NIS America has announced that the upcoming Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors will be censored in the West.
Criminal Girls 2 is the sequel to 2015’s Criminal Girls: Invite Only and it doesn’t at all shy away from the fan service. In the game, you’ll be able to take part in a mini-game where you “Motivate” the female party members by fondling them, whilst they perform a range of lewd poses and wearing little or nothing at all.
The blog post is extremely detailed and goes into the ins and outs of what exactly has been censored and why. The first thing that’s listed is that art will be redrawn “for the Motivation scenes that might have caused issues due to their explicit nature”.
Other changes include the terminology changes seen in the first game, such as the discussed “Motivate” scenes originally being called “Punishment”. NIS explains that “This reduces the power distance between the player character and the girls in the Reformation Program and makes the activities of the game more consensual.” Also carried forward from the first game is the complete removal of dialogue during the controversial “Motivate” scenes.
NIS also mentions that “other than some specific instances where characters’ apparent ages are mentioned, no significant changes have been made to the dialogue or story”. So it looks like the girls’ ages will be removed overseas as well.
Additionally, NIS has revealed that they will not be dubbing Criminal Girls 2 in English and will only be translating the text.
Seen above is the type of censorship that affected the first game. In the Western release, mist was added to obscure the sight of the girls during the mini game and all dialogue was removed.
In regards to why this censorship has been made, NIS explains that this was done out of concern over receiving an AO rating. They have not submitted the game to the ESRB to check, although have been advised that there is a strong possibility it would be given an AO rating. The reason why they were unable to make sure they had to censor the game, before actually doing so, is due to the costs associated with resubmitting games to the ESRB. Basically, it had to be right first time around.
Listed below is NIS America’s FAQ section of the blog post:
- If you knew this game was going to get censored, why did you bring it over in the first place?
There is still a demand for the game and its content. Although some players might not be happy about the changes, we expect many will still appreciate the product for what it is and localizing it allows them the chance to enjoy the game's unique story, gameplay, and characters without needing to speak Japanese or deal with the pains of importing.
- Why make changes to the game before it is even rated?
Two main reasons: time and budget. When we submit something to ratings boards, we need to be absolutely sure that it’s going to be the final version, or we risk costly delays and even the game not being released at all.
- Any chance of an uncensored, unrated version being released? Maybe on PC?
Releasing an uncensored version on PC would require having the game reprogrammed and rerated. It is also against our company policy to release “unrated” games, so this possibility is quite unlikely.
- Why not just release the game with an AO rating?
AO-rated games are not allowed on many platforms, are not carried by many typical retail outlets, and as a company we have a policy of not releasing games with an AO rating.
- Why was the terminology changed?
Two of the main concerns that ratings boards had in regards to Criminal Girls: Invite Only were power imbalance and consent. To avoid this, we decided to change some of the terminology to reframe the situations to be accepted by the ratings boards. Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors follows the same trend for consistency.
- What about the story and characters?
Other than some specific instances where characters’ apparent ages are mentioned, no significant changes have been made to the dialogue or story. It’s still Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors.
- How about Criminal Girls: Invite Only uncensored on PC?
Probably not happening, either. That would require the game being rerated, reprogrammed, and retested, and, unfortunately, it also runs the risk of receiving an AO rating. In addition, almost all of those resources are going into Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors instead. We only have so many Prinnies to go around, dood!
- Isn’t it possible that the game would have received an M from the ESRB, no changes necessary?
From our experience and the conversations we’ve had with ratings boards about the content, it is extremely unlikely that the game would have received an M (and equivalent) rating. Unfortunately, it is so unlikely that we cannot take that risk as a company.
- But what about [Other Game]? That got an M and it was way worse!
Though the debate about precedent and what “should” qualify as AO vs. M is ongoing, the only opinion that really matters is that of the ratings boards. We can (and often do, trust me) argue our position, but at the end of the day, we have to conform with the guidance the ratings boards give us. If they inform us that a title is going to be rated a certain way, we cannot persuade them otherwise by bringing up [Other Game]. They’ve made their decision, and we have to respect that and work with it rather than against it.
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors will be coming to PlayStation Vita in North America September 20th and Europe September 23rd.