Censorship Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Censorship RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Agony Is Getting Censored After All ... but Wait Until You See What's Been Left In https://www.gameskinny.com/paeo8/agony-is-getting-censored-after-all-but-wait-until-you-see-whats-been-left-in https://www.gameskinny.com/paeo8/agony-is-getting-censored-after-all-but-wait-until-you-see-whats-been-left-in Tue, 29 May 2018 13:05:25 -0400 Ty Arthur

There's no question Agony was sold on the strength of its boundary-pushing content, taking place directly in hell and featuring eye-popping visuals that merge sexuality and torment in a way that would make Giger proud.

Fans who have been around since the crowdfunding campaign are in for a bit of an unpleasant surprise, though, as it appears there will be some censorship on the finished product after all.

Agony's Uncensored Patch Gets Nixed

This news mostly affects the PC crowd, as console versions were always going to have to be toned down to get approval from Microsoft and Sony (much like Conan: Exiles losing its flapping genitals during character creation on the console editions).

 There's still plenty of bloody bits in unexpected places, though ...

While you can get away with more on Steam than on Xbox One or PS4, the megalithic PC gaming platform still has certain content that is considered taboo -- as many visual novel developers recently discovered when their game was placed under review or booted off the service.

Steam fans were expecting an official patch to be made available straight from the developers to get the full Adults Only-rating content. There was good reason to expect this, as Madmind Studios repeatedly stated such a patch was coming in official backer news updates and general forum posts.

At the 11th hour, that plan has been axed entirely. There's no patch coming, and some content will never be added back into the game for you to experience first-hand.

As you would expect, the Steam forums have exploded with angry fans claiming they will refund and even directing other players to lodge complaints with the FTC for false advertising.

What's In and What's Out

Before you start calling the local Better Business Bureau to complain about the reduced vagina count in hell, there is some good news.

It turns out there's less reason to be angry than you'd expect, considering what is making it into the final product. According to a statement from Madmind, all of this content made it past the censors into the launch version on Steam:

  • Gore
  • Brutal Sex Scenes
  • Lesbian and Gay Sex Scenes
  • Genital Physics
  • Eye Gouging
  • Heart Plucking
  • Children Heads Exploding
  • Setting Fire to Martyrs and Demons
  • Intense Violence
  • Strong Language
  • Drugs

Whew ... that's quite a checklist, and honestly, I didn't ever expect to see all those words go together in the same place before! So what exactly got culled out? According to that same statement from Madmind Studios:

Firstly, we have managed to include a lot of things that we originally wanted to provide in the patch in the final game. It has been accepted by PEGI and other rating companies. The censorship now affects only several seconds from two endings (out of seven) and some scenes that may be unlocked only after the end of the game.

How to View Agony's Censored Content

SECOND UPDATE: A new version of the video is now available for streaming or direct download from the developer right here.

UPDATE: The removed content video was uploaded to YouTube... and then promptly removed for (obviously) violating their standards. We'll get this updated when it goes live on some other service. How Madmind didn't see that coming is beyond baffling.

Having mercy on all us deviant psychopaths who need to witness the horrors of a sexed-up hell, Madmind announced all the cut content will be made available in a video clip.

In other words, it appears we can officially put down the pitchforks and torches. While you won't get to play it in-game, you can still see everything that was cut.

Right now the big question is just where it will be hosted. If this content caused the game to get the dreaded Adults Only rating, obviously YouTube isn't going to have it, so expect a different video hosting service.

As soon as that clip goes live, we will update this article with the exact location where you can see it, so check back soon!

In the meantime, check out our other Agony guides here for info on how to navigate the bowels of hell and possess martyrs while escaping evil succubi.

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East to West: The Major Differences in Game Releases Based on Geographic Locations https://www.gameskinny.com/w75lm/east-to-west-the-major-differences-in-game-releases-based-on-geographic-locations https://www.gameskinny.com/w75lm/east-to-west-the-major-differences-in-game-releases-based-on-geographic-locations Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:40:40 -0500 Sarah Elliman

Ever since video games started being released internationally, developers have been changing or removing certain pieces of content. These changes usually end up being cosmetic only, with some larger changes required depending on the region,and the most common things to be changed are depictions of violence, sex or nudity, and religious content. However, it's not just games released in the US that end up changed. Japan, Europe, and some Middle Eastern countries adapt releases to suit their particular cultures or needs as well.

Censorship or Localization?

Many games go through a variety of changes when they are released for different areas. These are often minute changes to fit the cultural differences between the areas they are being released. The changes do not mean that a game is censored, however; it's more that they are localized for that specific region.

Censorship means that there is a suppression or prohibition of parts from a game and other forms of expression, such as books or films, whereas localizing a game is the process by which a company adapts something to be local in character. So, in other words, "localisation is not outright censorship, but merely adapting a piece of work," while censorship deals more with the suppression of thought and ideas.

With that in mind, a lot of games that move between regions fall under the category of localization, rather than censorship. These changes are typically made because of cultural differences, tragic circumstances in the region, or for religious purposes. Some regions may have issues with nudity, with North America being one of the major regions where this change is made, alongside Middle Eastern areas, such as Saudi Arabia.

Or the culture could have issues with certain religious depictions, and these are changed in the localization process to fit that region's perspective. It doesn’t restrict free speech, as it doesn’t tend to restrict ideas, but change certain cosmetic effects to fit the sensibilities of the region.

Nudity and Sex

This is one of the major aspects of video games changed for all sorts of launches. It is especially true of releases in North American and Middle Eastern nations, since they tend to have a greater aversion to nudity, rather than other things like violence, but other nations aren't always happy with certain depictions of sexual content.

Cover-Ups

You can find numerous examples of localization changes made for American releases when it comes to sex and nudity, especially with a series like Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI were games that were changed for American releases by removing anything risqué. For example, the town dancers in bikinis were covered up with leotards in Final Fantasy IV, and all nudity was covered up for the Espers in Final Fantasy VI. More recent games were localized for nudity and sex too. Games like Indigo Prophecy and The Witcher had graphic sex scenes removed, and most of the nudity was removed as well, unless the scene happened to be integral to the story.

The FFIV remake, however, stuck to the original intention for the dancer's design.

Although countries such as Japan are more open about nudity and sex in video games, that doesn't mean every instance is permissible. GTA V, for example, was changed for Korean and Japanese launches, removing or modifying a lot of controversial sex and nudity. However, the examples and instances where this is changed for Japanese audiences are fewer by far compared to North America.

Why Bother?

So why is there a massive difference between places like North America and Japan when it comes to sex and nudity? 

There is a substantial cultural difference between Japan and America, which explains the frequent level of localization between the two countries. Culturally, Americans are more sensitive to nudity, and sex is a particularly sensitive topic. The 2015 Parents Ratings Advisory Study showed that 80% of Americans studied were more concerned with sex scenes in films than violence. This was a study predominantly looking at films; however, considering the gaming medium's similarities with the film industry, the concepts involved are still closely linked.

There is not the same stigma in Japan and European countries, especially regarding female nudity. My own experience can attest to that. When I was working in a gaming store, a woman wanted to bring back a copy of GTA V that she had bought for her 8-year-old son. She told me she knew about the violence in it, but didn’t realize there was nudity and brought it straight back. Whereas traveling through Europe, I saw many of the beaches throughout Europe are topless, and the Scandinavian spas normally have a clothing optional policy. Being in Spain at the moment, I see even their advertisements featuring full-frontal nudity, as long as they air after the watershed.

Religion

Religion is another reason why games can be altered, because religion is central to lives of those who worship, regardless of the creed. Insulting or demeaning someone's religion, even without meaning to, can send people into a fury and cause backlash against the company.

Holy [Censored] Batman!

One issue that caused mass controversy was the design of Hindu gods in SMITE, especially Kali. The Hindu community in India was not pleased with the representation of their goddess and asked Hi-Rez to make changes. The developer eventually removed Kali from the website, but not much more. 

Kali is an important goddess within the Hindu community, and some sects worships Kali as the ultimate goddess or the true form of Brahman. She is the goddess of death, time, and sexuality, but has always had strong roots in motherhood too.  Hi-Rez didn't want to issue a statement on their removal of Kali from the website, but the Hindu community is still pressing for their other gods to be removed as well. 

However, Hi-Rez's Todd Howard believed that:

Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer.

Although this opinion suggests that Todd Howard would have preffered not to remove the gods altogether, the Hindu community still wants their gods to be removed from the game. Rajan Zed, a Hindu statesmen and the President of Universal Society of Hinduism said that the removal of Kali from the website was "a 'step in the right direction,' thanking Hi-Rez Studios for being so understanding."

