Various graphical elements of the upcoming English release of MapleStory 2 appear to have been censored.
MapleStory 2 is a prequel to one of the most classic MMORPGs. In this incarnation players can explore the Maple World in 3D. The game is an action platformer MMORPG with a fast leveling curve and high focus on end game activities. It features minigames, various PVP modes, and unique PvE set on voxel arenas, where square pieces of the map may fall down due to the boss’ attacks. Additionally, the game tries to distinguish itself with a high focus on customization.
The game was initially released in 2015 in Korea, and is only recently being brought over to the West — with the "Global" version's first closed beta phase taking place back in May and a second planned to start on July 18th. Over time, many players have noticed that the game is likely to be censored by the time of full release.
A while back Twitter user by the handle of Spadow has shown a comparison of some changed equipment icons:Tweet
The presented changes show a recoloring of the Red Cross emblem to avoid misuse prohibited by international law and the Geneva convention, as well as additional cloth around the chest, midriff, and thigh areas of various outfits. While these changes are apparent, players report that they haven’t seen any edits on the actual 3D models in-game during the first beta phase. Additionally, several differences were noticed on 2D artwork of NPC characters.
It is important to notice that MapleStory 2, much like its predecessor, uses solely chibi-style artwork to represent characters, which may grant them a childish appearance, and is a likely reason for potential censorship. Another more likely reason could be they wanted the game to be as "kid friendly" as possible.
A more peculiar change was spotted regarding the skin color of one of the game’s antagonists, which was changed from a more realistic skin tone to a fictional one:
MapleStory 2 forum user Sixaxis points out that it might be meant to avoid stereotyping black people:
In the story, that NPC is the Antagonist/Evil Symbol of another NPC that is the Symbol of Light (Those aren't their exact names, but close enough). I guess they didn't want people to feel offended by the Symbol of Light appearing as a White Featherfolk while the Evil one is Black, even though the amount of people that'd legitimately be bothered by it could be counted on 1 hand.
Censorship almost always leads to a discussion of lost entertainment value and artistic integrity, and in the case of MapleStory 2, the community is also distressed over their potential lose of expressive freedom. One of the game’s major features allows creation of one’s own textures for various clothing items.
During the first Global beta test players reported receiving warnings and having their custom clothing removed for it being overly suggestive or explicit. These cases involved ahegao hoodies and faces with cum stains. In some of these incidents, players mentioned that the level of moderation seems to be higher than on the Korean servers, and no one is sure what regulations will be introduced after the game’s full release.
Even though the discussion has been going on for a while, Nexon hasn’t provided any official response. You can join the discussion on the game’s official forum.
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