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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, nicknamed Star Ocean 5, has come under fire today due to recent comments by the game’s creators.

In an interview on the Japanese website 4Gamer, three key members of Star Ocean developer Tri-Ace, character designer Akira Yasuda, director Hiroshi Ogawa, and producer Shuichi Kobayashi,  discussed the development, design and overall goals for the latest entry in the Star Ocean series. However, one area in particular has been circulated around the internet, regarding a costume change for one of the playable characters, the 18 year old teenage character Miki. 

In particular, a line by Kobayashi has riled up some in the gaming community due to a minor edit that will be affecting both the Japanese and Western release of Star Ocean. According to Kobayashi, “recently, there’s been a lot of flak from overseas countries saying that if you put teens in ‘sexual’ underwear it’s not good, so we increased the amount of clothing.”

The old version of Miki's behind...

The old version of Miki’s behind…

Kobayashi is referring to Miki and her underwear, which in earlier screenshots was shown to be smaller and showed off her behind in more detail. The edit in this case refers to the panties Miki wears throughout the game, which Kobayashi and Yasuda note were enlarged to avoid editing the game later. This was done to even the Japanese release of Star Ocean, in part due to recent controversies happening in the west.

The new version by Tri-Ace.

The new version by Tri-Ace.

In the interview, Yasuda noted that there has been a trend in gaming “where if you put out a character that shows a lot of skin, later on you might have to make a lot of revisions.” Yasuda goes on to say that his goal for the character design of Star Ocean was to show eroticism without being overly sexualized, “‘although she’s erotic, there’s not a lot of skin showing’ is the feeling you get.“In fact, it got a rating of C by CERO.”

CERO is the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, essentially the ESRB of Japan. A rating of C is essentially an equivalent to a T rating, which for Japan refers to 15 and older. 

Yasuda mentions a second character as an example of this erotic design, the witch Fiore, who wears a skin-tight, harlequin-style outfit that, according to Yasuda “Fiore uses a lot of displayed crests on her skin to cast curses. That was part of her setting.”

The character design of Miki, despite the edit being only a minor change to her costume, is receiving massive backlash from both Western and Japanese sources. According to Japanese sources, fans are upset over the change, referring to the new look of Miki as wearing a”diaper” and criticizing Tri-Ace and the West over the edit. Western fans are likewise also upset, decrying this as another case of censorship.


Quick Take 

In all honesty, this is not censorship, it’s the creators of the game self censuring their own work. It would make that excuse of the “integrity of the work” hard to argue as well, considering the attitudes by Yasuda more or less point to them not being afraid of overt sexuality in the older characters in the game like Fiore. Much like Xenoblade Chronicles X, it’s likely a case of the characters age that is the stumbling block here for western audiences, and like other companies, Tri-Ace is making a minor change to avoid a controversy.

Is it really censorship? When the creators themselves acknowledge the reason for the change is partially due to western perceptions on sexuality, but continue to have sexualized characters in their game regardless, I would say not at all; it’s just a smart business move to avoid some controversy down the line, even though it created some backlash now. But what do you think about this? 


Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.



  • “But what do you think about this?”

    I think you are missing the point. They’re basically catering to a minority that would cry about it regardless.

    Are you seriously going to tell me they won’t use ANY OTHER CHARACTER to CRY ABOUT? Fiore, I already found the “sexualized” character.

    What about the panties looking like diapers? That just makes it worse.

    The Japanese are angry about this, and these are changes made in their region because OF A FEW OF US. We are ALL BLAMED for it (since the words used is “the west”). You can’t see the issue here?

    EDIT: And this is a contradiction:
    “In all honesty, this is not censorship, it’s the creators of the game self censuring their own work.”

    Self-censorship is still censorship.

  • John Craft

    Censorship is any artistic alteration for moral reasons.
    This is all.
    There is nothing more complex than that, no need to see the context or anything else.
    If an artistic work is changed because of moral crusades, then it is censorship, even if it is done by the creator themselves.