Games like CoD 4 have been banned in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because of the perceived negative presentation of Arabs, along with passages from the Qur'an being added into the game. Since the games are banned outright, these issues come under censorship, rather than localization. But the religion and culture of these places will not permit these offenses, so it also relates to localization and shows how the two are often closely connected. 

The Devil in the Details

It isn't just the Middle Eastern and Asian worlds affected by religious imagery in video games. Many localization changes from Japan to America change the religious imagery presented as well.

Religious imagery had to be removed in games like Final Fantasy IV and Super Castlevania IV. Any references to Christianity in FFIV were removed, including Holy, and religious imagery and all references to prayer were taken out or altered, such as the Tower of Prayer being changed to The Tower of Wishes. Even direct references to death were taken out.

The other early Castlevania games were no different, with a lot of crosses taken out of the North American release, among other things. The only piece of religious imagery to stay throughout Castlevania was a piece of rosary that was integral to the game and it's overall image.

There was also the infamous chanting debate surrounding the Fire Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There has been some controversy about what happened with the Fire Temple and whether the chanting was removed from the game before release. It has always been argued that the chanting was removed to avoid religious controversy, along with changing the original Gerudo symbol--which resembled the Islamic crescent and star--over misusing religious elements. Continuing with the Zelda series, but on a smaller scale,the Bible was turned into the Book of Magic, even though Link's shield retained its cross.

Violence

Violence is another aspect of video games that is often changed for releases. However, we mainly tend to see  North American games being changed to accommodate European and Middle Eastern standards of what constitutes over-the-top violence.

Some interesting examples of these changes relate to North American games released in Japan. Games like Crash Bandicoot 2 and The Last of Us were altered for their gratuitous violence. One of the death scenes was altered for Crash, where he was just a squashed head and feet, as it resembled the work of a serial killer in Japan at the time. The Last of Us was mainly altered in multiplayer to remove any dismemberment or exploding heads. The change doesn't feature in the main story, and the dismemberment is obscured and covered by camera angles, rather then removed.

Other games, like Manhunt, were banned for their excessive violence in a variety of different countries, from the East to places like the United Kingdom.  Germany has strict rules for their games, as decided by the USK, that limit the amount of blood and gore that is visible in their video games. (The USK "is the officially recognized institution responsible for the classification of computer and video games in Germany.") For example, the German version of Team Fortress 2 has no blood or detached body parts shown as part of the required regulations for the game. The USK is responsible for the protection of children and youths particularly in the gaming industry and the content they are available to see.

One theory for Germany's censure of video games is that:

due to its history and a cohesive nation opinion, the legislature limits content severely, much more severely than the surrounding European nation.

This is why the USK exists, as the general consensus of those living in Germany is to limit profanity and violence in video games.

You Decide

Perhaps all these changes are limiting our gaming experience and we're putting too much pressure on the companies. Yet some also argue that many of these changes are purely cosmetic and do not alter the story. However, one anti-censorship opinion is "it is no one’s responsibility but yourself to determine what is offensive or not."  Video game development is a business, though, and companies, at all cost, want to avoid backlash, since it is much better for business if they aren't involved in a major scandal. In the end, there are multiple sides to the story that make it difficult to arrive at an easy answer. 

Do you think that games should be changed at all? Or is it not worth worrying about? Let us know in the comments!

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Digital Homicide Drops $18M Lawsuit, Cites Financial Difficulties https://www.gameskinny.com/x7gk9/digital-homicide-drops-18m-lawsuit-cites-financial-difficulties https://www.gameskinny.com/x7gk9/digital-homicide-drops-18m-lawsuit-cites-financial-difficulties Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:43:16 -0400 Jared Elliott

Digital Homicide co-founder James Romine has filed a motion to dismiss his $18M lawsuit against 100 Steam users who left negative comments about the developer's games and business practices.

The lawsuit was met with intense scrutiny from members of the gaming community after its initial filing last month--especially Valve, who dropped all Digital Homicide products from Steam in light of the incident. Within the filed document, Romine reveals that Digital Homicide was "destroyed completely" following Valve's response.

Romine dedicated a GoFundMe page to the lawsuit, requesting support from would-be patrons to finance a lawsuit, which, evidently, his studio could not afford to begin with. Of the $75,000 requested in Romine's fundraiser, only $450 was donated in support of Digital Homicide's cause.

Valve's swift and decisive actions to protect its customers have sent a clear message to Digital Homicide and developers of similar ilk--consumers should never face intimidation for exercising their freedom of speech, regardless of its financial impact on producers or the sometimes-unsavory nature of its execution. 

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Valve is the Champion of Open Discourse that We Desperately Need https://www.gameskinny.com/fogmh/valve-is-the-champion-of-open-discourse-that-we-desperately-need https://www.gameskinny.com/fogmh/valve-is-the-champion-of-open-discourse-that-we-desperately-need Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:30:24 -0400 Jared Elliott

It is no secret that negative opinions of popular games and movies are met with hostility in this day and age. Critics of the Ghostbusters reboot, Suicide Squad, Virginia, and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, for example, have been accused of a litany of transgressions ranging from misogyny and racism to purposeful malice.

This trend was demonstrated most recently by development studio Digital Homicide, who initiated aggressive litigation against reviewers and commenters who expressed negative opinions about their products on Steam. The most notable action taken was the filing of a subpoena which demands the identities of 100 users who submitted negative or hateful comments. Valve responded by removing all Digital Homicide products from Steam.

This is not the first time Digital Homicide has attacked the freedom of individuals to voice their opinions. YouTuber and frequent Digital Homicide critic Jim Sterling has been hounded by the developer for several months now, with doxxing and dubious YouTube takedown requests reportedly taking place against him on a regular basis.

Digital Homicide contends that the Steam forums were not properly moderated, which led to an unsafe business environment and caused "very large... emotional and punitive" damages to the company. The company even claims on their lawsuit's GoFundMe page that it is unable to afford an attorney due to these damages. The great irony of this situation is that Digital Homicide filed its incredibly broad subpoena while most certainly anticipating the legal costs which would arise as a result -- but that's a story for another time.

To be fair, many comments left by Steam users could be considered crass, uncalled for, and even violent -- yet, whether or not these untoward comments caused tortious damages deserving of legal action against anonymous users is another question entirely. As far as their position with Steam is concerned, Valve was happy to answer that question with a swift, judicial rap of its own gavel.

This series of unfortunate events places Valve in an ever-shrinking and increasingly criticized community of individuals who believe that freedom of speech is not only an inherent right for all, but also necessary to protect consumers from misrepresentation of products and to encourage consistent improvement in the gaming and movie industries in general. In other words, it seems that Valve understands that critical opinions are necessary for continuing improvement and quality as a whole. The popular YouTuber Cr1TiKaL mentioned this same point in a recent video, admittedly in a more entertaining fashion:

The most revealing statement made by Digital Games amid this fiasco can be found on their own GoFundMe page, in which they characterize "hundreds of posts of negativity" as "attacks" and "false statements," which supposedly rendered all of their hard work moot:

Within a matter of hours hundreds of posts of negativity can be seen annihilating the marketability of the game leaving the developer who may have spent months and years on that particular game with an eviscerated husk. We barely survived initial onslaughts of these attacks and were just about to break through to success when the false statements obliterated us.

If anything, the above statement exemplifies this climate of censorship and misrepresentation, which encourages blame for failure to be assigned to the opinions of consumers, rather than the quality of the product itself. It may be cliché, but the old adage "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen" was never more relevant. Rather than taking the heat or simply leaving the kitchen, however, it appears that Digital Homicide would rather throw gasoline over a flaming grill and blame the dishwashers for getting burned.

There is a desperate need for corporations like Valve -- those who promote and protect criticism, rather than attempt to drown dissent with vast amounts of money, witch hunting, and legal intimidation. This is because consumers have not only a right, but an obligation to other consumers to voice their opinions about products on which they spend their time and money, regardless of their position. If we keep negative criticisms to ourselves, we condemn the future of movies and video games to the whims of popular opinion, which can be bought, sold, and manipulated by developers and publishers with disturbing ease.

I had second thoughts about voicing my opinion on the Digital Homicide matter, considering the state of current affairs and their apparent willingness to sue anyone they find threatening -- but, taking my own advice above, I decided that fear of retribution is never a justifiable reason to stay silent. I encourage readers to realize the same for themselves, because it is the only way that we can collectively ensure a bright future for the industries to which we have dedicated so much of our time and attention. Thanks to Valve, we're off to a good start.

