep it as close to original as possible.

    As for names, I don't mind too much. I can understand having some names be changed to things that are more familiar or easier to pronounce. But using my Fire Emblem example, there is a problem when you change a character's fairly western name to a different western name. Case in point: One character in the Japanese version was named Marx. They changed it to Xander. It doesn't make sense why they would do that.

    No kidding. Reminds me of this one video I saw of Pokemon and how 4kids changed it for the west. And it was such a strange change. Basically in Japan, some episodes of Pokemon would have a rice ball for somebody to eat (And then it gets stolen or dropped or something). But for the western dub the rice balls would be changed to some other form of food, ranging from a doughnut to a sandwich. Why would people bother making such a change? It doesn't make sense.

    That's just the start of wasteful things. They shortened marriage dialogs and even completely changed some character's personalities. Some characters had a whole 180 done on their personality.

    I would assume it was the hard gay characters that people would find offensive. Though given how people today are, I'm certain somebody would argue that this part of FFVII is somehow ridiculing or otherwise marginalizing and insulting those who cross-dress.

    Shame nobody pays attention to ratings anyways. Hell, I remember being young and going for things that were rated above my age cuz they were cool and I wanted them (First Spider-Man movie was PG-13 and I think I was 11 or 12 when I saw it).

    That's the thing. I feel as though most people, when they play these things, don't even think about any unfortunate implications. They might think that it is funny and move on. But the way today's society is, I feel that we've been forced to recognize these things because the amount of times somebody points out something for being offensive has increased quite a lot since I was a kid.

    Thank you.
    Kitty likes this.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty I Survived The BG Massacre Staff Member Administrator

    I agree, especially with the statement in bold. The intent is important- are you making changes so that other audiences are better able to understand and enjoy the story you set out to tell, or are you changing things to avoid the censors or angry parents?

    I'd agree that seems pointless.

    Changes like that are actually kind of disrespectful, when you think about it. Seems a little like white-washing. And it's stupid- I think kids (and adults) could benefit from being exposed to other cultures. Even something as relatively unimportant as food helps with diversity. Plus, what a waste of time and resources, to change something so meaningless.

    To me, that's unacceptable. There should be no good reason why a character would need a 180 personality transplant between translations. Have the people in charge tried to explain it?

    I feel like we live in a society now where everyone wants to be offended about something. I don't hold with using "I'm not PC" as an excuse to be blatantly prejudiced about something, but some people need to just chill, in my opinion. Also, I think attitudes have shifted a lot even in the few years since the game was first released (I think in '97; too lazy to look it up), which is something people playing either version of the game today for the first time would just have to accept. You can watch a movie from back in the day and realize how racist it was, but that doesn't mean it still might not have good things going for it and be worth a watch. Same thing for FFVII, I think.

    I'm not sure how much of an issue this all will be for FFVII, though. I suppose it depends on who the audience ends up being. If the game is mostly purchased by Final Fantasy fans who loved the game when it was originally released, I don't see there being a huge fuss made of its insensitivity. Fans will surely have other things to nitpick and rant about. Most comments I've seen (on the few articles I looked at the other day, anyhow) from fans seemed to express that they'd be disappointed if the cross-dressing stuff was cut from the game, rather than offended by it being included.

    Lol, I do pay attention to ratings. I don't always abide by them (whether for myself when I was younger, or for my nephew now), but I at the least look at why the rating was given. If other people don't bother, than they deserve to get sideswiped by something they get offended by.

    You're welcome. I suppose, technically, you could take Nomura's answer as more ambiguous, a sort of "look forward to finding out if the scene made it in or not", and I was too lazy to look for more confirmation, but my guess would be that the scene would stay, regardless, so I'm interpreting it that way. :)
    Desert Warrior likes this.
  5. Desert Warrior

    Desert Warrior Well-Known Member

    Well the general consensus is that 4kids was a terrible dubbing company. I think they're out of business now. Not sure.

    No clue. I would have to ask my friend. My guess is that the translation team is simply ignoring every complaint aimed at them for their translation.

    That's the problem. People have become much more sensitive to these things than they were years back and I feel that it may do more harm than good.

    It's not the fans I'm worried about. I'm already expecting tons of complaints from them when this remake doesn't live up to expectations. No, what I'm worried about it somebody else who isn't a fan manages to force changes to make it appear less offensive to everybody and cause content to be cut from the game.

    Indeed they do. Sadly today's society seems to disagree.

    Yeah. I'm just gonna hope me means the scene will be there.

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