    Here’s an example if you need :
    A man writes a story with a gay protagonist. He finishes and likes it, but then is told by someone “the character shouldn’t be gay because some people will dislike that”. He thinks he doesn’t want this kind of conversation, so he makes the character straight.
    This means the author lives in a world where he can be made afraid, for moral reasons, of some people’s anger over his art. If he does obey to those, it is censorship, even if he chose to change it himself.

  • Robert Grosso

    note I said censuring.

    Censuring is not the same as censorship, it is a different concept. In this, Tri-Ace is pointing out how the west disapproves of certain things, like teenage girls in tight panties, and therefore, in a semi-format statement, talked about altering the said panties.

    That is censuring content, showing disapproval for something and subsequently changing or removing it. It was their choice to accept that disapproval or not in the end.

  • Garbagio Dumpsterino

    I seriously just need to learn Japanese and start importing games directly.

  • Robert Grosso

    it will be the same game regardless of language.

  • Garbagio Dumpsterino

    Oh, I see. At least some aren’t, like Bravely Second…

    I actually hope we see more of this (if they’re going to censor, do it on both versions). Maybe it will piss off the Japanese gamers enough.

  • Seansong1

    -_-

  • Leftoverlunch

    You’re right self censorship isn’t censorship at all………….Was this the character designers idea the directors or the publishers?

  • I can say the same about the lady that I’ve nicely asked with a gun at her head to give me her purse.

    She complied, she did it, not my fault for putting a gun at her head. Nope.

    This is blatant self-censorship because of an incredibly small minority, we’re all blamed for it and you still don’t see the issue. You think they made the right decision to avoid controversy but what they did was comply and now they’ll just get attacked for something else, e.g. Fiore.

  • Self-censorship is still censorship, then again, it seems some here don’t get that. They didn’t do it out of their own volition, they said it themselves “We did it because of SJW complaints in the west.”, that’s a moralistic reason (e.g. anti-sexuality) and the dev did it out of fear of backlash.

  • Alex White

    I’m fine with it and I couldn’t care less, I guess you could use the slippery slope fallacy but this just seems irrelevant. If others want to get up in arms about it I can see why.

  • Nope Naw

    “Censuring is not the same as censorship, it is a different concept”

    True, but you’re not applying it correctly. Censure is strong, or harsh, criticism. -Acting- on that criticism, is censoring.

    “… showing disapproval for something…” -> censure
    “… subsequently changing or removing it.” -> censorship

    This particular change is less egregious, since it apparently affects everyone and is relatively minor. But the scale of change has no bearing on whether it’s censorship or not, merely how palatable it is to prospective consumers. It’s nowhere near the ludicrous levels that Bravely Second has been butchered.

  • the7k

    I’m not gonna get worked up over this, as I’m getting too old to get angry about every little thing, but I’m still disappointed that the rest of the world now has to look out for poor ol’ America, too easily offended by every little thing to handle even the smallest of offenses.

    Man, remember the 80s and 90s? Remember when long-legged females and chiseled dudes showing off their pure sex appeal on national TV was the norm? When Richard Pryor and George Carlin were always trying to make us squirm in our seats with how offensive they were? Now we can’t even have a panty shot without people getting up in arms, and even Jerry Seinfeld is considered too edgy for college campuses.

  • Typical

    This is the slippery slope argument and why you don’t negotiate with ideological terrorists.

  • Typical

    counting 18 as teenage is disingenuous, like saying a teen killed a store clerk when in reality it was a 19 year old man.

  • Robert Grosso

    I disagree, people self-censure their ideals, language, beliefs and content all the time. It is not necessarily the same as censoring themselves; in this case the developers imply they don’t even agree with their self-censuring of the content, but are doing so anyway despite it clashing with their personal opinions or even their values.

    Because it’s coming from the source in this, and because they acknowledge they are doing this while implying it’s something they don’t agree with, makes me gravitate towards censuring over censoring their product.

  • Nope Naw

    You’re still using the word censure wrong. It doesn’t matter if you disagree or not. You are objectively wrong.

    Also, I didn’t say that censure is the same as censoring, you did. I said the exact opposite.

  • Robert Grosso

    Oh, I see the potential issue here.

    I just disagree it is an issue at all in the end. Hell, this story to me is a non-issue as well, but it’s news so it should be reported on.