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#YouTubeIsOverParty - What happened, and what alternatives are available https://www.gameskinny.com/v0c4d/youtubeisoverparty-what-happened-and-what-alternatives-are-available https://www.gameskinny.com/v0c4d/youtubeisoverparty-what-happened-and-what-alternatives-are-available Fri, 02 Sep 2016 11:02:37 -0400 David Fisher

Seemingly overnight, YouTube's reputation on the internet has dropped from being a beloved platform for user created content to a dastardly policing force. This change in opinion comes after numerous YouTube channels were hit with notifications stating that they were taking away ad revenue for various videos. The reasons for taking down monetization varied depending on videos, but the trend has specifically been hitting videos that fell under the following criteria - according to YouTube's policy on ad revenue:

Content that is considered "not advertiser-friendly" includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
  • Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown

If any of the above describes any portion of your video, then the video may not be approved for monetization. If monetization is approved, your video may not be eligible for all available ad formats. YouTube reserves the right to not monetize a video, as well as suspend monetization features on channels that repeatedly submit videos violating our policies.

Regardless of what one's views are, YouTube's right to enforce these policies that have been around for just over a year now is absolute. Like it or not, YouTube reserves every right to enforce it.

No one can deny that these came on without warning, and it will surely have an impact on anyone who uses YouTube as a main source of income. However, YouTubers have been noticing a bit of a trend in who gets money and who doesn't. This has resulted in a point of contention that has been brought up multiple times since the wave of monetization seizures: censorship.

Censorship vs. Business Rights

The painful truth at the end of the day is that YouTube is not your friend. It is a business set on maximizing its profits. Since YouTube content creators are not employees the payments between YouTube and its creators is more akin to a favor than a debt. Put in plain terms: YouTube owes you nothing, and it is well within their rights to strip you of this 'favor'. It's a harsh reality, but reality rarely isn't.

It is also impossible to argue that YouTube is actively unjustly censoring anyone. As stated, it is well within their rights, and technically nothing is being censored. The reality is: YouTubers are not being censored because they are not having their videos taken down - they are simply not getting paid anymore. Anyone who argues that this is censorship is fighting an uphill battle that cannot be won. That said, this doesn't mean that users aren't being censored indirectly.

All of this is best explained by one of the first newsbreakers of the YouTube monetization shutdown, Philip DeFranco, in the video below.

For those who enjoy reading more than watching videos, the gist of the situation is that individual newsgroups and smaller channels get seriously impacted by this change. While many larger YouTube stars can simply laugh it off and defend it, those who have yet to make it big - in subscriptions or funding - cannot. Many of these smaller channels rely on the income from advertisers to stay online, and not receiving this money could mean being shut down.

Image taken by David Fisher; all rights reserved.

What could simply be nickels and dimes to a larger YouTube channel could mean continuing or ending a career in YouTube skits for a smaller one...

To make matters worse, according to DeFranco there are still advertisements running on major news groups' channels. He gives the example of a CNN broadcast which featured a boy with literally half of his face missing where the advertisement is still clearly seen in the top-right.

This is where we do see an indirect form of censorship. If it can be proven that YouTube is actively shutting down certain ad revenue sources for indie newsgroups that don't follow the mainstream narrative, then that would be considered active censorship. Even if YouTube uses a bot that goes through channels searching for media that can't be advertised under their policy, that would be considered censorship.

Understandably, it may not be clear to all at face value how this could be considered censorship. The reason is that indie news channels that broadcast on YouTube tend to show undoctored clips or alternative views that help build a fuller truth than what gets reported in the news. Not paying these smaller newsgroups means they cannot support themselves, and as such they rather have to lower their rate of posting videos or simply shut down. It is not active censorship, but it could be considered as a form of censoring in a very cloak-and-dagger way.

It hurts more than the madness of politics too...

YouTube user boogie2988 has posted several videos on the topic of suicide in the past. These videos contain various topics dealing with suicide such as suggestions for methods of dealing with suicidal thoughts, the Amanda Todd case, and other such topics. According to boogie2988 these videos recently lost their monetization status as well, and it has actually caused major problems for him.

According to boogie2988, a YouTuber who is well known for his suicide prevention videos, he is quote: "fucked." The reason is that despite his Patreon, sponsorships, and otherwise, YouTube revenue is still a very important part of maintaining his channel.

boogie2988 is already known as a person who not only discusses suicide, but also deals with mental and physical health issues that lead to suicidal tendencies as well. He states that many of his videos break the guidelines set by YouTube - even for those he does not mention suicide in. This is due to offensive language, vulgar language, and even violence in the slightest being "non-advertiser friendly."

While boogie2988 understands that it is likely a bot that is taking down the monetization rights for these videos, and that these were likely put in place to shut down extremist political channels, he believes it is an unfair method as it puts innocent people in the crosshairs as well.

So What Can We Do?

What's next is a question that undoubtedly comes to the minds of anyone affected by this. The obvious answer is to boycott, but YouTube has become such an influential and almost necessary service that it is difficult to turn it down. That said, YouTube creators currently have a chance to make a difference.

The first step would be to make YouTube aware of its flawed system. If enough users make it clear, send in complaints, and so on then YouTube will have to revise its plans - else suffer the consequences. What consequences? Well none other than a mass exodus, of course.

VidMe has already taken advantage of the situation by posting this advertisement calling out YouTube for its failures. While VidMe does not currently offer monetization, it has certainly made it clear with this video that its stance on any form of censorship or guidelines is a liberal approach in the most literal sense of the word.

There are, however, many websites that do provide monetization offers for their creators. Several of these services that work similar to YouTube include: Facebook, Matomy, and AdSense. While they don't work exactly the same in all cases, services such as Matomy and Adsense allow users to add advertisements to their videos hosted on their own website. Many of these services give better rates than YouTube as well, and adngin has compiled a list of ones that are worth checking out.

Closing Thoughts...

Without a doubt, this new policy and its subsequent enforcement will undoubtedly drive some content creators away. Maybe it will even push away some of the more proactive protesters out there. But will it affect anything? Probably not.

The reason is simple: YouTube is a monolithic monopoly. It is a service that has reached near necessity for anyone looking to do anything on the internet. In fact, even if millions of users left YouTube on a valiant attempt to take down the "monster" that it has become, it would only leave a superficial scratch on the platform's numbers as it has billions of users that log in daily.

Image taken from The Transporter 3

YouTube's virtual monopoly pretty much holds YouTubers and content creators at gunpoint as the lack of well-received alternatives are hard to come by...

Any threats made by YouTube stars are in vain at best. Like it or not, they'll wind up crawling back one way or another unless they can form some sort of movement that will seriously impact YouTube's service. One such method would involving getting just about every single popular YouTuber to pull from the site for a period of a month upwards. It's not exactly plausible, nor is it practical to do.

Maybe in time we'll find a way to make YouTube obsolete. Maybe we'll find a way to make YouTube offer fairer ad revenue guidelines. Until then we're stuck with it - for better or worse. But hey, at least us gamers still have Twitch, right?

What do you think about YouTube's new enforcement strategy? Will you stop producing content for YouTube due to these changes? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

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Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni will not be censored according to PQube https://www.gameskinny.com/n1tzh/valkyrie-drive-bhikkuni-will-not-be-censored-according-to-pqube https://www.gameskinny.com/n1tzh/valkyrie-drive-bhikkuni-will-not-be-censored-according-to-pqube Tue, 12 Jul 2016 04:46:21 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

During the announcement that Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni would be localized for North America and Europe, there was a small confirmation that the game would not be censored like recent games, such as Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Today on DualSHOCKERS, it was revealed that Valkyrie Drive will not be censored by PQube's PR Executive, Peter Nathaniel Fury (no relation to Nick Fury). However, they also expressed their opinions and concerns regarding the recent censorship.

In the email sent to DualSHOCKERS, he went on to say the following:

We generally don’t take on these kinds of projects if we’re not confident we can release it in the west without cutting or changing content. Changing the source material kind of defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place, so that is not something we even consider unless we literally have no other options. In terms of platform holders and ratings boards, you’d be surprised what you can get away with. Gal*Gun: Double Peace passed quite painlessly for example.

He went on to say how some retailers may be hesitant to take the game, and the process does involve trying to convince every retailer to do so. This involves both sales numbers and how to present the game, and he describes the executives "might be in their 50’s and don’t play or particularly care about games." It might seem things could go well due to how successful Senran Kagura was anyway, though one also has to remember that in Valkyrie Drive, there are two characters who are sisters, thus involving a bit of incest.

They also confirm that the game will feature Japanese voiceovers, with English subtitles. Any nudity will still be censored by glowing flashes similar to how Senran Kagura: Shinovi and Estival Versus handled it, kinda like this:

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni is set for a English release on the PlayStation Vita both digitally and physically in 2016.

