News Article

La Mulana Developers Discuss Religious and Rating Issues

Posted by Corbie Dillard

How do you like your Goddess breasts?

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.

Untitled

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. :)

[via la-mulana.com]

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User Comments (85)

Bass_X0

#1

Bass_X0 said:

If keeping it uncensored prevents the game from getting released then go and censor it. I don't think anyone would be against the censoring if it wouldn't be released without it.

pixelman

#2

pixelman said:

Yeah, I really don't like this kind of stuff. I prefer my games light-hearted rather than with these dark storylines. :/

Sycoraxic98

#3

Sycoraxic98 said:

I personally would rather have the original, that is to say, the version with uncovered breasts and blood, because even though it's not politically correct, it's how it was originally intended.

Cipher

#4

Cipher said:

I'm against any form of game censoring, as I think it really limits a developer's imagination when shown in a game's censored form, but if censoring it secures a worldwide release, then so be it. It's a hefty price to pay, but if it has to be paid to ensure we get the game... it's a "lesser of two evils" sort of thing, I guess.

Zach

#5

Zach said:

I would prefer the game in its original state, personally. I also very much like when a developer involves its community of fans like this.

BlueFlameBat

#7

BlueFlameBat said:

I hate censorship. Having said that, it might be better to have some stuff trimmed or changed rather than get nothing at all.
In this case, I think it would be stupid to raise issue over exposed female breasts on statues. Of course, I'm one of those people who think it's moronic that female breasts are considered inappropriate in the first place.

Axoloth

#8

Axoloth said:

As long these "religious symbols and references" doesn't include stuff that they KNOW will cause controversy and piss people off (e.g. a drawing of Muhammad), I say keep it. As long as the worst consequence would be a higher age rating that is. If there's a danger of it not being released outside of Japan at all, I guess I can do without naked breasts. Barely.

kevohki

#9

kevohki said:

This seems like a non-issue. Just release it with a T-rating and nothing censored. It's not like it's God of War HD nudity and violence we're discussing. Anyone who gets upset over any religious symbolism, well, they should really re-examine their own faith if a video game can cause them to rage over such trivial things.

Aronos

#10

Aronos said:

I guess you can censor what they need to as long as they feel that if they didn't the game would never get released. The spikes color though could be explained as it's "rusty" looking and that's not blood lol.
Oh, and they are pixelated blue tiny statue breasts lol. It's not like their GoW or high resolution realistic graphics.

Adam

#11

Adam said:

Might as well censor the breasts. Al Gore invented the internet for a reason. We don't need games for this.

But the sacrificial girls seems to be important to the atmosphere of the game. I would hate to see it kiddified for no reason. If the game is supposed to have a slightly disturbing edge to it, let it be as it was intended. Mild censorship can sometimes be useful for pointless excess, but if it curtails the authorial vision, then it is an injustice to the creators and to the fans. We have rating systems for a reason. Censorship is outdated. And like others have pointed out, this is hardly horrific material we're looking at here.

And I highly doubt Nintendo would prevent its release. If so, then censor it, but why it's even a concern until they get feedback from Nintendo, I don't understand. Seems like it could be a quick fix after submitting it to Nintendo.

I don't think religious stuff is even censored anymore. It certainly shouldn't be.

madgear

#12

madgear said:

I'm totally against censorship and really don't see what the problem is. Not only are they the breasts of a statue - they're the breasts of a digiatally pixellated drawn statue! But then if it was a photo of real breasts I wouldn't see what the problem is either - I fail to see how that would ever hurt anyone. Really, give me one example where exposed breasts in any form of media have caused any sort of damage - and don't say that Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. I mean, really, in what way were people worried that would corrupt or hurt anyone?

As for drawing Mohammed - I don't agree with censorship of that either. Sure it pisses people off, but it's not my religion and I don't want other people's views forced on me. It's just tough. If someone who followed a different religion didn't follow the rules of the one I follow, I couldn't care less - it's not their religion, so I'm not expecting them to follow it.

Knux

#14

Knux said:

No, leave the game uncensored and the way is was meant to be. If Nintendo tries to force censorship on the game, I would be pissed.

JakobG

#15

JakobG said:

If they are going to censor it, make it at least look good.
The cloth looks so fake, they might as well put a black bar over it.

Adamant

#18

Adamant said:

Dear god, just leave it in. It's not the mid-90s anymore, America needs to grow up some time.

