Localization Scares

Discussion in 'Mostly Harmless (Serious Discussion)' started by Dancougar, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, not saying you shouldn't call out things when you see them and you think they're stupid. There's things were are clearly ridiculous, and others which are more up for debate, but debated they should be.
    Everyone's line is gonna be a bit different, like how having played Bravely Default, I cannot blame anyone for shifting the ages of the main cast up by two years, it makes some of the creepy scenes less outright horrible, (especially when you consider the different ages of consent, two years is actually a perfect reflection of the difference from where I am), and honestly, having them be a bit older I think fits their personalities and actions more, but that's a very highly situational and personal preference.

    Sometimes things just come across as highly dodgy anyway in the original, and some rewriting to smooth that out a bit when that's clearly not the intent does have a case though. I'm reminded of how a particular support conversation in Fire Emblem Fates came across even after a few different translations came through, and time will tell if shave some of the drink-spiking's unintentional dodginess off.

    Although we still have problems with it cutting both ways really, like how violence tends to get cut with countries like Germany and Japan (Australia less so then we used to because their ratings boards were really stupid, and even then they still don't like having real-world drugs with any sort of 'positive' effect and some other things in games). So there's always going to be some cultural barriers here and there, though there are times the cultural defence just doesn't work and no-one should be told they have to accept it as-is because of that.
     
  2. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    Also i think the article makes a thought-worthy point in noting that some devteams/studios/writers/etc. are the highly artistic "vision" types (they used the term "artiste" and cited Hayao Miyazaki I think) while others are sorta just "let's throw something together and get it out the door" (they used the term "coach" and I'm not too sure why).

    This does undermine the common argument of the importance of "creative vision" or "author's intent", especially if devteam squabbles become publicized.

    Though it is a different thing to consider whether editing jobs on the latter will legitimize censorship of the former. Both have certainly happened before, but the social impetus to do one doesn't necessarily seem to derive from the other.
     
  3. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    See, that's part of my issue here -- why not? You say no one should be told they have to accept it as-is -- but by the same token, why should they be told they shouldn't have it as-is if they want it that way? That's still making decisions based on a sense of moral superiority, which is the very thing I think needs to stop.

    The ideal solution would be to give people both options: play the game as-is, or play it censored. Either sell copies of the game both ways (like the Steam and all-ages versions of visual novels mentioned a few posts up), include a toggle in the game's options, or even lock the offending content behind a cheat code a la Mortal Kombat on the Genesis.

    Removing it altogether just because "no one should be told they have to accept it as-is" is unfair to purists, and is no more justifiable than cutting a quest from a game because you don't like it.

    See, this is actually a point of contention for me, as I'm very much of the opinion that ALL creative endeavors are art, whether there was a clear vision or they were just throwing things out the door. Even if art is produced solely for money, or created by someone who sucks as an artist, it's still part of the human creative experience and should still be preserved as it was originally presented IMHO.

    And I justify this viewpoint with a very simple proof: that even the sleaziest of loli touch minigames requires hours upon hours of work from graphic artists, animators, clothing designers, etc. to come out looking "just right." Even if some of the people involved didn't care about what they were doing, or even if they were mandated to do it, their efforts are no less valid or less worthy of critical analysis than an auteur's.

    And that last point is an important one, I think, as you can't conduct critical analysis of material that no longer exists.

    -Tom
     
  4. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    You are indeed right in that even the trashiest creative works require effort to be created. I didn't mean to belittle that artistic value.

    What I actually meant there is that any given part of a work (regardless of whether it is the subject of censorship/cuts/editing/etc.) is not necessarily equal in importance in the "artistic vision" of said work. For example, that it is indeed a thing that happens wherein visual novel devteams shoehorn sexual scenes into some of their works solely because it would otherwise not sell well, and thus it's arguable that cutting those out would improve the integrity of the work.

    For a more specific example, one which I am personally familiar with: the case of Dysfunctional Systems. The story is a sci-fi drama short story with serious political implications and heavy drama. Finishing the story gets the player access to a gallery of artwork. Most of them fit in with the tone of the rest of the production, but there are two to four pieces that just don't, because they are basically near-smut portrayals of the main character.