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Tokyo Mirage Session #FE's Co-Director disappointed with censored NA Localization https://www.gameskinny.com/lft1k/tokyo-mirage-session-fes-co-director-disappointed-with-censored-na-localization https://www.gameskinny.com/lft1k/tokyo-mirage-session-fes-co-director-disappointed-with-censored-na-localization Sat, 09 Jul 2016 09:33:34 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

Despite it's positive reception from cirtics, JRPG fans have been a little disappointed with Tokyo Mirage Session #FE. While some justy felt the game wasn't as good as they hoped it would be, others where much more critical of the game's localization changes, particularly when it came to changes made to various outfits for female characters in order to make them less revealing -- and the other numerous changes made for censorship reasons.

The Video Above shows a lot of the changes made to Tokyo Mirage Session #FE for it's Western Release. Even Co-Director Mitsuru Hirata has shown disappointment with the game's North American changes. Responding to a fan who expressed issues with the US Localization of the game on Twitter, Hirata stated with the following:

“When I found out we were unable to provide the same experience as the Japanese version, I also felt some disappointment. But our overseas fans remained happy that the game was being brought over and I’m glad to see their passionate support. In the meantime, the new costumes added could in a way be considered a merit that can only be enjoyed by our overseas fans! Thank you, and please look forward to the game!”

It's easy to see why fans are upset at this, but at the same time, it's a bit understandable why a game with some "Risky" content would be a bit toned down (given our cultural differences), especially one that was published by Nintendo. 

Tokyo Mirage Session #FE was released on June 24th, 2016

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Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni coming to North America and Europe https://www.gameskinny.com/wyr2q/valkyrie-drive-bhikkuni-coming-to-north-america-and-europe https://www.gameskinny.com/wyr2q/valkyrie-drive-bhikkuni-coming-to-north-america-and-europe Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:22:04 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

UK Publisher PQube announced today that Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni is indeed heading to North America and Europe exclusively for the Vita this year. 

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni is a game from the same director of Senran Kagura, Kenichiro Takaki. The series revolves around pairs of girls fighting, but the girls can turn into weapons through kissing each other. This is possible because of a virus that separates them into two classes: Extars and Liberators. Extars "...transform into high powered weapons when sexually aroused." Liberators, on the other hand, wield those weapons. And because of the nature of the game, there will be clothes stripping similar to that in Senran Kagura.

More gameplay features include taking on large waves of enemies, aerial combat, leveling up weapons, dressing room shenanigans/touching similar to Senran Kagura, 7 playable characters, 28 story missions, and even an arena-like multiplayer between 4 players. There is no word on any different modes, however.

Because of how over-the-top Valkyrie Drive was compared to Senran Kagura, it was only released in Japan -- though Kenichiro definitely wanted to release it in English.

Naturally, this changed just now.

Nichegamer also reported that the publisher will not censor the game on Twitter, unlike how it was done in Tokyo Mirage Sessions:

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni is set for a English release on the PlayStation Vita both digitally and physically in 2016; no exact date has been given just yet. Nor is there any word on a collector's edition. There is also an anime called Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid if fans wish to know more about the world of this game.

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Censorship Comparison https://www.gameskinny.com/2g75k/tokyo-mirage-sessions-fe-censorship-comparison https://www.gameskinny.com/2g75k/tokyo-mirage-sessions-fe-censorship-comparison Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:57:09 -0400 Kevin S. Behan

While the story doesn't change very much, a few altercations have been made to non-Japanese versions of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Skimpy outfits have been removed, as have references to the erotic side of the idol industry, which the game is based around. Check out the video at the header for a comprehensive view of what's been censored so far.

What's interesting is that the quality of the edited content is rather inconsistent. Sometimes there's a high amount of effort put into it, such as the characters receiving completely new outfits at the end of one quest line -- full-coverage street clothes, as opposed to the bikinis you would be rewarded with in the Japanese version. And sometimes it feels cheap and lazy, like the edits made to the main character's wedding dress get-up:

Censored on the left, original on the right.

Perhaps the strangest part is Nintendo's involvement. Why is this game being so prudishly treated, when Nintendo permitted Bayonetta's sexy costumes resembling Nintendo icons in her game? It's not as though Nintendo is pure itself, with examples like Fire Emblem: Awakening's Tharja. 

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

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Fans working on patching Tokyo Mirage Sessions' censorship https://www.gameskinny.com/mwlji/fans-working-on-patching-tokyo-mirage-sessions-censorship https://www.gameskinny.com/mwlji/fans-working-on-patching-tokyo-mirage-sessions-censorship Wed, 29 Jun 2016 05:32:06 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

Tokyo Mirage Sessions recently launched last week, and so far has received fairly decent reviews. But some fans were not happy with the censorship Nintendo used, though the game was published by Atlus. That's why a team of fans at GBAtemp forums  has been working on a patch that seeks to undo all of the censorship and revert the game back to the original version released in Japan, but for English users.

The patch is currently on version 0.9.2, and these are the changes it will make:

  • Reverted costumes back to Bikinis, also changing the menu icons back and their original names and descriptions.
  • Completely redid Chapter 2 and a few other small files to return references to Gravure Modelling, this also uses the original voice files.
  • Fixed any map changes relating to pictures in dungeons that were changed.
  • Swapped the English files out for Japanese versions for retranslated files.
  • Healing points no longer come in envelopes.
  • Changed Profiles to reflect the character’s real ages and change back references to Gravure Modeling.
  • Reverted any censored pre-rendered cutscene files.

While North American and European users can use this patch, players will need to know what they are doing to make it work. Thankfully, the creators of the patch can offer aid on Discord. GameSkinny also does not support piracy, and recommends players purchase the game first. You can see an example comparison with the English localization and the patch below:

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90s Star Wars classic among 26 controversial games taken off German Steam store https://www.gameskinny.com/2h75x/90s-star-wars-classic-among-26-controversial-games-taken-off-german-steam-store https://www.gameskinny.com/2h75x/90s-star-wars-classic-among-26-controversial-games-taken-off-german-steam-store Tue, 31 May 2016 12:29:07 -0400 David Fisher

German Star Wars fans are going to be among those enraged due to over 27 games being pulled off Steam's German store. This was brought to everyone's attention by Steam user RIGOLAX who compiled a list of games that have been removed on May 30th.

The titles removed include:

  • Aliens versus Predator Classic
  • Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold
  • Blood: One Unit Whole Blood
  • Blood II: The Chosen + Expansion
  • BloodRayne
  • BloodRayne 2
  • Carmageddon Max Pack
  • Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now
  • Harvester
  • Kingpin - Life of Crime
  • NAM
  • Painkiller: Black Edition
  • Painkiller Hell & Damnation
  • Painkiller Overdose
  • Postal
  • Postal 2
  • Postal 3
  • POSTAL Redux
  • Rise of the Triad
  • Rise of the Triad: Dark War
  • Rune Classic
  • Shadow Warrior Classic Redux
  • SiN Episodes: Emergence
  • Star Wars Dark Forces
  • The Chaos Engine
  • TimeShift
  • UberSoldier II

Any bundles that included the removed titles have also been removed.

Valve has yet to make any statement about the titles disappearing from the store. However, it is currently believed that the Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Persons - a branch of the German government - is at least partially responsible. 

This is not the first time that games have been removed from the German store. Many games - such as Alekhine's Gun - had been removed from Steam simply for bearing the Nazi symbol which is grounds for an automatic ban. As such, the recent removals of titles - that are on the German government branch's "index" - is no surprise.

Alekhine's Gun - being a game set during WWII - bears the Nazi symbol for realism purposes. However, German law does not allow the symbol to exist in entertainment media.

That said, it seems rather odd that some of these titles have been removed while others remain intact. For example, Star Wars: Dark Forces is hardly the most realistic or violent FPS game in the world. After all, the game originally came out in 1995. Meanwhile, Star Wars: Dark Forces II - Jedi Knight still remains available for purchase.

Look at those realistic, heavily pixelated DOOM era graphics! It might incite violence in the youth! Think of the children!

Another abnormality is that many of the games on the list are over decades of years old. One would think that if they posed such a problem for the German government - or Steam's operations in Germany - that these would have been removed long ago. 

While BloodRayne 2's leading lady made it on my Top 10 sword-swinging divas, the game is over a decade old...

Hopefully some sort of clarification as to why the games have been removed comes soon. At the very least, players who own the games should still have the right to install the games, even if they aren't on the store anymore. If indeed the players have lost the ability to play these games then Valve - or those responsible for the removal - should compensate them for their loss.

