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.
Quite a lot of important stuff has been going on over the past week. We've had more games being pulled from Australian stores, flashbacks to the days of good old Jack Thompson, and politicians blaming games for real life violence, new details on how NIS America's upcoming Criminal Girls 2 is being censored for its Western release and more.
First things first, a popular German website has finally released the updates made to July's List of Media Harmful to Young People. For those out of loop, this is an official list made by the German government of media deemed harmful to children. It doesn't just contain games, but also things such as movies and even music. When something is placed on this list, it then faces some very restrictive penalties on advertising and selling.
This month has seen a lot of action over on the movie side. As for the games though, no new games have been added and the only changes are two games actually being removed. The first of these being from way back in 1988 called P.O.W.: Prisoners of War. The title was added to the list in 1991 and rules state that media can only remain on the list for 25 years and then must be removed unless it is still thought to be harmful.
The other game is something much more modern. The original Gears of War has also been removed, which it means it could now be released in Germany without being censored.
Gears of War was in fact never released in Germany, due to the amount of censoring that would be needed. This is similar to the upcoming Gears of War 4 not being released in Japan, due to the amount of censoring that would be needed for it to pass the standards of Japan's CERO rating system.
Next up is some more German news, although this one is a lot more relevant to everybody outside of Germany as well. Despite studies constantly showing no link between virtual and real-life violence, such as the one we recently discussed a few weeks back, Germany's federal minister of the Interior has condemned violent games when discussing the recent terrorist attacks in Munich.
What's rather ironic here is that Germany is, of course, already extremely strict on video game violence, as we've just spoken about. The original interview is only available in German but a British/German journalist has reported on his comments here:
To top things off, this was followed by a German TV station deciding to pull all coverage of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's ELEAGUE, a massive eSports tournament. Not only have they scrapped the TV coverage, but also web streaming and all other mentions of it on their website.
An explanation for these events was offered by the show's German caster. The post is in German, although, it can be summed as being "due to events in recent days", in other words, the terrorist attacks and perhaps the German minister's statements.
Moving things away from Germany and now to Australia, fan service-filled games from over in Japan are being targeted yet again, this time by the huge retail chain EB Games. It has been confirmed that both Gal*Gun Double Peace and Senran Kagura Estival Versus have been pulled from shelves in EB Games stores all around the country.
In a statement obtained by TechRaptor, Gal*Gun's publisher explained that someone at EB Games read a story on Gal Gun and got upset by the content they saw. Due to this, higher-ups have made the decision to no longer sell the titles in their stores, comparable to Grand Theft Auto V being pulled from K-Mart and Target stores.
As mentioned, this has also affected Senran Kagura Estival Versus, a completely different series, although one that is also very suggestive in nature.
EB Games statement on the matter simply explains that they assess products regularly "using a number of key business factors, including sales rates" and that in this instance they have made the decision to no longer stock the products.
So, it seems that in future you may no longer be able to find these types of game being sold at EB Games stores, however, they are still available in Australia via PSN or other methods.
The final point for the week is that we have at last seen some of the changes that are being made to the JRPG Criminal Girls 2 outside of Japan. The official website has been updated with some of the new art from the game, which shows a lot of censorship. Trying to compare the changes can be a bit like trying to play spot the difference though so here are some comparisons.
The new art shows several different types of changes, one of these being the removal of all restraints from the girls. As you can see here, the pair are no longer chained to the ceiling.
Alongside this, more clothes have been added to certain scenes, with the girl on the right now sporting a new orange top.
Also, outfits have been lengthened in places, which has removed some panty shots.
Another change has seen bumps from nipple being removed from the Western artwork.
As a reminder, NIS America has previously explained that Criminal Girls 2 is being censored out of fear of obtaining an Adults Only rating. They can't financially afford having to submit the game for a rating more than once and so it has to pass the first time around.
The publisher has offered an explanation for the some of the censorship over on their forums, more specifically the censorship to the nipple bumps:
A lot of it has to do with "implied genitals", if you can imagine such a phrase being a real thing. I can see why they came up with this: a game's character would be naked, ratings boards would respond, so developers/artists got cocky and threw nearly-transparent, so-skin-tight-you-can-make-out-the-actual-clitoris clothing on 'er and then said to the ratings boards, "What? She's not naked."
In other words, showing the outline/suggestion of a nipple is only slightly less of a problem than just showing the actual nipple. It matters.
The official site has also uploaded some video footage and so we can now show you the censorship in video form. One extremely noticeable difference is the complete removal of voices from the Western versions. Here's a comparison of one of the scenes, so you can see for yourself:
We have currently only seen a fraction of the changes made to Criminal Girls 2. We'll be sure to keep you updated when more info is known.