    Their presence created a small firestorm of controversy among fans, to which a dev replied that the decision to include these pictures were made despite some members feeling that these pictures didn't belong, because the production would otherwise not have been completed (something that makes us fans think that the pictures were only included because the artist wanted them there above others' objections). Said dev also promised that such pictures would not appear in future games (though this promise became moot since many months later the devteam, which already didn't have the original artists, disbanded anyway due to what they felt was a lack of creative quality in what they'd worked on so far).

    "Creator's vision" turns out to be (1) much more complex than a single creative force calling all the shots, in the first place, and (2) not necessarily/equally (though possibly variably depending on who you ask) relevant to all parts of a work.
     
  5. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    I understand what you're saying, and I agree as well -- which is part of why I think it's so crucial that nothing be censored.

    See, this can easily go the other way, too: an artist or suit-type person could call for content to be removed after the fact, to the objection of the artistic majority within the company, and use his/her influence to get the change pushed through. Case in point: George Lucas' constant "updates" to the original Star Wars trilogy, which nobody but George Lucas actually seems to like... but since he calls the shots, they end up going through, to the delight of no one. ;)

    It's because "vision" is so hard to quantify that I feel the only respectable thing to do is to take whatever was initially released to the public during the product's first official publication (wherever in the world it happened to be published first) and count that as the product's "canonical vision." This "canonical vision" should then be shared by the rest of the world as they subsequently publish their own iterations of the game, only changing content if the original version in the original country changes that same content.

    This is the only fair approach, IMHO. Basically, in the case of Japanese games that are censored here, if it's not good enough for Japan, then I truly feel it's not worth pursuing. Either they make the changes everywhere, or they change nothing.

    -Tom
     
  6. Theswweet

    Theswweet Active Member

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    Saying all that; what's your thoughts, if any, on the Street Fighter V R. Mika situation Tom?
     
  7. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    I meant in extreme cases, like the kind of situation where someone might ask themselves about their own work "is this racist?"
    I know you consider any kind of outside change unacceptable, but I personally fall a bit off to the side of that.
    Mind you, I've also seen localisation changes to make sure humour and cultural references continue to work internationally in media, and if they can walk the fine line of making it work, often I see no issue with that. Thing is, pulling it off isn't exactly easy. I probably consider it an extension of that to a degree. With the same caveats of it's incredibly easy to botch or go overboard.

    I might try and enunciate my point in greater detail later, as much as curmudgeonly way with words will allow, but I need sleep right now. :p
     
  8. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    If we're talking an ideal situation, I'd say the true ideal is that all the different versions are made available to the audience to freely (even randomly) choose from. I don't really believe that the initial release version ought to be regarded as true canon any more than any other version.

    Of course, again, I'm speaking in my capacity as an audience member, and what you say seems to sound more befitting the role of a publisher.
     
  9. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    There's always an element of 'what's best for everyone', and yeah, ideally, you might want a filter, but sometimes you simply cannot include some stuff at all, usually because ratings boards' classification of it would make it nigh-unsellable on any platform except PC as a result, even if you wanted to be comprehensive.
     
  10. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Is that the butt-slap thing? If so, yeah, it's absolutely ridiculous to remove that. I'm not a fighting game fan at all, so I was never planning to buy that game in the first place -- but even if I were, I definitely wouldn't buy it in English after hearing about that omission.

    This is a very good point, actually, and is something I've had to struggle with myself on numerous occasions -- there is definitely a fine line between localization and censorship sometimes.

    My general point of view on this comes down to intent. If you make a change to a game's content with the intent of conveying the same idea as the Japanese to a different audience, then I have a hard time considering that to be censorship. A good example of this comes from our own upcoming Return to PopoloCrois, of all things: there's an item in the game called "Miracle Cider" in the Japanese, and your father (the king) sends you on a quest to get some of it for your one-year-old sister, as it's her favorite drink in the world.

    Having grown up in the United States, however, I didn't realize that in other parts of the world, "cider" is considered an alcoholic beverage by default. Where I'm from, it's not alcoholic unless you specify that it's "hard cider" -- by default, it's just a really fancy soda.