What do you think about the way Germany controls their entertainment media? Why do you think Star Wars: Dark Forces was removed of all things? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Indie devs at Digital Homicide sue Jim Sterling over alleged "slander" https://www.gameskinny.com/h8aqc/indie-devs-at-digital-homicide-sue-jim-sterling-over-alleged-slander https://www.gameskinny.com/h8aqc/indie-devs-at-digital-homicide-sue-jim-sterling-over-alleged-slander Fri, 18 Mar 2016 11:29:54 -0400 David Fisher

A YouTube reviewer's nightmare has come true. Digital Homicide, the publisher of virtually unheard of games such as: Medieval Mercs, Forsaken Uprising, and Galactic Hitman, has decided to sue Jim Sterling for a total of $10,761,000 in damages after a review video he made in which he claimed their game Slaughtering Grounds was a contender for the "worst game of 2014."

According to the publicly released court documents, Digital Homicide is attempting to hold Sterling liable for about ten counts of libel. For those who don't know, libel is the action of making false, malicious statements published through public broadcast (be it written, radio, or video). Digital Homicide is attempting to hold Sterling responsible for the video in question, in which he made a purely negative review of what he believed to be a truly terrible game. This lawsuit has apparently been brewing for some time, as Geek.com reported almost 8 months ago that the developer should drop their attempts to take down the video and simply move on.

Well, it's March 2016, and Digital Homicide has no intent on dropping charges now. The main focus this time, however, seems to be that Digital Homicide has alleged that Sterling damaged their reputation after suggesting that the developers impersonated Poland-based developers ECC games, and that they were compared to - by Sterling - the Home Alone "Wet Bandits". These two remarks are among 8 others that the publisher is seeking reparations for.

At the time of this publication, I have reached out to both Sterling and Digital Homicide for comment. So far, only Sterling has responded with the following:

"As with any pending legal issues, it would be unwise to say much at this time. My only commentary thus far is that I'm very confident and that the support I've received from people since the story broke has been wonderful and appreciated."

The lack of comment is understandable, as any and all evidence could be used against Sterling in this case. For now, your beloved RR-sama will await Digital Homicide's comments on the case. If they choose not to respond, we will simply have to wait for the results of the lawsuit to see what happens next.

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RR-sama Talks: So the Soleil S Rank conversation just got released... https://www.gameskinny.com/g83md/rr-sama-talks-so-the-soleil-s-rank-conversation-just-got-released https://www.gameskinny.com/g83md/rr-sama-talks-so-the-soleil-s-rank-conversation-just-got-released Mon, 22 Feb 2016 17:28:12 -0500 David Fisher

Hello! RR-sama here again, and this time we're going to discuss the Soleil controversy from Fire Emblem: Fates!

For those who don't know, Soleil is a character from Fire Emblem: Fates who was both the first part of the game to stir up controversy, and the last thing to have its truth be revealed. The controversy started over the character's sexuality and what some deemed a "homophobic" scene, which also involved another character doing something comparable to drugging a woman's drink. For more information, you can quickly pop over to the original article that broke the news last year.

Not long ago, the first video of the localized versions featuring Soleil's support conversations was released. That's why today on RR-sama Talks, we're going to discuss the facts, and come to a conclusion if the changes made were for better or worse!

[WARNING: This should be a given, but there are a lot of spoilers in the following article. Proceed at your own discretion!]

Allergic to Love - A common anime trope

[While not entirely necessary to understand this article, the original conversation in question can be found here.]

In the C Rank conversation between the player character - who will be referenced as Corrin for accessibility sake - and Soleil, the latter comes to the player in search of a method to cure her weakness around women. In order to help her, Corrin puts a powder in her drink that causes her to see women as men. During their B Rank conversation, Corrin admits to Soleil that he slipped the powder into her drink, and it causes her to see all the men in the army as women (and vice versa). She then asks for more of the powder so she can basically go around swooning over all the genderbent protagonists.

For those who don't know, the irrational fear or paralysis around women is a fairly common Japanese trope, especially in anime. That said, it is typically attributed to male characters. There are multiple variations of this trope as well, and the most well known to Western audiences are:

  1. A strong love of women, paired with an irrational fear or paralyzing weakness around them - see: Guy from Tales of the Abyss
  2. Strong respect for women, but a strong aversion to them due to personal trauma - see: Lon'qu from Fire Emblem: Awakening

Essentially, Soleil falls into the former category beside Tales of the Abyss' Guy. She loves cute girls, as Guy does, but finds herself paralyzed when in close proximity to them. However, Guy is a man, and Soleil is a woman. This is partially where the issue comes in...

What is Soleil's true sexuality?

So let's just get this little tidbit out of the way before we start discussing Soleil's sexuality: under no circumstances is putting anything into anyone's food or drink acceptable. If there is one merit to the game's censorship, it's this. Now that that's out of the way, let's look at Soleil's sexuality...

The first thing that everyone should know is that both Conquest and Birthright have access to a single homosexual unit. These characters are Niles and Rhajat, respectively. While these characters can be married to Corrin regardless of the chosen sex, their marriage options are exclusively heterosexual otherwise.

As such, we can assume that Soleil - as a homosexual character - would be able to reach an S Rank (and thus marriage) with the female Corrin. However, this is not the case.

The complexity of Soleil's sexuality...

Soleil appears to be the first of a very specific form of alternate sexuality in gaming, or at least it would seem so given the backlash. Unlike Niles and Rhajat, who are clearly bisexual characters, Soleil is no such thing. In fact, for the sake of argument Soleil is not homosexual at all since she cannot marry any female characters. So what exactly is she?

Before we can answer this, I think it's time we look at the official English translation. This can be viewed in the video below or watching it on YouTube. 

Video courtesy of Mrperson0, via Youtube

In this video we see the reality of Soleil's condition. According to the official translation - which, in reality, isn't too far strayed from the original - Soleil is one of the first (if not the first) character in a video game to display conflicting romantic and sexual attractions. 

In particular, Soleil is actually divided on her romantic and sexual preferences. Despite her fascination with the female form, she states in plain text the following:

Corrin: I understand if you're not interested [in me], since I'm only a woman in your imagination.

Soleil: Oh, that's not such a problem. I like men just fine. I think I could even get to like one for real if I knew him well enough.

It should be noted that the S Rank conversation is where the most deviation from the original text happens. In the original, Corrin states that the sun reminds him of her, and so he proposes to Soleil with a sun-shaped ring. She stutters for a bit, and reveals that she is in love with the female version of Corrin that she saw through the powder. However, she then goes on to reassure him that regardless of male or female she loves him for who he is.

Angry Protester: That means they made her no longer lesbian! Raise your torches!

Whoa, wait up just a second! Before we get our smallclothes in a knot, let's take a moment to look at another support conversation first.

Let me introduce you to my friend Foleo...

Foleo (or Forrest in the localized version) is another trope-filled character. Fans of Fire Emblem have seen his like before through characters such as FE7's Lucius, and FE: Awakening's Libra. 

Foleo is Fire Emblem: Fates's resident pretty-boy, yet another Japanese anime trope that revolves around male characters who are often mistaken as women, usually due to their choice of attire. The one who makes the biggest mistake of confusing Foleo's gender, however, is none other than our Queen of Controversy - Soleil.

In their Japanese support conversation, Soleil believes Foleo to be a woman. That is, until, she gets verbal confirmation from both Foleo and others that he is in fact a man. However, it is their S-Rank conversation that is the most interesting part of their relationship...

Foleo: ... Um, er... Soleil, you do like girls, is that right?

Soleil: Ahaha! Do you really need to ask me after all this time? Of course I do! I love cute girls!

Foleo: Then are boys unacceptable? As, um... romantic partners...?

Soleil: I wouldn't say unacceptable, but girls are preferable by far. I mean, like, boys don't have any beauty, right? Looking at them doesn't get me all fired up.

Foleo: Yes, I thought so...

Soleil: Oh, but I like you, Foleo. Whenever I look at you, my chest feels all tight, and I get the urge to give you a nice big hug.

This is where Soleil's sexuality becomes a bit more... confusing. Before we make a final verdict, however, let's look at what we have:

  1. Soleil gets squeamish around women due to her irrational levels of attraction toward them.
  2. However, Soleil never explicitly states that she is romantically inclined toward them outside of the Japanese version of her conversation with the transvestite character, Foleo.
  3. We know that her only marriage options are with male characters, namely: Corrin, Kana, Shigure, Dwyer, Siegbert, Forrest, Ignatius, Percy, Kisaragi, and Asugi.
  4. Due to a lack of availability of translations for other support conversations, and the definitive masculinity of the other marriageable candidates, we must assume that: A) the conversations revisit the fact that she is attracted to women; or B) they are not explored at all.
  5. More often than not, Soleil states in her conversations that she enjoys the aesthetic qualities of women, but also enjoys the personalities of men.
  6. She is also capable of producing a child with whomever she marries, provided that the male character has a related child character (or isn't a child themselves).

