I’ve seriously grown tired of hearing how localised censorship is still being practiced nowadays. Nintendo’s infamy with their strict censorship rules with the NES still hasn’t left the industry as games are still being screwed around.
Not too long ago there was a hullabaloo about how Fire Emblem Fates had a scene removed, a scene that never existed in the game in the first place. Now, even more content is being removed for… no real reason but localised censorship and the out-of-hands outrage Internet culture.
Fire Emblem Fates has CERO C as its rating (15 years and up), ESBR has given it equivalent T and looks like PEGI hasn’t given it one as of this writing. This is the highest rating that a Fire Emblem game has got, previous ones hitting PEGI 7 and 12. The content in Fire Emblem Fates is far more mature both in tone and action, but for whatever reason the game can’t be its full product in the West. It’s gimped, cut down in content and stripped of what’s supposed to be there. This is one of those moments where one has to seriously consider if they want to support such actions with money, or simply have their voice out there and condemn stripping a game of its contents.
The sensibilities of gamers haven’t changed, well, ever. They have been pushing computing technology forwards for sure. Games have also caused more controversy than anyone really cares to remember since the 1970’s with games like Death Race. Death Race is a good example, because it essentially caused similar uproar as GTA and Carmageddon did with pedestrian overrunning.
Games have never strayed away from serious matters, and overall speaking one of the most important game series in the history handled serious matters once it began to realize itself to its fullest extent; the Ultima series. Those who think that games are just now becoming a mature medium because it can tell stories in prescribed sequences and engine made cutscenes never played 80’s PC games, especially PC RPGs and Adventure games. Rather, games have not grown, but have become politicised. Slew of software out there claims to be tackle new regions in gaming, but ultimately ends up being nothing but a glorified tech demos with a political or a social message, often both. All this and forgetting the game. These cutscenes and messages are nothing but obstacles to keep the player away from the game.
Because of this, you have seen how certain section of developers have shifted their interest to remove content they themselves deem inappropriate not for the game’s or the customer’s sake, but what they regard as socially inappropriate. Censoring the petting parts and other content from Fire Emblem Fates is precisely because of these reasons, not because they would actually be inappropriate. Hell, it’s anime in style, so you’d think there’d be huge mobs rallying up against it because it gives wrong impression how women should look or other similar bullshit like that.
Personally speaking, I absolutely abhor the idea of censorship for someone’s comfort. As much as people have made a meme about living in a current year, you’d think people have already gotten over cultural differences. Fire Emblem Fates is a Japanese company done by Japanese people with Japanese sensibilities. Mucking with their product to create a conformist version for another region and culture is not only underestimating your audience, but also treating them as children who know of better. The puritanical approach some translators and localisers nowadays use has made the term localisation a term to be used in a negative fashion.
I am all for localising in its more practical terms, finding localised equivalents for jokes and the like, not changing or removing content as it seen nowadays. Actually, some people have condemned how Degica has used the term with Muv-Luv’s Kickstarter, and I do understand the concern. From what I know about the translators, they shouldn’t jump the gun and create bad localisation, but rather a solid translation.
I also get why such things would be made. It’s not uncommon to remove mature content from a game, or from a movie, to get a lower rating and expand its possible audience. Not that anyone gives two fucks about that in the stores when it comes to customers, they’ll buy whatever they want despite the age limit there, or ask somebody older to get it for them. It’s all about marketing and politics, two things the gaming customer doesn’t give two shit about. Well, marketing hits them, but people play games to get away from politics and other real life shit they don’t want to deal with.
Just let the people have their waifu petting minigames. Games allow some of our fantasies to become faux-reality. Anime style is already regarded as something that’s not just naughty, but downright filled with fetishes. It doesn’t appeal to a wide audience, and Fire Emblem itself is a small niche. Further removing and censoring a game that has mostly an audience that fits the age range is downright patronising. It’d be better just to get the Japanese version and find a way to get that fan-translated version on your 3DS. You’ll be getting a better translation and all the content the game has.
Censorship is bullshit, and I’m tired of it. If you consider games as art, you should be infuriated by the idea of art being censored rather than appreciated. If you don’t, you still should be infuriated because a product has been censored due all the reasons mentioned above and then some. The best censorship is when the citizens themselves censor each other and pushing the ideas and matters beneficial for the government or other body in power. I would rather see games showcasing any and all matters than have them removed. I don’t need to like all of them, but hey, I’m already selecting not to purchase certain products. We’re all reasonable human beings who can select themselves what we can handle. If we’re mistaken, well then we just need to toughen up and take it as an experience.
I don’t care what sort of content is being removed in the name of localisation. If it’s there, don’t go and take a knife at it. You’re neutering your own product.