It's long been known that many Japanese releases undergo a certain amount of censorship when they're localized for release outside of Japan. It's been a fairly common practice for years and with Nintendo's rather touchy stance on violence and religious symbolisms in games released on their consoles over the years, some games have ended up not even being released at all. The amazing Enix action-rpg Terranigma is one such game that comes to mind, when it was deemed to contain far too many religious overtones to be released in the United States during the 16-bit era.
While Nintendo has certainly relaxed its stance on violent and religious video game content over the years, there still tends to be a fine line that many ratings boards draw in the sand that can end up getting a game a "T" or even an "M" rating if developers are not careful about what content they ultimately include in their titles. And since developers are generally given quite a bit more leeway when it comes to releases in Japan, it's not quite so simple for regions outside of the country.
The developers of La Mulana are currently having discussions as to what content from the Japanese release should be left in the game being prepared for release outside of Japan and they've put together a couple of blog entries in order to get some feedback from fans about what they think should be left in and what should be censored in some way.
The two issues currently being discussed involve the Goddess' statues in the Goddess Tower and the girls sacrificing themselves by jumping into a pit of needles at the Gate of Illusion. There are some concerns that leaving the breasts of the statues exposed and leaving the squirting red blood in the needles scene might end up causing the game to get a higher rating, which they discuss in more detail in their Issue of Rating blog entry. They also discuss the religious symbols and references in the game and how these too might end up causing a bit of controversy if left intact in their Problem of Faith blog post. You can check out the graphic below to see the two instances the developers are currently focusing on.
For those who have a preference, it might be worth chiming in and making your position known on their blog. It seems to be quite a hot bed lately for fans of the game posting their thoughts and opinions as to how the final product outside of Japan should be handled. We'd also like to know what you guys think about these possible changes and what you think the smart move is for the developers when it comes to possibly censoring the game's content.
We'll keep you posted on any new developments with La Mulana and we'll have a full review of the game when it hits the WiiWare service. Who knows, we might even get lucky and get some hands-on time with the game at the upcoming E3 Expo in June.