Game developers will have even more work to do now that China bans blood in video games. This won’t be a simple matter of changing the color of blood to green, either — blood or anything that looks like blood is now wholly verboten in the People’s Republic of China.
China has long had a penchant for somewhat overzealous censorship rules for their video games to accommodate their own cultural sensitivities. For example, skeletons and bones are much more taboo in that culture than they are in the West, leading to minor changes in games like World of Warcraft; Blizzard’s flagship MMORPG replaced the skeletons of dead characters with grave markers in order to comply with these regulations. Now that China bans blood, the regulations have become even stricter as noted on a Gamasutra Blog.
The country’s gaming authority has been dealing with a bit of a backlog for new game approvals and they’ve only recently begun catching up. They’ve also found the time to introduce some new regulations while they’ve been busy clearing the backlog. In addition to regulations where China bans blood, the gaming authority has also banned use of the word “kill”.
These and other regulations have led to frankly hilarious scenarios like the PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS reskin called Game of Peace. Game of Peace vastly tones down the violence as compared to its parent game, adds in patriotic Chinese and socialist propaganda, and includes absurd scenarios like defeated enemies getting up off of the ground and waving goodbye.
Games that were previously approved for sale in China are not necessarily safe from this regulation, either. While there is still a hefty backlog for government censors to work through, they could just as easily investigate an already-approved game and pull its license. Developers both old and new are going to have to work hard to change their graphical effects if they wish to continue doing business in a market with over 1 billion people.
I find it deeply ironic that a country is so concerned about virtual violence when they execute their criminals by shooting them in the back of the head (and then harvest their organs for good measure). China is one of the most deeply authoritarian nations on the planet, so I suppose a little more censorship in entertainment shouldn’t be surprising. Hopefully, they can be free from this mess one day.
How do you think games will be changed now that China bans blood? Do you think developers will make the effort to change their games this severely or will they avoid the market entirely? Let us know in the comments below!