Censorship in Japanese video games coming to the West is certainly nothing new, and instances of developers altering content to work in certain markets or on certain platforms are still relatively common these days.
Sony, in particular, often comes in for criticism for obscuring any cheekiness it doesn't want on PlayStation. Nintendo has been more lenient in many cases, although it does get involved with policing certain content on occasion.
In an interview with Nintendo Life, Junzo Hosoi — brand manager at developer Gust and producer on upcoming RPG Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy — has spoken about the team's approach and opinion concerning censorship in the West. In contrast to some developers who have felt increasingly restricted in this area, Hosoi doesn't necessarily see it as a negative.
Asked how the developer felt about alterations in other markets and other platforms, Hosoi had this to say:
The GUST team do not see the need to edit a title for another culture or country as something necessarily bad, we do not have any bad or negative opinions particularly on this. Each country has their own unique culture and it really depends on what type of story the director, producer, or creator wants to infuse in the title – sometimes it might not work for every culture.
In the case of Atelier Ryza 2, the title we put together does not need to be censored for any market, and many people around the world can enjoy it as it was intended. Of course, as a player, I understand the desire to play the game as the creator intended.
The Gust team's opinion stands in contrast to some other developers such as Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki, who reportedly resigned from his role at Marvelous last year partly through frustration at increasing censorship.
As stated, Atelier Ryza 2 isn't being altered for overseas releases, and despite some convenient dust clouds being added to a Sony trailer, they apparently won't appear in the game on any platform (as clarified by publisher Koei Tecmo on Twitter) when it releases in the West at the end of January 2021.
Elsewhere in the interview Hosoi discusses Ryza's popularity and the potential of further entries in the series featuring her in the lead role. Be sure to check it out if you're a fan of the Atelier series, and let us know your thoughts below.