Therefore, we must come to one of the following conclusions:

  1. Soleil is sexually bicurious, if not fully bisexual. This would mean that she is physically attracted to both men and women. She is also romantically heterosexual, meaning that her relationships with women never go beyond physical intimacy.
  2. Soleil is homosexual, but for the sake of fitting in chooses to repress these feelings and act as a heterosexual.
  3. Soleil is heterosexual, but she simply enjoys the female form in all its beauty.
Angry Protesters: So what does this all mean? *Raises pitchfork slowly*

This condition that Soleil has is one that is rarely visited, especially in Western media. Very often, the media draws very distinct boxes to categorize the LGBT community, namely the very ones that make up the acronym. However, Soleil represents the grey area in between.

To list Soleil as bisexual would be wrong, as we know for a fact that she is only romantically attracted to men. Based on evidence, Soleil's romantic and sexual desires go in very different ways. She legitimately enjoys the female form - as seen in her conversations with Foleo, however, she also is physically attracted to men - enough so that she can conceive a child with them. She also lacks significant evidence in her female-to-female support conversations that signify anything beyond superficial attraction.

The fan reactions

Fans are heavily divided on what they think of the translations as a whole. For the most part, they tend to be positive - at least on the Fire Emblem subreddit. Conversely, /r/KotakuinAction - the GamerGate subreddit - has been clinging to the controversy for a lot longer, as they still are complaining about the Nintendo Treehouse localization. There is, however, the growing concern about the C Rank conversation between Beruka and Saizo being nothing but "...", suggesting that it may be an error or a bad joke.

When it comes to Soleil, the story is very much the same. /r/KotakuinAction is complaining about the changes in full force, and meanwhile, the people over in /r/FireEmblem are generally accepting the changes. In fact, some Fire Emblem subreddit followers are actually praising how Treehouse handled the translations, as very little story content (and support conversations) has been altered.

So what do you think about the changes that were made to the international release, RR-sama?

Well, everyone who followed my Fire Emblem: Fates controversy articles knows that I've always been one for companies making the least changes possible. When it comes to Soleil, I suggested in a previous article that they simply changed the original powder into a consensual magic spell instead. This would provide a believable, and yet much less controversial scene.

When I read through the new conversations, I actually cringed a little bit. A blindfold is surely better than magic powder. By all means this new method is consensual, as it happens in conversation instead of off-screen. But if we think about this for a bit...isn't the new conversation actually more homophobic?

Proposing that we still believe Soleil to be a purely lesbian character, wouldn't a blindfold and pretending that Corrin is a woman allude to gay conversion therapy more than the original? I mean, seriously... Imagine I walked up to you (regardless of your sexual preference) and said to you:

"Put on this blindfold, and pretend I'm X instead of Y. This will get you to stop being afraid of X, despite your attraction to X."

Wouldn't this still lead to the same controversy once we reached the S Rank conversation where she states that she might eventually fall in love with you? I mean, sure... Soleil says they'll take it slow, and eventually she will decide whether or not to be together as she gets to know the real Corrin. However, I think it's pretty obvious that this "conversion" was successful, as they proceed to make a baby soon after.

That, and the whole blindfold-imagination thing is a little farfetched...

Yet people seem to be taking this change pretty smoothly, and everyone seems satisfied with the result. Maybe people realized that they had it all wrong? Maybe people just don't care anymore? I have no idea. Regardless, it is clear to me that I will never truly understand society. In any case, at least people can stop worrying about Soleil's sexuality and maybe focus on what makes her character great now.

But hey, that's just me! What do you guys think of the changes to Soleil's conversation with Corrin? Would you have prefered my "consensual magic spell" over the blindfold technique? Is Soleil totally your waifu? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!

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Fire Emblem: Fates might actually be more sexual than the original Japanese release https://www.gameskinny.com/6wym3/fire-emblem-fates-might-actually-be-more-sexual-than-the-original-japanese-release https://www.gameskinny.com/6wym3/fire-emblem-fates-might-actually-be-more-sexual-than-the-original-japanese-release Wed, 10 Feb 2016 07:14:44 -0500 David Fisher

For anyone who has been following this story, Fire Emblem: Fates seems to be one of the most confusing games out there when it comes to what has been censored, or if anything has been censored at all. Just when we thought everything had been laid to rest in terms of the game's censorship and petting minigame, we just learned that even less content might have been removed than we thought.

With the review copies now in the hands of... well... reviewers, we now have a solid picture of what controversial content is still in the game. If you want just the general answer: almost nothing has been removed from the game.

EDIT (02/14/2016): Since the time of this publication, there has been an update on the "swimsuit situation". Rumors were flying about that they had also been removed from the game. However, these were quickly shot down by this video by RasouliPlays that confirms that they are still in the game.

The skinship minigame is still here!

At the heart of the Fire Emblem: Fates controversy has been the petting minigame. Only a few days ago I broke the news that players can still access the skinship ending dialogues. Today, we've received reports that the minigame is still accessible under certain situations, namely with the character the player decides to marry or characters you have an S-Rank support with.

According to the Gameranx article, players can access the minigame during the following scenarios:

"In one scenario, your wife or husband is sleeping, and you are prompted to rub their face to wake them up. If you jam the stylus, you can wake them up rudely and they will get angry at you.

In another scenario, your wife and husband has just come out of the bath and a lot of steam is coming out. You blow on the 3DS microphone to move the steam out of the way.

What about the original scenario, where you invite people into your house to flirt with you? No more petting is possible in this scenario, but you can scan their bodies as you talk to them."

Ryan Perreno, via Gameranx

That's right. The final verdict is that you can touch the person you marry in the game, just not anyone else. Apparently this was the original intent of the Japanese team before they expanded to having this feature with literally every character you met. If this is true, then think of the international release as a "definitive edition" of sorts, even if we are still technically getting less content.

So yeah... Anyone who is still upset that they can't pet their waifu/husbando? You can literally only pet your waifu husbando in the international release. Yay?

The Hot Spring/Bath House is still in

The one question everyone has had on their mind ever since the censorship fiasco began was if the Hot Spring was also censored in the international release. This was due to a number of reasons, namely the fact that the female characters wear bikinis while in them. This could be classified as revealing clothing to some, and some players were concerned that it would be removed as a result.

Thankfully, the above image shared with us by Kotaku reveals that the feature is still very much here. In fact, according to Patricia Hernandez's article, players can still strip all the clothing from their characters while in the accessory shop.

Looking at the above image, it seems safe to assume that the swimsuits and other risque attire will be left in the game. This is great news for gaming purists who want none other than a clean localization of the game in North America.

Another image (courtesy of Kotaku.com) shows that Camilla is just as suggestive of a character as ever, which should please fans.

Polygon jokes about the game being "more sexual"

Two staff members at Polygon have gone to Twitter with their own posts from the game. The first, Nick Robinson, jokes about Treehouse making the game more sexual than the original translations in the following tweet.

Meanwhile, Allegra Frank makes a personal joke about the earlier mentioned skinship feature where players blow into the microphone to cool off their spouse after a bath.

In the end, it seems like everything has worked out. I would once again like to stress the importance of waiting for a game's release before believing any rumors that sprout up on any news breaking service. Without flawless evidence, nothing should be believed, and this whole situation is a perfect example of it.

Now that the situation has been clarified once and for all, are you still considering not purchasing the game? Are you someone who regrets canceling their pre-order now? Are you surprised that the game is nearly intact after all? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Big news for Fire Emblem fans: "skinship" is still in the game! Sorta... https://www.gameskinny.com/5no35/big-news-for-fire-emblem-fans-skinship-is-still-in-the-game-sorta https://www.gameskinny.com/5no35/big-news-for-fire-emblem-fans-skinship-is-still-in-the-game-sorta Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:43:06 -0500 David Fisher

EDIT (10/02/2016): Review copies have disproven the original rumor. Read more here.

Good news, for everyone who was upset about the removal of the petting minigame in Fire Emblem Fates. Despite the Kotaku report stating that the petting game has been removed from Fire Emblem Fates, the assets are still being put to good use. In fact, the feature is unchanged from a superficial perspective. However, a big part of the minigame has been removed: the actual petting.

During a 2 hour stream of the game, Polygon captured the skinship feature's replacement in this 2 minute clip (below), demonstrating what the changes to the minigame actually are.

Instead of the usual petting minigame, the "invite ally" function now leads to a single character entering your room and talking to you with a brief Live 2D animation. These animations have been left completely untouched, and from what we can tell the dialogue is the same as the original Japanese version (minus the 4 minute petting sessions, and being dubbed in English). While I don't like being that guy (who am I kidding, I love being that guy) but I totally called this.

While some might still grieve the loss of their waifu/husbando petting simulator, at least they can rest assured that they will still be able to have an intimate conversation with them. The scene is still pretty cute, and I for one am relieved that I won't have to sprain my wrist trying to pet over 30 people in Revelation just to increase support ranks and get minor buffs.

