Due to negative feedback, Nexon America has decided to reduce bust sizes and edit clothing on some of their playable characters in Hyper Universe, a new side-scrolling MOBA.
Hyper Universe is a relative newcomer to the MOBA genre, currently in the founders’ test phase for its North American release. The game features side-scrolling action for two teams of four players in a standard competitive setup of lane pushing. It’s set in a unique crossover of pop-culture: the game allows players to take control of various characters, from ninja and nuns to vampires and super sentai heroes.
The game’s cast is full of well-endowed female characters, often paired up with a rather brash choice of clothing. After receiving multiple instances of feedback during PAX, and on the game’s forums during earlier test phases, Nexon decided to slightly censor the game by reducing the average breast size by a cup or two and reducing cleavage some more. These changes also required lowering the game’s jiggle physics to function properly. This minimal level of additional decency is seen by the staff as a “compromise” that’s supposed to appeal to the differences between the Western and Asian market. Hyper Universe community manager RazielWarmonic, a.k.a. Raz, explains:
A few people have already had great responses in this thread, but in alpha, there was a pretty hot debate in a forum thread (which ended up being our longest forum thread for alpha) about how the females are presented in the game, 5 forum pages later a few people agreed that a compromise between super busty/skimpy and covering up might be for the best. This is what we are attempting to do. We want to keep the appeal of the female characters (and males for that matter!) while not offending anyone. We want to keep the artist’s integrity in-check, but make the game inviting to not only play, but watch as well.
The changes so far have been pretty minimal, mainly focused on reducing chest size a little bit, making the physics a bit more realistic (there were some funny side effects of reducing the chest and not adjusting the physics), and slightly covering up chests to not reveal as much bust line. This is going to be a case-by-case thing. Not every Hyper and skin in the future will get this treatment.
All-in-all, we want to keep the general designs of the current Hypers and skins, so if modifications are made in the future they will likely go the way of what you already have seen – slightly more covering shirts/tunics and reduced breast size.
Even though the changes have been minimal, the idea was quickly met with a backlash. The game’s official forums , Reddit , and Steam forums have been flooded with topics commenting on the decision. The community quickly divided itself into groups of people accusing Nexon of generalizing the Western audience or being fed up with the former overreacting. A few, more open-minded ideas surfaced as well, suggesting solutions like a toggle switch in the options menu.
Among many the various stances appeared allegations of a political agenda. Raz was quick to dismiss these, explaining that the changes are aimed at people living with kids or at content creators — who could avoid or be unable to stream content deemed “too obscene.” The lack of positive feedback was attributed to the largely negative stances of others and people fearing being attacked. In two separate instances Raz writes:
Again, though, we are compromising between the two parties. We want the game to be more accessible to people of all ages, occupations, etc. We heard more than a few times, in person and in private on-line, “Yeah, I wouldn’t want my daughter/son seeing this”. That is not a good image. It is painfully obvious the Asian and Western markets are different, or else we wouldn’t be doing these minimal changes to appeal to the Western market while keeping the overall artistic integrity in-check like I mentioned before.
Trust me when I say we are not thinking short-term with this game, we are thinking long-term and about the side effects of the changes. We are not just “knee-jerking” to react to a “couple” of complainers. I realize these changes will not make everyone happy, but I hope you can at least see it from our point of view when it comes to marketing of the game, overall enjoyment, content creators, and more.
As for “SJW” – that’s just a buzz term. It’s not like we are scouring the internet looking for things wrong with the game and the art. The feedback we have gotten are from people who HAVE played the game and WANT to play, but due to things like having young children present or other reasons, don’t feel comfortable playing the game at home. That’s a loss for everyone, not just for us who are making the game, but for other players as well because that is one less person in queue, one less person to connect with, one less person to strategize with, one less person to watch Hyper Universe with.
A few people have come to me in private explaining their reasoning, and what we saw in the alpha thread is that one person expressed his opinion, he got attacked fast. It’s possible people don’t want to post about it because yes, they may not care enough about the game to bother, or two, because they are afraid of being attacked from other forum members. Also, I read your feedback and took note of it. Thanks!
It is undeniable, however, that many players prefer alluring, lewd aesthetics in their games. The more talented part of the fanbase didn’t disappoint, though. A Steam user going by the handle King Arthur has posted an easy to follow guide on how to replace the already changed art back into its original Korean version. You can find the mod here, though while it brings back the artwork, it does not restore the jiggle physics.
Hopefully more mods will show up in the future if the game turns out to be successful. In such case we will keep you posted, though remember that modifying game files is always done at your own risk, especially when the publisher doesn’t support the procedure.
If you’d like to play Hyper Universe yourself and see the changes in action, the game is available on Steam in early access for $15.99