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Star Ocean 5 Censored Due to "a lot of flak"

Star Ocean 5 has been censored for its Western release. The upcoming RPG has had some costumes altered due to “a lot of flak” coming from the West.

Even if you weren’t old enough when it happened, you may recall a time in our history where video games were on the gallows. Prominent figures like Jack Thompson argued that they were poisonous to youths, presenting his arguments to committees in a bid to have video games censored. Gamers, developers and the press fought back, and now we enjoy all the protections of the first amendment on our hobby. Oh, how times have changed.

In the modern era, the attempt to censor video games comes from within. The same gamers, developers and press that once defended video games are now the ones most offended by it. Yesterday, we reported on a character from Overwatch being altered, with Blizzard stating they would remove a rather generic pose from the game. Before that, we brought you stories about the UN’s attempt to ban violent games , the R. Mika controversy, and much, much more. Censorship has steadily become more and more noticeable, and we can add one more game to the ever growing list.

It looks as though Tri-Ace, the developer behind upcoming action-RPG Star Ocean 5, has decided to censor some of their characters. In a recent interview with 4gamer, director Hishori Ogawa, designer Akira Yasuda and producer Suichi Kobayashi gave their reasons why. “Recently there’s been a trend in games where if you put out a character that shows a lot of skin, later on you might have to make a lot of revisions” Akira stated, likely considering the recent climate here in the West. “There’s been a lot of flak from overseas countries” he continued, while Kobayashi added that “a teen wearing sexy underwear isn’t good [abroad], so we added more clothing”.

According to Akira, the game was rated by CERO as a C due to these elements, which, going by this handy guide, is our equivalent of 15+ (Teen). Some characters are more sexual than others, with Akira himself stating that there was a sense of eroticism about some of them. Fiore in particular “uses a lot of displayed crests on her skin to cast curses. That was part of her setting”. It may be for this reason that the men said they felt “it was very frustrating” when they had to make the switch.

You can check out the rather bizarre changes in the images above. It’s really not that noticeable when you see it, which raises the question – was it even necessary? For so much criticism coming in from our neck of the woods, such a small change doesn’t seem as though it would quell the tides of outrage. The story has since been picked out by major outlets, so it’s unlikely this will slip by anyone planning to purchase the game. Additionally, the change impacts Japan’s version of the game as well, so fans are (unsurprisingly) not pleased.

If you feel like it, you can check out the full interview here. Star Ocean 5 is due to release in Japan on March 31st on PS4 and April 28th for PS3. The game is expected in the West in Q3 of 2016.

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