Potential Reason for the Game's Censorship

Censorship in the game has been a hot topic in the last few days, whether it be the revival of the dead topic that is the Height Slider, Smart Inner missing, altered costumes, Al being given clothes in his first appearance, to the outright removal of Bath Scenes and so on and so on.

Now mind you... this is all speculation, albeit speculation created by looking heavily into specific subjects relating to the Global version and previous speculations done in the same manner ended up being accurate to a degree so... here we go. The main important thing... who is to blame, there are two potential culprits here:

Foreign Classification Boards

Yes, the Global version launched originally in North America and was exclusive to that region... however there were indications that it wasn't always going to be that way. The 'global' expansion wasn't done as a result of demand from the player-base but was rather part of Sega's big plan for the game. This is further indicated by them reaching out to other Classification Boards as far back as the Closed Beta, despite the game at the time being 'only planned' for North America.

With that said, while classification boards like ESRB and PEGI are only there to inform people about game's content, there are other country's classification boards that would have issues with the game's content. I'll be bringing up my own country's, Australia, rating board as an example; the OFLC. The OFLC are quite strict when it comes to how characters that look underage are portrayed. The OFLC would not have had an issue with the likes of EPISODE 4 and the first sets of ratings were automated so my best guess is that Sega edited content they THOUGHT other rating boards would have issues with.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

"But Leon, the PlayStation 4 version isn't out and Microsoft has been spear-heading this release" Yes I am aware and months ago I had my doubts on whether the PS4 version would even launch outside of Japan... but having observed how the Steam PSO2 client works and how the release was handled... those doubts are no longer there and its now more likely that PSO2 Global COULD eventually release on PlayStation 4.

But what's this got to do with censorship? I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar but... Sony's recently come under scrutiny for imposing censorship in games, including games which are already rated M to begin with. Although the Global version is spearheaded by Microsoft... plans to release the PS4 version outside of Japan could have been made once the Xbox One console exclusivity was over. (MS Store platform exclusivity for the PC version might be what's expired, not so much the Console exclusivity) As such one of two scenarios might have happened:

  1. Sega and Sony already work quite closely to handle the Japanese version of PSO2 on PlayStation 4 (and Vita... for now) and could have consulted them beforehand in regards to what content would need to be altered for such a release to be possible.
  2. Sega could have tried predicting what content Sony would have trouble with.

Either way it leads to the same scenario, the Global version's content is altered beforehand so that when the PlayStation 4 release came around there wouldn't be much content to alter... after all How awkward would it be if we truly did get everything uncensored from the getgo and after the maintenance for the PlayStation 4 launch, we find out our characters were suddenly made taller, certain costumes were altered, Al's wearing clothes and the bath scenes are gone?

Conclusion

At the end of the day keep in mind that these are just pure speculations and I could be wrong with regards to many of these. I'm against censorship but I maintain that the alterations that Phantasy Star Online 2 received do still come off as quite minor in comparison to how altered certain games have been and don't really prevent me from enjoying the game... and this is coming from someone who had been playing the JP version before coming to the Global version.

Why does everyone keep calling this censorship.

There's a very big difference between censorship and localization.

Censorship implies it was blocked/changed by a local/national government. Localization is when the actual dev makes changes to suit the target populace. They are not the same thing.

Regardless, it's not hard to understand why they made the change for western PSO2. Western culture is hyper sensitive to sexual content or topics or whatever you can think of that could potentially involve minors. I'm not saying that it's wrong of them to be that way, they are just very vocal about that kind of thing. So they made the call, SEGA themselves. That's not censorship.

Well said.

As much as I didn't mind nor were at all bothered by some of the things changed/omitted from the now-global NA version, my immediate understanding was that they were changes made to suit local standards. Not a censorship per se, but instead an example of NOT going "it's okay for us, so you'll have to be okay with it too". A smart move, really.

The Independence Day event was another relatable example. It's not their holiday, so they really wouldn't have to recognize it, but they took the time to do so, in the region it was relevant to. And while NA is comprised of more than just the US, if they were to recognize any events or local standards of our neighboring countries in a positive way, I would have little issue with it.

Sure, knowing what we didn't get or what wasn't the same as it originally was might sting a little, but I call it a small price to pay to see the game I enjoy opened to a broader audience overall.

@Zipzo6 said in Potential Reason for the Game's Censorship:

Why does everyone keep calling this censorship. There's a very big difference between censorship and localization. Censorship implies it was blocked/changed by a local/national government. Localization is when the actual dev makes changes to suit the target populace. They are not the same thing.