Ravage

#19

Ravage said:

I don't mind the breasts being covered up or not, it still gives the same sort of vibe, however, the sacrificial girls part should remain intact.

Sylverstone

#20

Sylverstone said:

Come on Nintendo, this isn't the pre-ESRB days where you censor stuff willy-nilly.

(I mean, changing the blood to sweat Mortal Kombat on the SNES was bad, but this? Aw come on man!)

maka

#22

maka said:

I find it amazing that they're even considering to cover the breasts of a "classical-art" like statue... if that's offensive, then most museums should be 18+ too...

BobberyFan98

#23

BobberyFan98 said:

I say bah to anybody who doesn't believe in censorship! If its in a painting or a statue, sure. But even if is a statue but in a video game, censor it for Pete sake! I don't understand those people when they say "I don't believe in censorship" Ok, sure, like I said, real life sculpture or painting is fine. But if there is a video game where there is a woman with her Boobs just hanging out with nothing covering them, you NEED to censor it. I think it would go down in sales with parents probably not letting their children play the game since they would be asking unusual questions.

Are you hearing me out?

-BF98 ;)

madgear

#24

madgear said:

Unusual questions? They're just breasts and kids knowing what breasts are is hardly a problem. What are they going to ask? "Why does that woman have bumps on her chest"? Just tell them - they're not even sexual organs. They're for feeding babies - no big deal.

BleachFan

#27

BleachFan said:

Um...This was never an issue in Twilight Princess. Remember? In one of the flashbacks it panned over the statue of the three goddesses, and THEY were topless! It was no big deal. It didn't hurt the gameplay, and so fact I forgot about it as I continued playing.

Why this is such a big deal I'll never know. Kids can see a lot worse things on TV or the internet. As for the sacrificial storyline, KEEP THAT IN! It adds to atmosphere, which is what really makes a game immersive.

RaylaxStaff

#28

Raylax said:

I really couldn't care less whether it goes either way. I'm pretty certain I've never played a game and thought "gee, this is a fantastic gameplay experience but it would be far better if those dark pixel statues in the background had their boobs out." For much the same reason I couldn't care less about HD, you're not going to improve Mario Galaxy by making the graphics slightly bigger. But I'm going off-topic.
Regardless of whether or not these things go through, La Maluna will probably still be great.

BobberyFan98

#29

BobberyFan98 said:

I give up.

I would say something here, but It would cause serious trouble.

All I'm saying is, censor the breasts, keep in the sacrificial thing, I don't really care about that ;)

-BF98 ;)

Caliko

#30

Caliko said:

If this was a movie it would probably be rated PG 13. And no one will care.

Why do videogames get a bad rap for every morsel of violence etc.?

Aenaida

#31

Aenaida said:

I'd prefer it if the WiiWare version of La-Mulana stayed as true to the original as it possibly could, but I'm not going to throw a fit if anything ends up being censored.

theblackdragonAdmin

#32

theblackdragon said:

@bobberyfan: why is it okay to show violence but not the human body? it's just a statue in the background, it's meant to be a work of art depicted within a video game. whoop-dee-doo, should they put a loincloth over Michelangelo's David for you as well?

Slapshot

#33

Slapshot said:

@tbd.... LMAO :D

.... oh crap it actually fell off..... OMG who is going to censor a LMAO and it actually falls off..... where are the Devs at?

bro2dragons

#34

bro2dragons said:

I think what a lot of people aren't getting is that, should the censorship take place, it wouldn't be Nintendo censoring it before distribution, nor the ESRB, nor some government. It's the developers editing their own stuff. That's not really censorship. Personally, I think they should put it out the way they most want to put it out and leave it at that. If that gets them an M rating (which is hyperbole, for those who aren't picking up), but they're happy with it, I see no problem. If they'd rather more people buy it because it has a E10+ rating, and they don't care so much about boobs and boobie traps, than that's also their choice, and I see no problem. Really, neither of the changes mentioned make any difference on the game, so neither ultimately matters as long as the artist (read: developer) is satisfied with the way they've represented themselves and their own work. Nintendo and the ESRB are not in the censoring business. If changes are made, it will be because the developer wants them made.

Token_Girl

#35

Token_Girl said:

Yeah, its silly that something that appears in classical art museums they take elementary schoolers to field trips to could be an issue. The religion post was kind of interesting in how a lot of the problems were merely translating the meaning that Japanese people would get from the game to Americans who have a much different interpretation of religion. For example, it's probably a good thing they changed the hexagram (Star of David) from calling forth evil spirits to a pentagram, so Americans will associate the evil with black magic and not Judaism.