    Time will tell if you are right about Fiore, but I don’t think Tri-Ace is ultimately going to care about that one, considering Fiore is in a full body stocking.

  • Robert Grosso

    The designers imply it was their idea, in truth we probably won’t know if Square had a hand in it, but ultimately it will be a moot point I feel regardless of who is responsible.

  • Robert Grosso

    We can be objectively wrong about opinions in the end of course, but this is not an objective fact in the end when the point of self-censure is to judge your own behavior and ideals, and go against said ideals. Its a lot more than censorship- clearly the team at Tri-Ace is in that camp here if were to take their implications at face value, which sadly is the only source we have right now.

    Look, you could be right it’s a form of censorship. Hell, it’s likely both in the end, but I just don’t see it as censorship honestly, perhaps because its such a minor thing.

    Anyway I stated it already, it’s my opinion on the matter, take it or leave it at that I guess.

  • Outrage over outrage culture is quite tiresome. This seems an odd change, though, primarily because it seems all they really did was change the color of her underwear. Her backside is still hanging out, as are the scenes that highlight it. If that’s the case, why bother making the change at all? The glaring white against the pink of her skin and dress only seem to highlight her body more.

    It is worth noting that the change is affecting Japanese release as well, which is pretty uncommon. Usually these changes only affect the localization of a game, but that it’s part of the core game suggests the issue is greater than just whatever contentious issues are raging here in the West.

  • Nope Naw

    “We can be objectively wrong about opinions in the end of course”

    Using a word incorrectly is not a matter of opinion, stop implying it is. Further, when it comes to opinions, it by definition is subjective. I have not made any claims on your particular opinion, but merely on your incorrect use of terminology.

    Your insistence on the contrary is troubling, because you’re either ignoring what’s actually being said, or you’re simply “not getting it”.

    “Look, you could be right it’s a form of censorship. Hell, it’s likely both in the end”

    It -is- both, but they are not synonymous. To word it using the terms at hand here: “As a result of self-censure, the developer opted to censor their content.”

    Personal opinion or the scale of the changes does not factor into whether or not something is censorship or not. The same goes for censure.

  • DrearierSpider

    Innocuous as most of these changes are when something like this happens, I’m personally refusing to support any developer that caves in to people like this, purely out of principle. These companies have shown they have zero backbone, so the only way to buck this trend is by making sure it affects their bottom line. It may be very minor changes today, but this is a slippery slope, as history has proven.

  • Nope Naw

    Agreed. At 15 to 17 a woman has physically matured, and at 18 in the vast majority of the world she’s considered an adult.

  • Robert Grosso

    Except I didn’t use the word incorrectly- it is your opinion I did and your explanation as to why is irrelevant to me ultimately.

    To make things simple, consider it ignoring what you are saying in the end if that helps clarify it. I do get what you are saying though if that was a concern at all.

  • Todd Perry

    And this is why I’ve almost given up on console games. Skipping all the jokes about the PCMR, it is nice to know that on PC there will always be some industrious soul willing and able undo what was done in the name of fear.

    What some folks might find hard to believe is, that if the designers made the change because they felt it would honestly improve the game, I would be with them 100%. I would happily play the game because I want to experience what they intended. If that means diapers, because that’s what works with the characters, then diapers it is! I’d actually be looking forward to what quirks or character flaws brought this habit on.

    But when you tell me it wasn’t your first choice, and you went with something else because you were afraid of something… I’m just sorry. Sorry for us both. Sorry that you had to make that choice and sorry that we won’t get to communicate in the way you wanted.

  • Nope Naw

    Alright, so you’re willfully ignorant. Can’t say I respect it, but that’s your choice.

  • Robert Grosso

    Not at all. Just pointing out the problem with your argument.

    I can respect the argument, but I don’t have to agree with it of course.

  • Galbador

    “In all honesty, this is not censorship, it’s the creators of the game self censuring their own work.”

    Where did I hear that before… OH HI CAPCOM! Seriously, I’m getting tired of this crap and yes, it is crap that a designer or developer has to fear that “the west” dislikes his or her game just because of the small chances to see a butt or panties or breasts.

