Criminal Girls 2, published by NIS America, will be censored for its Western release. The changes will encompass everything from artwork to dialogue.
It’s a common occurrence. Censorship seems unavoidable, and it’s happening more often than not. Western releases rarely stay true to the original, whether it’s through negligence, fear or reprisal or other motivations. It seems Criminal Girls 2 will be no different.
In a lengthy blog post by the developer, the team details the reasons behind why Criminal Girls 2 will be censored, and what to expect from its Western release.
There are a number of points to go through, but the overarching theme present here is “ratings boards”. The post opens with a short introduction, which summarizes that “while we do our best to make all our fans happy, we also need to make sure that our games can be released on the platform they’re made for.”
It’s a familiar story for fans of localized games. While Criminal Girls 2 will retain most of its features, there are going to be a few big changes that fans can expect come September.
Firstly, and least surprisingly, the game’s artwork is due for an overhaul. While the developer states that they, “didn’t want to make any changes that would be jarring,” the team did nonetheless opt for re-drawn images. With the help of the original artist, Criminal Girls 2 will feature significantly less explicit artwork than before (seen below).
In addition to the artwork, the game’s dialogue will also be changed. This will mostly impact the terminology used, particularly that of the “punishment” mini-games. These will now be framed as “motivation” games instead, which the team says will, “reduce the power distance between the player and the girls.”
According to the post—and this is a consistent theme throughout—this has been done to make the “activities of the game more consensual.”
While the team has opted to reduce the jarring effect this will have, there probably aren’t many jail birds who would willingly sign up for punishment, sorry, “motivation”.
The dialogue will also be missing entirely from these sequences, which the team again says will help alleviate said “power distance”. According to NISA, this has also been done due to technical challenges, as the Japanese voice work could not be accompanied by text.
Jordan, the post’s author, concludes with a short message to fans. It looks as though the team has made these decisions on their own, citing potential pressures from the ratings board. “We consult with ratings boards,” says Jordan. “We can (and often do, trust me) argue our position, but at the end of the day, we have to conform with the guidance the ratings board gives us,” he concludes in the later FAQ.
Regardless of these changes, Jordan assures fans that the game will have the “same gameplay mechanics as someone in Japan.” It’s more than can be said for Nintendo fans, but it may be small consolation.
The team have also provided an FAQ, which they hope will field answers to the most likely questions. These questions mostly ask if there could be any hope for an uncensored version in future, particularly on PC.
“Probably not happening, either. That would require the game being re-rated, reprogrammed, and retested,” it concedes.
According to the FAQ, the main reason the team provides for these changes is, “time and budget.” NISA maintains that, “we need to be absolutely sure that it’s going to be the final version,” otherwise they risk delays and possible costs down the line. It seems the team is fearful of receiving an AO (Adults Only) rating, which can come with a host of issues for selling a product.
Only NIS America really knows why this happened. Thankfully, the team has at least given fans an explanation, regardless of whether it’s accepted. NIS understands that a lot of people won’t be happy, however, they still hope that, “many will still appreciate the product for what it is.”
As time goes on that may be a difficult task, particularly as this is only the latest in a long line of censored games. Fans of localized titles may be a little worn down, and are less likely than ever to accept changes. It’s a tough position to be in, and it’s one where neither developer or fan really wins.
For more of our coverage on Criminal Girls 2, check out our archives. Criminal Girls 2 is due out in September in North America and Europe, and will be available for the PlayStation Vita.
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