I'm over 18, so I'd rather the game just get a T or M rating, but I understand if they are worried it would hurt sales. Even the spikes being red, it's not ultrarealistic like much of the M and even some T games out there, so I don't think it would be a problem. I don't remember Grandia 2 having an uber-high rating, and although it didn't any self sacrificing part, the whole game was a criticism of organized religion with TONS of Catholic symbolism.

jbrodack

#36

jbrodack said:

I looks kind of wrong with the breasts covered. If they censor it might as well make a whole new statue.

Though it would be stupid if censored since I couldn't see these things giving the game any worse than a T rating. I don't think this game would appeal to anyone under 13 anyway.

theblackdragonAdmin

#37

theblackdragon said:

@bro2dragons: it's self-censorship in the fact that they are making changes in order to avoid some negative reaction, which in this case is a higher rating and/or backlash from the religious community. i think they're overthinking things, but whaddayagonnado.

MasterGraveheart

#39

MasterGraveheart said:

Save teh boobz!!!!1!!

lol, sorry folks. I don't see what problem arises from being in shadows like that. And if we want religious symbolisms, talk to my man named Simon's Quest, lol.

But you know who gets it bad? The Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game. Freakin' kids... lol.

PhazonBlue

#40

PhazonBlue said:

I'd take the 'T for Teen' rating if that is what they're asking. I mean come on, none of the discussed content will constitute a M rating. Teen is fine with me..and pretty much everybody else. So what is the big deal exactly? Leave the breasts uncovered and give me the sacrificial blood!

BobberyFan98

#41

BobberyFan98 said:

You don't get it, do you?

I want to say the reason behind all of this, but you're going to defend yourself and then yell at me and criticize me.

Like I already said, its different with art, but not when it is optional in Video games.

If you really want me to say it, I will.

But I recommend you don't ask me, you won't like what I have to say.

-BF98 ;)

BobberyFan98

#43

BobberyFan98 said:

Alright, I regret saying whatever I said.

My main problem is, yes, what I didn't want to say, is that it is Perverted to say that they should ALWAYS have breasts just hanging out not matter what. Of course men and boys like me love breasts! Its sad to say, but it just seems to be natural!

I'm just saying that you don't say that Breasts should always be uncensored. I will let you off if it is a game like Grand Theft Auto, which focuses on those kind of things.

I think that I will state that I don't care about this, as in, these are just spirits that are not trying to be sexual.

I regret ever saying the stuff I said before this post, I think that it's just fine ;)

-BF98 ;)

BlueFlameBat

#44

BlueFlameBat said:

Like I said, female breasts should not be considered inappropriate. They're not even sexual organs!

Slapshot

#45

Slapshot said:

@Bobbery.... dude, back when the statues in Greece and Rome, etc were built times were very different than today. Women and there naked bodies were seen sexual but also in a form of natural beauty. Artist created the statues above in the form of natural beaty as an artistic creation, not some weird sexual statue, hence the pose of the statue/ statues.

What is really sad is the fact that todays liberal mentality, people cant look or see these statues because nobody understands art anymore and half the world knows so little history its unbelievable. A naked breast isnt always a thing for sexual favor, yes beleive it or not, it can be ART!

@BlueFlame.... yes they are or Stip Clubs wouldnt exist! ;)

Add to ^^^ comment, I dont the appeal some people have to raunchy games. I own GTA 4 and Ive seen whats in it and all, but its nothing worth getting all excited about, honestly I could do without it. Sex sells though, I just dont want it in my Nintendo products :) Sometimes I get the craving (like I have Now) for some good clean fun that only Ninty can fix!

mr_w

#47

mr_w said:

To everyone giving @Bobbery the time of day, stop feeding the troll.

Yes, censorship in any form that seeks to censor an act not hurting anyone specific is ridiculous. It's unfortunate that in order to make money in this world, we often pander to the lowest common denominator. That said, I wouldn't blame Nicalis for censoring this game to broaden its appeal but I hope they don't.

The prudish nature of those offended by female breasts would be easily set at ease by them not purchasing an uncensored version of this game and sticking to any other number of games that don't show parts of the body they're uncomfortable with.

Edit: @slapshot82 Oh thank you. I hadn't posted here in a while and had completely forgotten how posting worked here. Too many websites, too many layouts. :)

Slapshot

#48

Slapshot said:

@tbd... oh I know lol, just giving him a hard time, though I did add to it prob while you were typing that.