    Like so many people said before, let’s put those characters into burqas and fobid any kind of feminine look, so that SJWs are not triggered.

    Seriously, I’m so f*cking tired of this.

  • Nope Naw

    You have yet to actually prove me wrong, and I’m certain you will not. Because you know you can’t. That’s why you keep resorting to the word “opinion”.

    In order to point out a fallacy, there needs to be a fallacy present, lest we fall into strawman territory.

    In short: Prove. Me. Wrong.

  • UntamedLoli

    This is literally a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It doesn’t matter what the finer reasoning is, they’ve already admitted it was done because of perceptions of a non-existent gun pointed at their head. It’s just plainly disgusting to see this keep happening and reinforcing this idea that there would’ve been a problem where there isn’t.

    Instead of just ignoring the crybullies that at the very worst was just giving them free advertising they’re generating actual negative controversy with the people that actually are going to buy their game. Not to mention the word of mouth that will linger because of it.

  • So they wouldn’t care about a shitstorm about Fiore but they care about one on Miki that is less of a “sexualization” problem?

    You do understand that’s contradictory.

    If you can’t see the issue, I can’t really help, to be fair… I can stay here and explain all night, you won’t get it because this is literally it. They’ve used the west as an excuse and capitulated to a minority. This sets a precedent (already set with DOAX 3, then again, this continues it) that the west can just keep on crying and we might as well not get games at all.

  • That’s the issue, it’s not about the panties, fuck the panties.

    It’s about the message and the precedent. We’ll have this happen over more important content…

  • No, they made them bigger, they look like diapers now. And they said they did this because of THE WEST. So you’re misinterpreting the facts here.

  • Robert Grosso

    Whats the point, you will say I am wrong anyway, why waste my time in proving something that doesn’t really have proof to it in the first place? This is not about being right or wrong for me, it’s why it’s an opinion.

    Look, you argue the letter of the words as the definition, but inference of their meaning goes beyond reciting a dictionary. For one, psychological implications and intent of the people saying the comments should be taken into account. Ultimately, what they believe is more important than what they do in this case, since it infers the logic behind their decision.

    Since this is a personal and commercial decision by the developers, id say ultimately you are right that censorship is involved in here,so you got me there, but that is what they did, not what they believe.

    I say you are wrong, however, to dismiss self-censuring as being incorrect as part of this problem, because ultimately it was also responsible, and id argue more responsible, for the minor edit here. See, what sells it for me is the defiance in how they discuss “erotic” character design; which as I stated before kind of goes in the face of the edit itself, making a character who is purposefully sexualized, but doing so in a way the developers have rationalized as tasteful. The edit refers to a way they felt it would be distasteful.

    In that case, Miri is also self-censuring content because they find it to be fine, but don’t want to deal with criticism or disapproval for it. It’s censoring content because now it’s public and part of the game versus the original version, although I have some problems with that logic personally it’s still a valid opinion. But its censuring themselves because they acknowledge how ridiculous this all is, and still go ahead with it regardless of their personal beliefs.

    So there you go. Ultimately I expect some argument from ignorance claim in the end but as I said, this distinction is irrelevant to me in the first place.

    Ah look at that, I argued it anyway. But it truly is a moot point.

  • Robert Grosso

    Oh you’ll get the games still, provided they sell.

    And I understand it can be seen as contradictory. The thing is, you mistake me for caring about this in the first place, let alone agreeing with with it as being a problem,which I don’t with that stance since it’s a slippery slope argument.

    It’s not all black and white man.

  • It’s a proven slippery slope.

    For a few months now it’s been happening for a lot of games…

  • Nope Naw

    The distinction is so irrelevant to you that you felt the need to write 5 paragraphs about it. Let me do the same.

    You keep adding things to the discussion that I didn’t even mention.

    “I say you are wrong, however, to dismiss self-censuring as being incorrect as part of this problem…”

    I never dismissed the act of self-censure. I challenged your use of the term as incorrect. Nothing more. Nothing less. You keep clamoring about your opinions and feelings and so on and forth, yet you never actually face the brunt of my challenge. You avoid it at all cost. You deflect it into something that is completely besides the point.

