Persona 5 Royal Will Change Original Game’s Homophobic Scenes in its Western Release

The Persona series has often been the subject of pointed criticisms regarding its treatment of marginalized characters. Persona 5 had a few scenes that a number of fans argued were offensive and homophobic in nature, painting two effeminate male and arguably homosexual characters in a painfully aggressive and negative light. The Persona 5 Royal homophobic scenes will be getting some changes in the localized Western release to “make it right.”

Atlus Communications Manager Ari Advincula talked to IGN at a recent Person 5 Royale hands-on event, where they asked about the original fan response to the insensitive scenes and if anything was being done in the re-release. Advinacula explained that dialog in a number of scenes would be changed based on poor reception from the original release. She specifically called out two scenes in which Ryuji first meets the two characters and a subsequent beach scene later in the game, both of which have been criticized for making the two characters sexually aggressive towards a minor and portraying the homosexual men as “intentionally ridiculous” for the sake of a joke. Ryuji’s response to them was also criticized for being equally aggressive and insensitive.

In localization and re-release with this new version of Persona 5, Atlus now has the opportunity to fix some of those areas of criticism. “We actually were able to go through some of the lines that players may not have received as well, look at that feedback, and then [update it] for the current generation,” Advincula told IGN. Atlus hasn’t detailed exactly how the scenes or dialog will be changed in localization, but scenes like these are the primary focus of the localization team’s internal content review team.

“[It’s] a chance to make it right,” she said, explaining that creating discussion around these scenes was one of the first things she approached when she joined the communications team. “That’s really important to me, and I think it’s really important to the community as well.”

Person 5 Royal Homophobic Scenes Changes

According to a report from GameSpot, the changes being made aren’t inherent to the game itself, but just to the localization of the dialog. The scenes will remain in the game as-is, with the localization teams updating the dialog for its Western release. Senior project manager Yu Namba said, “As a localization manager, I really cannot do too much about what has already made it into the game. Our team members felt a little bit of awkwardness about when working on it. And with Royal, we were determined to see if we could do something about it at least localization-wise.”

It’s far from an easy task to just change some dialog, however. Namba detailed some of the difficulties in making those changes. “On our end, it took a lot of effort consulting not just the production department, but talking with our marketing, and how they would feel about it if we changed how things were in Persona 5 to this new way—what would the public reception be, what the company would think, whether it would be okay if we do make the change.”

Namba continued with additional details on how exactly the scenes are being altered, “It’s not a significant change, but I think there’s enough of a change that people who weren’t comfortable going through that part in Persona 5 would feel better this time around. In Royal—I don’t want to say we made it mild—but we made it [as if they’re] being very strong enthusiasts for something they like doing. But it’s not like they’re on the hunt for some young boys or anything.” It sounds like the two characters will still be “over-the-top” in some manner, but will no longer be presented as sexually aggressive towards Ryuji. Namba didn’t mention if Ryuji’s response to them would be updated as well.

The changes to the scenes are only being made to the Western localization of Persona 5 Royal. The original Persona 5, as well as the Japanese Royal release dialog, remain unaltered. Persona 5 Royal hits the West on March 31. You can preorder the steelbook launch edition on Amazon now for $60. If you still haven’t played the original, it’s only $16.

[Source: IGN, GameSpot]

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