Merriam-Webster said in their definition of censor:

censor verb censored; censoring\ ˈsen(t)-​sə-​riŋ , ˈsen(t)s-​riŋ \

Definition of censor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to examine in order to suppress (see suppress sense 2) or delete anything considered objectionable

censor the news

also : to suppress or delete as objectionable censor out indecent passages

Notice there's no specifying of government here.

A network censor isn't a government employee, they're a network employee. Even if they are enforcing the FCC and FTC regulations, they are also at liberty to object to anything they personally don't want on their network, Fox in particular was infamous for this (though 4kids got a lot of the blame for things Fox and Viz did, One Piece case in point (though 4kids' solutions to Fox's censorship when they weren't simply copypasting Viz's censorship were laughable make no mistake and I'm pretty sure the "Jelly donuts" in Pokemon was all 4kids)).

These are good points, and it's what I assume too. The US is fairly lax about the type of content that was cut, but other Western countries tend to be stricter about it.

@Zipzo6 I have to agree that it's localization. It's still considered censorship as well, but Japanese media always comes under some sort of change when localized, whether that's a heavy change like censoring religious symbolism in 90s games or Japanese culture to fit a Western perspective, or smaller changes necessary to convey the story or to fit engine restrictions. The localization here clearly (as far as we know) relates mostly to legal age of consent.

I can understand that people don't like censorship of any kind, but at the end of the day, I really don't understand why people are this upset about it. I've seen some of the cut content in question and I don't see why it's so important. None of it has been significant enough to affect how I enjoy the game or the story, and that's coming from someone that cares a lot about game plots and who personally works in localization.

I genuinely think that outside of being upset over censorship, most of the outrage is coming out of being unable to be inappropriate. They're upset that they can't make a "loli" (seen this mentioned multiple times) or that they can't see Al's butt. It just solidifies why the changes were probably made in the first place.

@GamerKillance said in Potential Reason for the Game's Censorship:

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Wrong thread, this one's about why it happened in the first place. Not why it should've or shouldn't've

@GamerKillance said in Potential Reason for the Game's Censorship:

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At this point they're nuking the horse.

@ApollosAmour said in Potential Reason for the Game's Censorship:

These are good points, and it's what I assume too. The US is fairly lax about the type of content that was cut, but other Western countries tend to be stricter about it.

@Zipzo6 I have to agree that it's localization. It's still considered censorship as well, but Japanese media always comes under some sort of change when localized, whether that's a heavy change like censoring religious symbolism in 90s games or Japanese culture to fit a Western perspective, or smaller changes necessary to convey the story or to fit engine restrictions. The localization here clearly (as far as we know) relates mostly to legal age of consent.

I can understand that people don't like censorship of any kind, but at the end of the day, I really don't understand why people are this upset about it. I've seen some of the cut content in question and I don't see why it's so important. None of it has been significant enough to affect how I enjoy the game or the story, and that's coming from someone that cares a lot about game plots and who personally works in localization.

I genuinely think that outside of being upset over censorship, most of the outrage is coming out of being unable to be inappropriate. They're upset that they can't make a "loli" (seen this mentioned multiple times) or that they can't see Al's butt. It just solidifies why the changes were probably made in the first place.

I hate to break it to you, but there's plenty of inappropriateness with the Symbol Art.

It's probably more like fans are feeling as if Microsoft is the new 4Kids, despite the already obvious Mature rating.

@MasterDarkwingz That's a part of what I'm talking about. They're already using anything at their disposal to create or re-enact pornographic content. The ESRB rates Mature as 17+, meaning that things like the SAs are already causing enough problems.

I work in the adult industry myself, so I welcome mature content and think it's perfectly fine if people express themselves in a variety of ways. But all of that has to be done within reason to appease a global audience, ratings boards, and Sega's own wishes. However, seeing what people are already doing and the way they talk--specifically in regard to things like age play--I don't believe that the outrage is coming from feeling censored so much as it is being limited on how inappropriate things could potentially be.

I think I remember someone on the forums a while back saying something about the hit boxxes being effected by the height restriction... That'd be the only legitimate arguement someone could make for wanting to make a small character. On that note... Does the height effect the hit-box at all? I'm a giant Cast... So if that's the case... I guess I'm screwed. lol

i dont think height affects it but if it does then its prolly just something like the bigger you are the higher your chances of being targeted or locked on.

I know in pvp i get hit when im behind a wall or around a corner... but that could be latency...

This post is deleted!

Gonna put an end to this height affecting PVP thought I am afraid it is simply not true and is a placebo effect since I have had absolutely no problems hitting people in the JP servers in mini suits and even in the Global servers here. It is a thought of mind if anything at most they help hide you a bit more for sneak plays. As for the censorship well I don't agree with it but I see both points of view and it hasn't stopped me playing the game.