What do you guys think of the change? Will the middle ground option done by Nintendo's American localization team satisfy you? Vote now on my official Twitter poll or leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Fans are losing their minds over all the "censored" content in Fire Emblem: Fates https://www.gameskinny.com/g7glk/fans-are-losing-their-minds-over-all-the-censored-content-in-fire-emblem-fates https://www.gameskinny.com/g7glk/fans-are-losing-their-minds-over-all-the-censored-content-in-fire-emblem-fates Wed, 27 Jan 2016 09:01:46 -0500 David Fisher

EDIT (10/02/2016): Review copies have disproven the original rumor. Read more here.

Warning! This article deals with numerous NSFW situations, potential spoilers, and coarse language. Continue reading at your own discretion.

The Western release of Fire Emblem: Fates seems to only expand its controversy by the day. While it started with a rampage of misinformation regarding over supposedly homophobic scenes, just yesterday it expanded to the removal of the "skinship face petting" minigame. Now fans of the series are slowly growing in paranoia over what else might be removed on Twitter and Reddit.

#GamerGate enters the fray!

Like moths to a flame, it didn't take long for #GamerGate to get involved with the controversy. In what #GamerGate supporters are calling a "perfect example of SJW work gone horribly wrong", various international Nintendo groups responsible for local releases of the game are starting to censor material left, right, and center. 

Retrieved from the /r/KotakuinAction subreddit, GamerGate has been following censorship in the Italian version where gay marriage has been removed in an effort to "localize" the game. Meanwhile, other GamerGate supporters are hounding after the removal of the "petting" minigame, making it out to be the first in a series of supposed "SJW" victories as Nintendo of America claims - once again - that this was done in an effort to localize the game.

Many GamerGate supporters are starting to question just how much of the game is going to remain intact. Conversations are being changed from the source text, otherwise fine names are being changed, portions of the game are facing the axe, and it seems as though very little of the advertised unique features of this entry in the series are left over. 

The Twitterverse's sword-hand is twitching!

Twitter hasn't been a safe haven for Nintendo either. In almost every single post found on the Nintendo of America Twitter page features an endless stream of angry fans protesting the removal of the "skinship" feature. #Nintendo isn't a safe haven either as the more vocal groups have started posting content that ranges from meme-worthy comics to rants, and even some potentially offensive images.

Some of the following content may be considered offensive. Once again, continue at your own discretion!

If you think that this is bad, wait until you see the dedicated hashtag. Known as #fireemblempetting, the hashtag has seen more than its fair share of use in the last few days. Unlike the Nintendo of America Twitter page, or the Reddit pages on either /r/KotakuinAction or /r/FireEmblem, the discussion on #fireemblempetting is a little more mature. Here are some examples of what you can expect by searching for #fireemblempetting tweets.

The worst part of all this? Nintendo is still silent.

That's right. Despite all of the public outcry for all the censored content, it's business as usual for Nintendo of America. There have been no signs of secondary confirmation of the removal of the skinship minigame by Nintendo of America or any news source other than Kotaku. In fact, the only source to claim to have spoken to Nintendo about the removal is Polygon, and - as this GameFAQs user explains - even that source is sketchy since it is quite literally looks like a plagiarized claim.

Want proof? Check out these quotes pulled directly from both the Polygon and Kotaku articles:

"You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game," a representative for Nintendo told Polygon, "but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan.

"Having said that, however, making changes are not unusual when we localize games, and we have indeed made changes in these games."

Allegra Frank via Polygon

And meanwhile...

“Yes, that is the case [that petting isn’t in the English version]. You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game, but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan.”

Nathan Grayson via Kotaku

Notice anything eerily similar about the quotes? Everyone has. In fact, it almost appears as though someone took a thesaurus to one of the quotes to form the other. This has understandably created a great deal of confusion among readers and followers of the controversy, fans running in various directions in an attempt to cling to any hope that the articles are spreading false rumors.

Editor's note: Many times, PR reps will give the same canned responses to several outlets.

What is particularly unsettling about either quote from "a Nintendo representative" is that neither one directly states that the petting mechanic has been removed. Instead, the quotes rather imply it throughout the article or have the "petting" game's mention inserted into the quote with the infamous [bracket] quotes.

So what now?

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what to tell readers when it comes to this. If you really want to believe that you are making a difference you can join any of these petitions found on Change.org:

Bring back skinship in Fire Emblem Fates

Do Not Censor The Skin Ship "Petting" Mini-Game In Fire Emblem Fates

Do not censor Fire Emblem: Fates for it's worldwide release

Otherwise, there is very little fans can do at this point other than rant on either Twitter or other Nintendo pages. With the game's release only a several weeks away it seems unlikely that anything will change. Physical copies have likely printed already, and the game is already rated by ESRB at this point. If anything, the numerous angry fans or low sales will force Nintendo of America to rethink their decisions, after which we might have a chance of the mode returning as free DLC or software update.

What do you think, RR-sama? You are Mr. Controversy!

As someone who works on a pragmatic level whenever possible, I have to say that this hardly affects my enjoyment of the game. I pre-ordered the Fire Emblem: Fates Collector's Edition to play Fire Emblem, not Medieval Waifu Simulator 2016. As such, the changes don't really affect me.

At least, that was my stance at first...

Turns out that the skinship feature actually has quite an effect on gameplay, particularly for players interested in the Conquest version of the game. Successful skinship runs result in buffs in the next mission, as well as increased affinity/support levels. This can make Conquest much more difficult since you already have a limited time to increase your support levels with characters, not to mention that you are typically underpowered to begin with on each map.

Not only that, but several characters say interesting things outside of the usual 'sensual' stuff. For example, one character reveals her real name through skinship.

Lastly, while I'm not a particular fan of the fan service, I do enjoy the fact that various characters show their more sensitive sides during skinship scenes. They also show a lot of their individuality through these scenes as well. All that aside, who wouldn't want to be that character from an anime that pulls of the "okay, you totally like me" situation with a tsundere girl/guy?

In the end, I'm stuck having paid full price for a game that is a chopped up version of the old one. I'm not as angry as some fans, but I certainly feel cheated to an extent, despite playing the game for the story and strategy elements.

But enough about me. What do you guys think about the absurd levels of cut content? Are you going to run over to Twitter to rant? Want to argue for the removal instead? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Unedited Version of Mortal Kombat X Gets R18+ Rating in Australia https://www.gameskinny.com/fmhze/unedited-version-of-mortal-kombat-x-gets-r18-rating-in-australia https://www.gameskinny.com/fmhze/unedited-version-of-mortal-kombat-x-gets-r18-rating-in-australia Sun, 08 Feb 2015 19:52:47 -0500 Jessa Rittenhouse

The highly anticipated Mortal Kombat X will hit store shelves in Australia on April 15 with a rating of R18+ - the highest rating a video game can receive in that country.

According to the Australian Classification Board's listing for the game, Mortal Kombat X will be receiving this strict rating due to "high impact violence, blood and gore, [and] online interactivity." The site also states that the rated version was the original - meaning no editing for the violent content was done before it was submitted.

This decision marks a drastic change from 2011, when NetherRealms rebooted the popular franchise and it was refused classification in Australia; at the time, the board did not have an R18+ rating for video games, and the sale of the game was effectively banned.

Mortal Kombat X will go on sale in Australia on April 15 and will be available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, XBox360, XBox One, and Windows PC.

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Valve Prohibits Hatred: Is This Censorship? https://www.gameskinny.com/1uh4n/valve-prohibits-hatred-is-this-censorship https://www.gameskinny.com/1uh4n/valve-prohibits-hatred-is-this-censorship Tue, 16 Dec 2014 06:40:39 -0500 Corey Kirk

I try to stay out of these types of debates, but I need to discuss the recent issue of censorship; first, a brief overview of the situation.

A few days ago, Valve decided to pull Destructive Creations' controversial game Hatred off of its Steam Greenlight service. Due to the conversations of morality surrounding Hatred’s premise of mass murder, Valve decided it did not want to sell the game on its sales platform.

http://blog.lesoir.be/moi-jeux/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/10/hatred_cops.0.0_cinema_640.0.jpg

Hatred developed by Destructive Creations

The gaming community quickly reacted, insisting that Valve is actively censoring Hatred by not allowing the game to release on Steam. The community argues that they see no reason Hatred should never see the light of day, while other controversial titles like Postal 2, or unfinished and buggy games like The Slaughtering Grounds continue to be sold.