@mr.w.... you got it perfect, do just like with CDs and offer a Explict and Edited version of the game, simple..... problem solved, on to next life and mind bending subject :D ....

techno_shaman_ichauk

#51

techno_shaman_ichauk said:

Censorship is an insult to human intellect put forth by those who wish to sell us a brand of morality, plain and simple. However, if that's what it takes to get this game localized, then I suppose it'll happen anyways.

SmaMan

#53

SmaMan said:

Wow, what is this 1994?

This is exactly what Nintendo used to do back in the days of the 16-bit Final Fantasies, so that parents wouldn't try to kill them with their lawyers. And now in 2010, we see the same thing happening.

It was okay for the most part in the N64 era, when Zelda Ocarina of Time was allowed to have red blood, and a game like Conker's Fur Day was okay to even release. On the Gamecube we had many fully fleshed out Resident Evil games and games like Eternal Darkness... that Nintendo helped with I might add! Now here we are on the Wii, and the issues of the SNES era are back... And I thought XBOX called themselves the 360...

Censorship is blindness, people! I think it should all be left as it is!

Nintendoftw

#54

Nintendoftw said:

Im tired of this crap. DO NOT censor it. Today's society is brainwashing their children to be ashamed of their body parts, continue like this and imagine how horrible and paranoid the next generation will be.

Unca_LzStaff

#55

Unca_Lz said:

There will be censorship as long as we have stupid parents and politicians

jangonov

#56

jangonov said:

If the original team made it one way, I refuse to condone the censorship of their art. If it gets a higher rating, then it does, but I do not think an artist or art team needs to be censored, especially for a statue. Do people look at the Venus de'milo (forgive the spelling) and think "she should have a shirt on"?

Despair1087

#57

Despair1087 said:

i just want this game to be released. i would prefer it to be uncensored, but if that isn't possible i think it is better than nothing. when i play the game i'll be like, "hey, there was supposed to be breasts there." then i'll smile like an idiot and continue playing the game.

Token_Girl

#58

Token_Girl said:

@Bobbery
Who would actually be turned on by a pixelated statue? Really? Yeah, breasts are sexualized in our culture...but a pixelated statue? If you're downloading this game, you have some access to the internet...which means you can see pictures of non-pixilated topless statues (and even real wimmins). If you read the blog they talk about borrowing from many ancient religions, and the ancient Greeks and Romans depicted their gods and goddesses this way. It's not blatant fanservice like Zero-Suit Samus or Lara Croft. You never see bare breasts in Metroid or Tomb Raider, but those images are much more sexualized then the statue on the right. Yet...I doubt you have a problem with those games...

LordJumpMad

#60

LordJumpMad said:

We see blood and boobs every day, and sometime in the same order, on TV or in video games.

so I really don't see a big deal here,
and I can careless about it.

blood and boobs don't sell games, just the game play it self will.

unless the game is about bloody boobies

Sneaker13

#61

Sneaker13 said:

Just leave it as it is, this is how the developer wanted it. I hate it when things get censored just because it might get a higher rating. In Holland we don't care, but it would be terrible if we get a censored version just because America can't handle boobs.

I hate how censorship up the PAL version of No More Heroes. Comparing it with the uncensored version it's terrible to see what we are missing.

opeter

#62

opeter said:

It is very sad... people are censoring nudity, but not censoring weapons and killing.

cammy

#63

cammy said:

After reading their blog post "Problem of Faith", it's seems to be in part that their afraid that their cultural appropriation of Western religions and mythologies in their games might be offensive to, well, us.

Which is a fair point. Take Dante's Inferno for the xbox. It's completely offensive to the spirit of the Dante's Divine Comedy. Their not censoring to protect us, their censoring to cover up their misuse of our culture assets.

The other side is that they claim they can't afford multiple runs at Nintendo, so they want to try and make sure they pass Nintendo's filters in one go. I would hope therefore they would keep their self-censorship to a minimum.

IMHO

Machu

#64

Machu said:

She looks good either way.

I'm not one for censorship, but if a lil bit of boob increases the age-rating and therefore reduce sales, I'd just wrap 'em up. Maybe have an optional 'artistic mode' unlocked when you pwn the game, one the classification people will never see. :P

As for virgins sacrificing themselves to the fail-pit, erm...

BobberyFan98

#65

BobberyFan98 said:

@mr.w Feeding the troll? Really?

