Censorship in video games is nothing new. We’ve seen it in games like Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem 3D, The Last of Us, and Silent Hill: Homecoming, among others. We recently discussed the censorship in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, where articles of clothing were altered prior to a western release.
GameSpot recently interviewed Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE producer Hitoshi Yamagami about the controversy behind certain localization decisions, which you can read below.
“GameSpot: A portion of the Western audience that appreciates Japanese games become very upset when any content in a game is altered during the localization process, regardless of how big or small the detail may be. When adapting a game for Western markets, does that affect how you go about designing some elements? Or do you ever feel like you have to strip away things that are central to the game’s identity or purpose, just to make it a viable product outside of Japan?
Hitoshi Yamagami: Each country has its unique culture and taste. There are times when common sense in one country can be thoughtlessness in another. However, if we create a game with only that common sense that causes no problems in any of the countries, it can be a very boring game.
From among the various complex tastes of people worldwide, the developer selects settings and characters that appeal to as many people as possible. That being said, it is true that as we build up the settings and characters, we are sometimes obliged to change something in part of the game. This optimization does not destroy the identity of what we as developers want to convey. Developers would not accept such drastic changes. The changes made during localization are optimizations intended to bring to as many customers as possible the things that we want to convey. No major changes are made that would change what we want to convey.”
While it doesn’t personally bother me that some articles of clothing were altered, I could see why some would argue that it ruins the original vision of the creator. As long as the main message that the developers want to convey isn’t changed, I’m fine with it.
What are your thoughts on such localization changes? Let us know in the comments below!