The recent Hearthstone card changes which saw eight cards get new art (and in two cases, a completely different name) have nothing to do with Chinese censorship according to a statement from Blizzard entertainment.
In a statement to PC Gamer, Hearthstone Lead Mission Designer Dave Kosak said that a review of the game's cards resulted in the developers deciding that some of them simply didn't meet their standards. The art, in particular, fell afoul of these standards and he is quoted as saying that they "wouldn't print these same cards today." This statement effectively denies any implication that the card changes were made to comply with Chinese censorship rules.
Here are the cards that were changed in an image compiled over on Reddit's /r/Hearthstone subreddit:
"We went back and really just brought everything up to our standards," Kosak said to PC Gamer. "It wasn't because we were looking at ratings, or international [regulations], or anything like that. We really just wanted our artists to feel good about everything in the set."
Four of the cards — Eviscerate, Deadly Shot, Bite, and Headcrack — appear to have had the violence toned down, mostly in the removal of blood and violent imagery. Secretkeeper and Windfury Harpy's art has been changed into something less sexually suggestive.
Mistress of Pain has had her name changed to "Queen of Pain" and features radically different art. Perhaps the most striking change of all, however, is the complete and total removal of Succubus; this particular card has kept the same stats but was replaced with a Felstalker instead.
Understandably, the explanation has done little to quell the unrest on the /r/Hearthstone subreddit — subscribers are continuing to post memes showing new "family friendly" versions of cards, mocking the art and name changes to the game.
Whatever Blizzard's reasons may have been, the decision to change card art and names have been unpopular with a portion of the community. Whether or not they continue to update other cards to meet their standards is not yet known. If the reaction to this batch is any indication, it probably won't be well-received.
What do you think of Blizzard's explanation for the Hearthstone card changes? Would you like to see them change them back? Let us know in the comments below!