I already apologized for all I said before, and you call me a troll?

But I'll drop it since you weren't saying something like "YO MOMMAS SO...."

-BF98 ;)

Noire

#66

Noire said:

More chest is better then less, even if it is blue and all statuey.

King_Elemento

#68

King_Elemento said:

I don't really care about whether the breasts are censored or not, although they shouldn't be as the game was originally that way, if they must because the world's offended by such stuff, censor them. Not like people will take so much notice anyway.

The sacrificial maidens thing is important to the tone of the game though. If that gets taken out because of Nintendo's daft, age-old censoring ideals, then screw Nintendo.

Kriedler

#70

Kriedler said:

Well, religion shouldn't be too much of a problem. Devil Survivor was full of religious references, and I didn't see anybody make a stink about it :P
Violence, as we know, isn't really a problem with Nintendo anymore. Now, the tits... I'd like them to stay. Not so much because I'm looking for pixel porn, but I'm not a fan of censorship. Not after seeing Fear on network TV and the dad was quoted as saying "if you come near my daughter I'll (RIP YOUR HEAD OFF)." LAME.
Hey, if the parental controls are enabled, they should get a censored game. If not, let the twins fly free.

mushroomer

#72

mushroomer said:

Untitled
They didn't censor in Kid Icarus. Look at those statues in the bg..
I remember being a kid playing myself and I rather enjoyed it. It made me want to beat the game over and over .. and over.. BTW, this is the last stage heading towards Medusa.
Also, isn't it weird that when you are an infant, not only can you look at breasts, but you can suck them.. ? then as you get older, you can't even look at them.

mastersworddude

#75

mastersworddude said:

Yeah censor, pixalized statue breasts, but let Lady GaGa talk about disco sticks in the radio and magazines talking about sex in the checkout stands in the grocery store.

ueI

#76

ueI said:

@SmaMan: "Zelda Ocarina of Time was allowed to have red blood." They censored that too. They also censored Link's mirror shield.

Jockolantern

#77

Jockolantern said:

It's a fricking topless statue, for crying out loud. No, don't censor it! You can see those on a trip down to your local museum, after all. And we definitely don't see parents trying to keep their children away from ancient artistry exhibits.

As for the ritual sacrifice element, I say they should leave that just the way it is too, even if it does earn the game a Teen rating. I can't imagine anyone under the age of thirteen really wanting to give this game a whirl anyhow considering how involved, brutally hard, and retro it is.

Besides, they could just include an option for censorship; a "parental filter" of sorts. Leave the game the way it was originally and should be in remake form! If a few people get their tongues in a knot over some barely discernible, artistic statue nudity then so be it.

Linkuini

#78

Linkuini said:

I don't consider this either art or pornography. My stance is that it is an overreaction to even call this a debate, for however it concerns the quality and overall effect of the game. :P Of course, the exception is if this is simply a less drastic example used to make conversation which would be very applicable in a more extreme scenario. In that case, I have heard of a few games that offer censored and uncensored graphics, but much of the time that's more of a joke than anything else. Come to think of it, that kind of says something in itself, doesn't it?

SmaMan

#79

SmaMan said:

That's the point I'm getting that. It was okay for Nintendo to have that back then. But now on their re-releases, Ganondorf coughs up green stuff and there's no religious Gerudo symbol either.

ReifuTD

#80

ReifuTD said:

All I have to say is, No Nipples! WTF! If there are no nipples then it's allready censored!

Objection

#81

Objection said:

Its classical-art style, doesn't need to be censored. The blood I can go either way but I'd prefer it uncut for the original mood and vision and I don't think it really matters if this gets an E10 or T rating, or their equivalents.

FonistofCruxis

#82

FonistofCruxis said:

We're in 2010, not the 90's. Games would got censored for these reasons in the 90's. I can't see this getting a rating higher than T/12 and I also can't see many people under those ages being interested in this game.

Omega

#83

Omega said:

They also made this breast-thing with a female statue in Castlevania IV. I doubt that anyone would notice the difference when nobody points it out.

SmaMan

#84

SmaMan said:

Welcome to the internet...

Think about it. We found out about the statue thing in Castlevania IV from the big information super highway that now effectively links the US and Japan. So really there's no point in censoring when people are going to find out about it anyway in this day and age.

And look, we found out about this incident right here for crying out loud!

ueI

#85

ueI said:

I just remembered some more unnecessary censoring in recent times. The game corner in pokemon.

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