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 more virtual breasts being made to cover up, as well as yet another game not getting released in censorship heavy Germany and Australia.
To begin with some news about the upcoming RPG deemed too much for Australia and banned in the Australian region. MeiQ Labyrinth of Death's US box art has finally been revealed and we can see that there has been a slight alteration made to hide the breasts of one of the female characters.
As you can see in the comparison above, some kind of black ribbon has been added to the girl on the right's outfit, obscuring the sight of their cleavage.
It's important to clarify that the game is being released in both Europe and the US completely uncensored. However, with box art having to abide by the ESRB's rules on advertising, these changes are sometimes forced on publishers.
Next up is a surprising change made to the Korean MMO Blade and Soul. Blade and Soul has been available now for quite some time and is a MMO with a big emphasis on fan service content.
The title ran into quite a bit of controversy leading up to its Western release, over alterations to the script being made due to what the localisers called "misogynistic concepts". This was despite it being heavily communicated to Western fans that there would be zero censorship during the localisation process.
Bringing things back to the present though, one of the story's central characters has, completely out of the blue, had a drastic revision made to her character design. The new appearance sees her lose a chest size (or ten), as well as being dressed much more modestly.
This change has been made worldwide for all versions and we have yet to hear an official explanation for why it has occurred.
But to finish up with some rather depressing news about NIS America's upcoming Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors. It has been revealed that German and Australian fans wanting to purchase the dungeon crawler RPG will now have some trouble doing so.
The title has just received its age rating from the various rating organisations around the world. Whilst over in the US the game has been given the expected Mature rating, and in Europe a respectable 16 rating, things in Australia and Germany have gone differently.
The German USK rating system has chosen to refuse to rate the game, meaning an official release in Germany will no longer be possible.
Whilst it's common knowledge that violence is dealt with very strictly over in Germany, in recent years, there hasn't been a single case of Germany refusing to rate a game for sexual content. In fact, for the first Criminal Girls game, Germany gave the title the lowest rating out of all other regions, with it assigning it with a 16 rating, unlike the US' Mature and Europe's 18 ratings.
This really does seem to be quite strange and only time will tell if perhaps things are changing over in Germany. We have reached out to the USK for comment and are currently awaiting their response.
As for what's next in Germany, the title being refused a rating doesn't actually mean it's been banned or placed on the "Index". What this now means is that the title will be investigated by a branch of the German government and they will reach a conclusion on the game's possible harmful effects.
If they conclude that it indeed is harmful then it will be placed on the Index. On a much more positive note though, they may come to the opposite verdict and decide it's actually suitable for a release. If this happens, the USK will be forced to assign the game with a rating.
This is actually what happened with Mortal Kombat X back in the day, whilst it was initially refused a rating, it was then deemed not harmful by the government, forcing the USK to rate it and allowing it to be at last released in Germany.
As for the situation in Australia, it doesn't look like it has been Refused Classification by the Australian rating system. Instead, it seems that NIS America have simply decided to not release the title in this region, due to the likelihood that trying to get it released would lead to it being Refused Classification.
We have asked the publishers to confirm whether they tried to submit the title but they were unable to provide us with an answer, stating:
I can only repeat that Criminal Girls 2 will not have an OFLC rating. Criminal Girls Invite Only didn't carry one either.
The title also doesn't appear on the Australian Classification Board website as being submitted.
As a reminder, this trouble has occurred despite the game receiving various changes to tone down the sexual content found in the original, Japanese version.