    Maybe you don’t, but I have the intellectual and intestinal fortitude to acknowledge when I’m literally, objectively, wrong. Yet you expound into areas that I never addressed. To borrow your parlance: I don’t care what their opinions or rationalizations are, it has nothing to do with what I said, and I’ve already made it clear in my very first comment that I find this particular edit innocuous in the grand scope of things.

    Now however, you’re starting to get closer to proper use of the word. You were admittedly on the right track at first as well. That’s why I started off by saying “True”. The problem lies in treating censure and censorship as mutually exclusive concepts. They aren’t. Example: “This is self-censure, therefore it isn’t censorship.” That’s a false argument based on broken logic.

    Dangit. Came up a bit short on word count.

  • Robert Grosso

    It’s all right, I didn’t have a word count in mind with my response either.

    I also acknowledge when I am wrong, I just don’t see myself as being wrong in this case ultimately. It’s not an avoidance of your claims, hell I acknowledge I can’t really go against a definition fully, but rather a dismissal of this conversation being irrelevant to the ultimate point of it being a minor issue overall.

  • If I buy this one, it will be used.

  • Only if you’re willing to take what someone said at face value, which I’m not. There are too many examples of game changes specific to localization for it to make sense that this was purely a change meant for Western audiences (this is the reason why people Import, after all), especially given that the alteration is too minor to warrant major technical leaps like mesh alterations, rigging/skinning or animating. Western and Eastern releases would take separate efforts if only for the language issue, so there’s no time saved with this kind of change, either.

    It’s amazing to me how quick people are to take a developer at their word when it fits within their own narrative, but if he said it was a change he wanted himself and believed in, there’d be a lot of people in these comments calling him a liar.

  • Tempest

    This self censorship is testing the waters for sure. If we do nothing than further content will be changed on the development process to prevent controversy. Even more so on their own country. We’ve seen content changed going across seas. It was onced believed that a vanilla copy could still be imported.

    Now you have no choice in the matter.

  • So now we don’t have to believe the devs because sometimes, a few don’t?

    I know one case in which people said that Capcom was lying, and they were right, they contradicted themselves 3 times before finally saying it how it was.

  • Tempest

    Huge difference between changes in localization over changes made in native soil.

    Especially so considering what Japanese consider offensive is different to what westerns consider offensive. To broad stroke all this under non issue censorship is to completely ignore cultural differences in different regions. Making panties into diapers is far from the norm in Japan.

  • Zepherdog

    “Minor”

  • MusouTensei

    This only creates hate, the comments I read from angry japanese fans are not very nice, but I have to agree with them as a european who also has to suffer under america’s puritanic bullshit even though they basically generalize the whole west.
    I will have non of that shit and buy this game used, and who knows what else they censor for the western versions after the japanese one got released.

  • That did indeed happen. I think it’s just important to remain critical even in the face of official sources – sometimes especially in the face of them. Developers spin for multiple reasons, and though I have no way to confirm this is just that, there are things that don’t add up that I am suspicious of.

  • Like what does not add up here?
    If you’re talking Fiore, they already explain that it’s lore relevant, and I want them to get dissed for that since it’ll teach them a lesson on SJWs.

    Otherwise they’re just ignorant of the west, it’s not that hard.
    For now all we can do is show them that they’re wrong (or at least, show that to the Japanese people and make the Japanese media pick it up).

    Which is easily done on Twitter through several hashtags like:
    #StarOcean5
    #おむつミキ
    #TorrentialDownpour
    #スターオーシャン5.

    And to mock the whole “diaper” thing. It’s a minimal change but it pissed off the Japanese greatly. That’s because they understand what the fuck this type of change and precedent means.

    Don’t forget that they’re not the first to claim it’s because of the SJWs. DOAX 3 also had that type of explanations.

  • Although I’m very pro-GamerGate, I never really had to deal with these type of puritan changes personally. I’ve been importing for quite a few years now, and this PC culture crap was mainly affecting the western industry. As I’ve feared though, I guess those days are numbered. I just hope that Japanese developers can wake up to what a poison, vocal minority the SJWs really are, especially when they see the pissed-off reactions from people on both sides of the Pacific.