    When I learned of this, I thought back to the quest, and realized that it could easily be construed as Pietro going off to get some liquor to feed his baby sister's latent alcoholism. ;) This was confirmed NOT to be intended -- "cider" in Japanese is also typically non-alcoholic, and the item in question was never meant to be an alcoholic beverage -- so ultimately, I decided to change the item's name to "Miracle Carbonic" just to avoid any confusion.

    I could see some people viewing this as censorship, but the intent was simply to convey the same idea as the Japanese -- this wasn't a question of changing an alcoholic beverage to a non-alcoholic beverage because I'm offended by the notion of a fictional one-year-old being given alcohol, but rather changing the name of a canonically non-alcoholic beverage to avoid making people think it is something that it's not.

    ...A fine line indeed!

    In this situation, if the original intent were indeed that Miracle Cider was an alcoholic beverage being given to your one-year-old sister because she loved it (the little lush!), I would've lobbied to keep the name as-is -- changing it, in that case, would have absolutely been an act of censorship. And that, I think, is the crux of the matter. It all comes down to intent -- are you trying to convey the same message as the Japanese, and just making changes in order to better get that message across? If so, then I wouldn't call those changes "censorship." Are you instead trying to "soften" the Japanese so it's less shocking/offensive to Westerners, and citing cultural differences as your reason to do so? If so, then I absolutely WOULD call those changes "censorship."

    Personally, I just think it's easier that way. It's... logical, I guess? If there are multiple versions of a game, how do you determine which is the "true" version? How do you determine which is the most accurate to the artists' original intent (assuming that's important to you)? You really can't... but you can always pick "the version with the most stuff in it" (whether that stuff be good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant). And as I consider censorship to be "the removal of stuff," that makes censored versions of games automatically inferior to their "more stuff" counterparts, in my mind.

    So the original work -- or enhanced editions which include everything from the original work + more -- is always superior to altered, edited works that lost some of that original content.

    Oh, yeah, just to clarify, I take no issue at all with companies censoring their content out of necessity. Sometimes, you just have no choice -- releasing the uncensored version of the game could get you an AO rating, which would prevent it from being sold by any major retailers or offered in any of the major platform holders' digital stores, which is more or less a death sentence for most publishers.

    Where I take issue is when a game would get an M or lower rating uncensored, but the publisher still chooses to censor it for moral reasons. Which is why whenever I discuss this issue, I always try to specify that I'm against "unnecessary censorship," as opposed to just "censorship."

    -Tom
     
  11. Ryos

    Ryos Active Member

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    I really, really wish companies did this rather than make the arbitrary decision to cut material to try and comply with some likely very limited law/sensibilities. Censorship in the case of Xenosaga 3, much like this would have been in Senran Kagura, DID affect the plot in a very noticeable/jarring way and especially in a series that clearly is not going for the E for Everyone demographic, it's just plain ludicrous what most companies seem to do to err on the side of caution in this age of increasingly absurd political correctness. Now AO material? That's another story as that IS warranted to have a product that can be sold in any meaningful way. But most of the changes that take place would certainly not be anywhere near that level of concern.


    I didn't read the linked article as closely earlier but I was unaware Tom got banned by NeoGAF for his rational comments on censorship. I just don't get how someone can link a disdain for unneeded censorship for the sake of censorship to some kind of loli fetish but that's NeoGAF for you...
     
  12. Terro

    Terro Well-Known Member

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    @Tom: I'm pretty sure the Mika thing was another Persona/Fire Emblem cut, where it's cut from ALL versions. It's so hypocritical, because go take a look at Chun Li's DLC bonus costume. The video for it (and angles) honestly, are more fanssrvicey than Mika slapping her butt. With Mika though, although made for theale gaze (of course) has an attitude and a crushing butt... I see that slap as as something that more empowers her :p Not trying to over analyze it, but when something like that being cut instead of Chun Li's fanssrvicey angled costume, and yeah :p Cammy has always been worse too!

