Continuing the trend of censorship that seems to be permeating the video game industry at the moment, Square Enix’s Star Ocean 5 is the latest title to be brought into question. An interview with 4Gamer revealed that the prominence of censorship debates led to the decision to alter the clothing of Fiore, a prominent character in Star Ocean 5.
“Recently there’s been a trend in games where if you put out a character that shows a lot of skin, later on you might have to make a lot of revisions, ‘although she’s erotic, there’s not a lot of skin showing’ is the feeling you get. In fact, it got a rating of C by CERO.”
“Recently, there’s been a lot of flak from overseas countries saying that if you put teens in ‘sexual’ underwear it’s not good, so we increased the amount of clothing.”
This marks a rather unique event in which Western perception has altered the release of a Japanese title. Japanese fans have not taken too kindly to this outcome, and perhaps reasonably so. Cultural perceptions on any given matter will vary wildly, so to censor a Japanese game by Western perceptions seems like an odd choice. The change is not a major one, and the game will still play out in an identical manner, so the censorship is not a significant issue in and of itself, but the cultural dissonance that led to the decision is certainly worth reflecting upon.
Star Ocean 5: integrity and Faithlessness is set to launch on March 31st in Japan, with a Western release scheduled for summer this year. Perhaps this change was made to streamline the localization process, but larger changes have been made in similar timeframes.