Those with this view claim that this is no less than full censorship and that Valve should be required to sell the game.

http://coedmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/its-the-feds.jpg?w=640&h=640

Whether you agree with the supporters of Hatred, or the supporters of Valve, let’s look at the facts according to U.S. law, which Valve must adhere. According to the Federal Communications Commission, and the lackluster legislation surrounding censorship, corporations (or even industries) can censor themselves.

This is why we see the ratings on video games and movies. Those industries decided to have some sort of mechanism to allow for consumer choice and self-censoring when making purchasing decisions.

Because a corporation can censor itself, the staff at Valve can make moral choices that best reflect the corporation’s views. This includes not selling a game it deems too obscene. Of course, if Valve took an aggressive step and tried to get the game banned from being sold at all, through the legal system, then that is censorship. However, the simple act of prohibiting the sale of a game on its own platform is not unlawful censorship according to U.S. laws.

http://www.destructivecreations.pl/img/team.jpg

The Destructive Creations team.

With that said, it is a bit odd that Valve pulls Hatred off Steam when it still allows Postal, Postal 2, Postal 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout 3, and all games that allow the killing of unarmed people. If they allow those games to sell, why can’t they sell Hatred? If not for the morality of it, what is causing Valve to have doubts? Is it because the game is too buggy? If that is the case, then games like The Slaughtering Grounds and Farm Simulator should be pulled immediately.

So what can we, as a gaming community, do about this decision? Absolutely nothing. Why? Because Valve is a power player in the gaming industry. Valve can do what it wants as long as it is lawful.  

Sure, I could tell you to “vote with your wallet” but you and I both know that almost never works, because for every person who decides to stop giving money to Valve, a million more decide to throw money at the screen, and even a million more during those infamous Steam sales. Can we collectively pursue legal action against Valve? No, because then we would be the ones censoring. We may or may not like the decision, but Valve has every right to make it. 

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with Valve’s decision to remove Hatred from Steam? 

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Apple's Rejection of Papers, Please Was a Misunderstanding https://www.gameskinny.com/rhtya/apples-rejection-of-papers-please-was-a-misunderstanding https://www.gameskinny.com/rhtya/apples-rejection-of-papers-please-was-a-misunderstanding Sat, 13 Dec 2014 07:06:17 -0500 Benjamski

Lucas Pope, developer behind award-winning indie game Papers, Please announced on Twitter that the border agent simulation game (trust me, it's way more fun than it sounds) would be coming to iPad on December 10th. He then followed it with the a tweet stating that the game would be censored by Apple:

Papers, Please puts the player in the role of a border agent, accepting or denying entry at the border of a totalitarian governed country in the 1980's, based on a towering pile of bureaucratic policies and procedures. It very effectively highlights and simulates the bleak tedium of the job while also tugging at your empathy strings as it exposes the dehumanization and the degradation that those crossing the borders into such countries are subjected to. One of the features that drives that idea home the most is using the the body scanner to search entrants for contraband. Yes, sometimes you find contraband or weapons. But most of the time you expose their naked bodies only to stamp acceptance on their passports and let them move along.

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There has always been an option to turn the nudity off or on, and the above picture shows the same body scan in both settings. Clearly the nudity is crude and somewhat obscured - it certainly isnt pornographic or sensual in any way. While the feature can be toggled by the user, I always had the impression that it was very purposefully left to the player to decide and force them to really think about they felt using the body scans on the entrants.

After a small but not so quiet outcry in response the censorship, and within a day later, Pope tweeted again saying that it was a misunderstanding and that the game was being resubmitted with the nudity option intact and defaulted as off.

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Why is Region-Locking Still a Thing and is it a Necessary Evil? https://www.gameskinny.com/yl13l/why-is-region-locking-still-a-thing-and-is-it-a-necessary-evil https://www.gameskinny.com/yl13l/why-is-region-locking-still-a-thing-and-is-it-a-necessary-evil Mon, 17 Nov 2014 22:31:43 -0500 Esteban Padilla

Gamers everywhere let out collective cheers of "Hear, hear!" when Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata stated recently that Nintendo is beginning to consider ending their region-locking policy.  The key sentence that is currently making rounds on the internet is Iwata's ending remark to the question posed during a Q&A session on the subject (conveniently provided here, in English, by Nintendo):

"While we have not decided whether we will unlock them or not, we do recognize that it is an issue that needs to be considered in the future."

This is great news for gamers everywhere.  With increased globalization and the international nature of today's video game market, it would seem that hope is on the horizon for those who have been fighting the good fight on behalf of a region free gaming community.  

But for those that read the entire statement carefully, Iwata does stress two points: 1) it may be a little while before we get to enjoy a region free gaming world, and 2) region-locking is not as simple an issue as keeping you away from foreign games because a company "just feels like it".

The Legend of Region-Locking

Nintendo is the first company to have a region-locking policy.  They are also the first company to have really succeeded on an international level.  Before the Famicom and NES, there wasn't really much in the ways of internationalization of video games.  And since Nintendo was one of the few companies that emerged from the fledgling gaming industry of the 1980s successfully (anyone else remember the infamous Video Game Crash of 1983, or is that just the stuff of nightmares for younger gamers?), they were trailblazers for international policy.  This meant that, whether they liked it or not, Nintendo was responsible for coming up with solutions to localization and copyright issues on their own.

As Iwata states in a previous address regarding region-locking, dealing with an international market means that sometimes, selling the same version of the same game is simply not an option:

"There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want."

 

The Issues As They Stand

The legal restrictions behind distributing games and consoles run the gamut and are typically the most talked about aspects in the debate for or against region-locking.  One of the simplest arguments is that for some games, it isn’t feasible to release them in each country, since licenses can be held by a different company depending on the area. 

In one of the most headache-inducing examples around, there's the Jump Super Stars game series, with the most recent game requiring 13 different companies to agree to share their licenses in the English market as well as having to deal with the 9 properties involved that currently do not have English licensing.  And that is only considering the manga and game distributors, not the anime property holders.

One could even argue that the lack of initial supply internationally can lead to increase in interest and demand.

Another problem with a region free market (and a much more complicated one economically and ethically) is that while being able to play a game from any country is an enjoyable prospect, region-locking and localization helped create the gaming industry as it currently stands.  Everything from the translation of a game to its cultural adaptation is handled by a localization team who ensure you get the fullest experience out of a game as it is released in your country and language while being paid in an industry that doesn't always do so well financially.  It can be frustrating to have a game not launch in your region, but with campaigns like Operation Rainfall, more niche or obscure games are being brought into the mainstream with localization efforts. 

 

One could even argue that the lack of initial supply internationally can lead to increase in interest and demand.  If games like Xenoblade Chronicles and the Last Story were not region-locked, it is possible that they would never have been localized, which could have alienated fans who didn’t speak the language, not to mention deny several industry professionals of jobs.  Without localization efforts, revenue doesn’t move throughout the video game market and less studios benefit, and less money for studios and publishers unfortunately means fewer games for us to enjoy.

While understanding the legal restrictions for each country and how they pose problems can basically be chalked up to “lots of complicated business relations”, the cultural issues involved have arguably played a bigger (and somewhat more delicate) role in the historic establishment of region-locking and licensing internationally, especially when we begin to consider the effects of localization.  As far back as the NES-era, video games have been changed to avoid sensitive subjects or offending others culturally. 

In Japan, the original Ice Climbers game involved seals as an enemy.  Because of the taboo subject of seal clubbing, all seal sprites were changed to the iconic yetis in the international versions.  Nintendo of America had a reputation for editing American releases of games, with changes as simple as the removal of any Red Cross symbols on hospitals in Earthbound (because the symbol is considered a registered trademark of the namesake organization in some countries) to removing blood, Nazi references, and swastikas in Wolfenstein 3D.

Even now, consoles such as the PS3 (which is often praised for being one of the most region free consoles of the past few generations) have been shown to edit content regardless of the region using system and game updates in order to keep in line with legal age ratings.  Resistance: Fall of Man and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune were shown to have blood and violence edited in Japan, while The Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls have received the same treatment in Europe.  While these may not be seen as instances of truly region-locked material, keep in mind that these games will not play on a console without the requisite updates in those regions, essentially creating a different, but similar, censoring issue.

What Does the Future Hold?

As nice as region free media is, it may not be a universal concept in the market as it stands currently.  Although we have proof that it is possible, with the PS3, PS4, and even the Nintendo DS having nearly their entire libraries region free, gamers will have to be patient for all three major gaming companies to distribute all their games and consoles completely region free.  After all, if Microsoft can ease their region-locking policy for the Xbox One, there is hope yet for Nintendo.

What do you think?  Do licensing, localization, and cultural issues really seem like big enough problems to warrant region-locking as the necessary evil it is viewed by some?  How likely would it be to get around several of the issues presented by Nintendo on the policy as it stands right now?  Let us know in the comments below!

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