Welcome to the Censored Gaming Recap! In these articles, we take a look back at all of the latest happenings in the world of censorship and then round them up in a special weekly feature.
This time sees, again, another game being refused a rating over in Germany, as well as news about the upcoming South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Tekken 7 and much more.
To move straight to the title deemed too hot for Germany, Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni has been refused a rating by the German USK rating system.
The game is from the same creator as the Senran Kagura’s series and plays and looks very similar to the Senran Kagura games.
The Australian decision was due to concern over what is being described as “sexual violence”. Germany, on the other hand, has highlighted that certain characters appear to look younger than 18 years old and that this, in combination with the sexual situations, means it’s not suitable for a release.
The very same reasoning was given for why Criminal Girls 2 was refused a rating over in Germany.
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni will coming to the PlayStation Vita in the US and the rest of Europe September 16th.
Not everything in Germany has been so negative though. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition has been revealed to be getting a completely uncensored German release.
In most of the world, the game was released for Xbox One last year, with a Steam version then following shortly after. In Germany though, the title has not been released at all.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a remake of 2006’s Gears of War, and you may recall that the 2006 release was recently removed from Germany’s List of Media Harmful to Young People. The original being placed on this controversial list is what stopped a release. But now, with it being removed, Microsoft Game Studios has taken the opportunity to at last see the game released in the German market.
German players will be able to pick the game up on both Xbox One and Steam September 2nd.
Next up is some changes that have been made to the popular mobile card game Shadowverse, by Japanese developer Cygames.
Multiple updates have been made to the title that has removed content that could be seen as provocative. This has affected all regions with the exception of the original Japanese version.
The first of these edits was an alteration made to the artwork for the character Isabelle. In the Western versions, she now has her cleavage hidden by some extra clothing.
After this came another update which, this time, renamed multiple cards containing the name “Satan.” The card simply titled “Satan” has been changed to “Prince of Darkness” and “Satan’s Servant” to “Servant of Darkness”. In this case, it’s a possibility that there was some concern over religious sensitivity and the differing attitudes towards this in Western culture.
However, there has been no official explanation for these changes and, again, they have only been made to the non-Japanese versions.
Moving on to South Park: The Fractured but Whole, the upcoming RPG is a sequel to 2014’s The Stick of Truth. The first game was heavily censored in most parts of the world, although the German version had some special censorship that was not seen anywhere else.
In the German versions of The Stick of Truth, all Nazi-related imagery was blocked off by big, black boxes. Yes, literally just black boxes covering everything up, things like swastikas, the infamous Nazi salute and so on. This is due to German law preventing the depiction of Nazis in video games.
To bring things back to the present though, with the new The Fractured but Whole, news has surfaced that Nazi-related themes are set to be making a comeback. This, of course, means that censorship in the German version is extremely likely. If any of the prohibited elements, such as swastikas, are contained in the sequel, then it will be a legal requirement to remove them for a German release.
South Park will be returning to consoles and PC December 6th worldwide.
In a now deleted tweet from July, the producer replied to a question asking if the swimsuit outfits would be available outside of Japan with “Ask your country’s SJWs. HAHAHAHAHA”.
They have now clarified the situation and explained that, as the swimsuits have passed each country’s rating procedures, they want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy them. This means that it looks like they’re going to be seeing a release after all.
Also during the interview, Harada speaks very critically of internet criticism culture and how easily people get offended nowadays. One quote, for example, explicitly states that there are many things that developers can’t put in games anymore, out of fear of backlash.
“Recently there are lines, I guess more than in the past. Before, it was a niche crowd, people who liked video games as a whole, but at the time when they were still largely created in Japan it was pretty much anything goes, made by the Japanese and their sensibilities.
“But now it’s enjoyed by a much wider audience, it’s easier for outsiders to say that game’s content is not good for a particular group or ethnicity or country or religion or anything. So, in that regard there are a lot more lines that we can’t cross any more, I guess you could say.”
Tekken 7 will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year.