Star Ocean 5 Producer Talks Censorship, Localization Challenges and More
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness producer has said that the issue of censorship in the West is mainly down to ratings and can also come down to cultural differences. In a recent interview with GameSpot, Shuichi Kobayashi was asked about his thoughts on visual changes made to Western releases of Japanese games, to which he said:
It’s fundamentally just a ratings issue. But as for Star Ocean, it’s not that different–it’s unfortunate that a lot of people took the change in a bigger way than intended and interpreted things in a way that haven’t actually happened. But the game hasn’t changed, and the size [of the character’s underwear] hasn’t really changed, it’s really not that different than what was originally created. The essence of the game is not that part, and I really want players to not focus on that, but the rest of the gameplay. The Japanese rating system is different from that in the West and that is why these changes have to happen. Rating checks and submissions happen after most of the game is finished, so it’s inevitable that changes occur after some things are done. That’s why we had to make that kind of change this time, but it’s not that different, as much as people want to make it sound that way.
Kobayashi then went on to say that certain gestures can mean different things in different cultures, requiring amendments:
Going off the difference in ratings, even gestures and hand signs are really different from culture to culture. For instance, in Star Ocean 5, when you first meet Relia, Miki pats her head to reassure her. In Japan that a reassuring motion, like what you do to little kids. But in some countries it was not taken that way, so that’s been changed in the game to fit the different cultures. It was picked up during QA, and we changed it.
Elsewhere in the interview, Kobayashi expressed his concerns about the dwindling console market in Japan, which he considers “dangerous” for Square Enix. He said that although it owns big titles like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts, a lot of the company’s IPs seem to be falling in the casual line.
You can read the full interview by following the source link below.
As for Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, the game will release for the PlayStation 4 on June 28 in North America and July 1 in Europe. For those who are interested, folks over at Polygon have published over an hour of new gameplay, which you can check out here.