Tom Lipschultz, a very community-oriented localizer working with XSeed Games, will no longer be credited in any of XSeed’s future games. The reason? Well, he wasn’t entirely comfortable with some of the changes made to the game, even though some people have accepted that the changes made were probably necessary for the game not to bury XSeed under a furor of media backlash.
Censored Gaming spotted the news from over on the XSeed Games forums, where Lipschultz talked to the community about what sort of changes had to be made for the localization of Akiba’s Beat. There were a number of translation discrepancies involving characters and names that weren’t too bad, but Lipschultz ran into one problem where he wasn’t sure that a certain reference should have been drastically altered. Lipschultz explains…
“”KKK witches” –> “ACQ witches” […] The original was a parody of “NKK switches,” a Japanese light switch manufacturer based out of Akihabara. I personally felt “KKK witches” was pretty funny for its shock value, but when I mentioned it to my coworkers, they… were not as amused. For various reasons (some of which do include legitimate localization concerns, but most of which involved personal offense, worries over offending others, or worries over stores not carrying the game due to this “controversial” inclusion), they were insistent upon the name being changed. And of course, I fought this as best as I could, since I saw the forceful change of this as an act of censorship (minor though it be, and even understandable though it be).
“In the end, however, it was Acquire themselves who voluntarily changed it to “ACQ witches”… sort of. We only ever got as far as emailing them to let them know that the KKK is a well-known abbreviation for a hate group in America, and asking them if the name “KKK witches” had any specific meaning in Akiba’s Beat, and the conversation never progressed beyond that point before Acquire simply changed the sign text and sent us a new build”
Lipschultz felt as if this could be construed as XSeed’s Western branch attempting to influence the localization of Akiba’s Beat for its release in America and Europe. He wasn’t entirely comfortable with that and how that interpretation might resonate within the gaming community, given how antsy a lot of hardcore gamers have become over issues of censorship in recent years, and the advent of a certain group of SJWs in media who have been advocating for more censorship in Japanese and other Asian games localized for the West.
According to Lipschultz, he asked to be removed from the credits to absolve himself of the issue…
“I mean, how else were they supposed to interpret us asking about it at all? And (3) the Japanese version still retains the “KKK witches” moniker, with the change only made to all English versions. It is due to this change, and specifically due to my initial misconception that we’d directly asked the devs to change it, that I asked to have my name removed from the credits of Akiba’s Beat, and thus — in accordance with company policy, which I was well advised of beforehand — removed from XSEED’s company credits altogether, meaning I will not be appearing in the credits of any future XSEED title.”
He states that there is actually a company policy that states that if someone does not want to be credited in a single title, they cannot be credited in any future XSeed releases as well. The policy explicitly says…
”Since the whole XSEED team is credited on each project by our official company title rather than anybody’s specific role on an individual game (such as “Localization Editor” in all credits regardless of if the person did any editing on that particular game or not), we cannot be selective about which games people are credited in. If someone is ashamed to be associated with one of our games, then they are ashamed to be associated with the company as a whole and won’t be credited in future games either.”
Lipschultz was surprisingly accommodating of being removed from the credits, and said that he would simply be known as a “ninja localizer” fighting against anti-censorship from the shadows.
Some people agreed with Lipschultz, others felt that Acquire did right by changing the text to something less inflammatory. There’s definitely a divide in how some people view the situation, but ultimately XSeed and Acquire likely didn’t want the media continuously dragging them through the mud for including a perceived Ku Klux Klan reference in the game while the media is currently on a doggedly diligent mission to paint any and everyone as a white nationalist and as a Nazi sympathizer.
These labels are not without consequence, and people like PewDiePie have lost work and ad revenue over these media smear campaigns, as reported by Jewish News Online. The last thing XSeed would need is to have to deal with the possibility of the game being pulled from store shelves because of a concentrated media smear due to the name of a group in the game.
Akiba’s Beat is due for release in North America on May 16th for the PS4 and PS Vita, and on May 19th in Europe.