    @Ryos: What was cut on Xenosaga?
    (As for GAF, I stick in my safe spaces subforums on there. I don't even reveal my gender, so it's kind of funny that a bunch of guys sticking up for women, just assume people are guys on their own forum :p Ah well, no point in correcting...)
     
  13. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh, is it? Well, if that's the case, then I'm honestly OK with it -- the game's not out yet, right? Which means it will have never officially existed with that butt-slap in place, the butt-slap having basically been an alpha/beta feature that was cut before launch.

    Regardless of the reason for it being removed, if it didn't make the final cut, that's the developers' prerogative.

    -Tom
     
  14. Terro

    Terro Well-Known Member

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    ^ However, they did it because of having a western view in mind. SFV is more user-friendly and they are trying to appeal to a wider, international audience. I would still consider it a form of censorship, since it is still a fear-driven tjing, not that they weren't fans of it in any sort of artistic reasoning. Ono recently discussed it, and it really is a cut for our sake's in a sense.
     
  15. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    As long as it applies to all versions of the game, though, I'm still OK with it. Art reflects the society in which it's created, so when art is in development, it's only natural for some degree of self-censorship to occur. As long as this self-censorship occurs during the design process, NOT after release, I take no issue with it.

    My beef is solely with titles that were released uncensored, then later had unnecessary or specifically solicited censorship applied to them by or on behalf of a third-party publisher. In other words, censorship that deprives one region of the experience another region was given.

    And that doesn't apply when no regions were ever actually given that experience. Capcom's only error here was showing that scene in a movie they released publicly, thus building some degree of expectation for it. If no one had ever seen it, then no one would be any the wiser.

    -Tom
     
  16. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, people have been saying it's censorship', and well, it's just an internal design change, it's not like it's version specific, and regardless, you can still tell what's happening, just doesn't weirdly frame it as one of the camera's focal points.
    It's the kind of thing I imagine a bunch of people in the office have seen and gone "that's kinda stupid, why is it in there?"

    Although, a friendly jab about the whole thing came out yesterday. Which made me laugh.
    Oh, definitely, this is the worst. Especially as it often doesn't even make any sense. Or baffling things like Youkai Watch which could a whole discussion in of itself when they remove all cultural-specific references despite clearly being set in a particular place. Where the only sort of weird logic you can draw is that they think kids (the target audience) are exceedingly stupid and won't understand or don't want to know anything about other places in the world?
     
  17. Ryos

    Ryos Active Member

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    Going off of what I know was censored for the series, Xenosaga episode 1:

    Albedo's probing of Momo because somehow someone apparently decided that Momo's reaction was such that this was some kind of weird fisting scene instead of the painfully invasive scene it was meant to be. I actually don't have much of an issue with this one, considering the original scene looked pretty odd.

    Xenosaga episode 3:

    Any and all bleeding in cutscenes. All while you very well know the characters have been injured, often fatally so. There are two scenes off the top of my head that are horribly ruined by this and I reaaaaaally don't think blood would have tipped the game from T to M, which was the justification for the censorship.
     
  18. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Xenosaga episode 2 had a shower scene censored, too, if I'm not mistaken. So all three games got a little bit of censorship.

    Regarding episode 3's removal of blood, though, the ESRB actually used to be *really* picky about blood -- much more so than they are now, it seems -- so it actually might have pushed the game from T to M.

    ...Personally, though, I'd've just taken the M rating. M-rated games require a little extra care when advertising and such, but generally don't have any negative effect on sales.

    -Tom
     
  19. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, now it seems mostly more restricted to certain countries being super-picky about it.

    I still remember at least one game where the localisers where surprised when they didn't an M, they got a T instead. They still don't know why.
     
  20. Dancougar

    Dancougar New Member

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    I'll look at it mane

    Whats the full name?




    Yes because people who get annoyed at hipsters peddling outrage culture for status signaling and clicks are just as bad for standing up to their stupidity. Case in point Jim Sterling and laura Kate dale were wrong for strongarming a game dev to change the name of a game because it had the word tranny in the title but the trans people who were saying it was wrong for Sterling and Dale to try to speak for all transsexuals is wrong?
     

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