The Spectre of Censorship
The baleful spectre of censorship follows Gust wherever they go, and for good reason. They were adamant that August’s release of Fairy Tail would see no censorship, and then on release day they pulled a switcharoo by releasing a patch that censored pantsu out of the game. This patch censored all versions of the game, and not just the Soystation version. For many that was the pantsu that broke the waifu’s crack, and everything the company put out was now suspect. Gust’s reputation for self-censorship is well-earned, and now the spectre of said censorship is casting a long shadow over the release of Atelier Ryza 2, the sequel to the game that coined the term thicc thighs save lives!
Again, Gust have been adamant that Atelier Ryza 2 would face no censorship in the West, but then on October 7 something curious happened. Sony and Nintendo both released adverts for Atelier Ryza 2, but one of these adverts was not like the other. The Nintendo version of the advert was completely normal, while the Soyny version had strategically placed dust clouds obscuring all the female butts. Again, Gust were adamant that no censorship would be present in the Western release of the game:
Message to fans
Despite the differences in Atelier Ryza 2 promotional videos recently shown at TGS, we want to assure fans that the game itself will not be censored in the West. We hope everyone is looking forward to the upcoming adventure!
Okay, fair enough, good that has all been cleared up, right? Well, not so much. This week the Producer of Atelier Ryza 2, Junzo Hosoi, came out and spoke very warmly of the practice of woke censorship for Western releases of games:
The GUST team do not see the need to edit a title for another culture or country as something necessarily bad, we do not have any bad or negative opinions particularly on this. Each country has their own unique culture and it really depends on what type of story the director, producer, or creator wants to infuse in the title – sometimes it might not work for every culture.
He subsequently clarified that he did not mean this specifically in relation to Atelier Ryza 2, but this is some pretty fucked messaging to be sending an audience that you have already broken faith with. The Switch version of Atelier Ryza 2 is probably fine, but anyone interested in playing it might just want to hold off on their purchase until first impressions are in. Anyone buying the PS4 version will likely get what they deserve.
Legendary Director Leaves Playstation
TDT has previously covered a Bloomberg report on Playstation, where Californian Playstation employees spoke about how unimportant the Japanese market was to them, and it was revealed that Japan Studio was being dramatically downsized through Playstation of California’s decision not to renew any employee contracts for their Japanese employees. This week Playstation boss Jim Ryan hit back at this report, rejecting it as false:
The Sony stance is that the Japanese market remains incredibly important to us. We have not been as excited about the engagement of the Japanese game development community as we are now for many years.
In our two launch shows – which featured a reasonable amount of games, but not a huge number of games – there were eight Japanese-developed titles there, many of which are the subject of collaboration and partnership between PlayStation and the Japanese publishing community.
I’d also observe that we’re making a statement by launching in Japan day and date with the US, and that is not what we did with PS4. So I read that stuff. A lot of that commentary is inaccurate, and Japan – as our second largest market and as Sony’s homeland – continues to be really important to us.
Jim Ryan’s argument here seems to hinge upon the fact that Final Fantasy is going to be on Playstation and Resident Evil is going to be on Playstation, and so Playstation is just as committed to Japan as it ever was – as though any sane company would turn away multi-million dollar franchises like Final Fantasy and Resident Evil. To assess a company’s commitment to a region, look not to their treatment of the big fish in that region, but instead to the way that it treats the smaller, more expendable developers in that region. Are Sony investing in the developers of Japan, or are they selling out the ground from beneath them? The answer to this question is of course self-evident, as Sony has taken every opportunity to fuck over Japanese third party developers.
This week legendary director Keiichiro Toyama has left Sony’s Japan Studio to found his own studio, Bokeh Game Studio. Toyama is the creator of Silent Hill, and has also served as the director for the Gravity Rush and Forbidden Siren franchises. Toyama will be taking with him two other developers from Japan Studion, Sato Kazunobu and Junya Okura. Jim Ryan would like people to believe that this turn of events has nothing to with the circumstances listed in the Bloomberg report, when it lines up perfectly with what was alleged to be happening. It would seem that even the more senior Japan Studios employees have not been spared Playstation of California’s vindictive wrath. Toyama has released a statement on the nature of his exit from Sony, and it really does not take much effort to read between the lines:
I left my longtime company Sony Interactive Entertainment, Inc. and established a new production studio with my own company.
Looking back on my inner life, nothing has changed since I entered the industry, and I want users to enjoy playing games based on original ideas. And I want to enjoy making these games myself. That’s all I want to do. Thanks to you, we have been able to release many titles. However, in recent years, the game entertainment industry has been growing at an accelerated pace on a global scale, and has been undergoing dramatic changes. In order to continue my passion for the industry, I felt that I needed to make a big change, which led me to the decision to go independent.
So Toyama is basically saying that nothing has changed in his approach to making games since he began working for Sony, but that global industry changes have necessitated his departure from Sony; or, put another way, ‘It’s not me, it’s you’. It does not take a great deal of insight to read between the lines here, and it lines up perfectly with the Bloomberg report, along with all the other punitive actions that Sony of California have been making towards the Japanese people – and yet Jim Ryan expects everyone to believe that the Bloomberg report was just misinformation. That is because Jim Ryan assumes his audience to be comprised of suggestible idiots, while at the same time he considers himself to be a very smurt cookie indeed.
Persona 5 Strikers to get Western Release, DQXI gets Delisted
Several weeks ago on the podcast we reported that Persona 5 Strikers was absent from Koei Tecmo’s forward estimates, which boded extremely poorly for the game’s Western release. It would seem that there was nothing to worry about after all, as a leaked trailer has revealed that the game will release of February 23 in the West for the Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS4. It is very curious that the game was absent from Koei Tecmo’s forward budgetary estimates, as they were the primary developers of the title. Granted, the game is being published by Atlus, but even so one would assume that Koei Tecmo would be in line for some sort of royalty payment.
It is also interesting to see the effect that the success of Persona 4‘s Steam port has had on Atlus’ release plans for the game, which also goes some way in explaining why the Western localisation was so belated. Persona 5 Strikers was released on 20th of February 2020 for the Switch and PS4, but for its 23rd of February 2021 Western release a PC Steam release has been added to the mix, which likely delayed the game’s Western release some. This is very good news for PC gamers who enjoy playing JRPGs, as it bodes quite well for PC releases going forward.
In other news, with the release of Dragon Quest XI Definitive Edition on non-Nintendo platforms on December 4, Square Enix has now delisted the standard version of Dragon Quest XI from purchase, which kind of highlights the importance of physical media. To be clear, on balance the Definitive Edition is the best version of the game to buy because of the added features, and Square Enix no doubt does not wish to confuse customers by offering multiple versions of the game. That being said, the Definitive Edition is based on the Switch version of the game, which has some graphical cutbacks compared to the original PS4 and PC versions of the game. It is only because of physical media that the original graphical presentation of the game has been preserved, and this is the sort of thing that will be at risk in an all digital future.