It isn’t unheard of for companies to have to censor certain video games for Western audiences in order to achieve desired ratings. Recent examples include PlayStation Vita title Dungeon Travelers 2, which Atlus had to remove certain images from earlier this year in order to achieve the M rating from Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Speaking about censorship, XSEED Games’ Vice President, Ken Berry, has said in an interview with Oprainfall that while M ratings are understandable, an AO (Adult Only) game would force the company to consider censoring some content because platform holders aren’t willing to accept AO games on their platforms.
We do always try to keep the original creator’s vision in mind when we localize stuff, as long as it can be accepted in the US. The ESRB is probably more lenient than what people think because they’ve been clear to us that it isn’t their job to censor anything, it’s their job to just rate the content. So most of the time we present the content as is and they come back with an M rating, which we understand, but if they come back with an AO then we have to have some discussions about what to censor in order to get that to an M rating. Otherwise, none of the platform holders allow an AO product on their platform.
When asked how XSEED would react if it was forced to censor a game that it was localizing, Berry said that it would place the company in a “very, very difficult” position because it would be alienating its audience in order to appease those who didn’t intend to purchase the game in the first place.
That would be placing us in a very, very difficult position because censoring it would alienate the very audience that we are trying to bring the game for, while not really appeasing any of the critics that had no purchase intent in the first place. So we’d be doing a lot of extra work and going through a lot of extra trouble and pleasing nobody. So hopefully, we’re never in that position.
Berry revealed that XSEED’s localization team is quite vocal about the issue of censorship, quoting the most outspoken of the bunch, Thomas Lipschultz (Localization Specialist), as saying, “nothing should ever be censored.”
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