Some fans may be excited about this news while others will be (rightfully) cautious and pessimistically optimistic. Arc System Works have announced that they have opened up a branch extension in Torrance, California within the United States as a way to better bridge communication between the East and the West.
AllGamesDelta posted up the press release from Arc System Works, where Arc president Minoru Kidooka stated…
“While we have been able to bring our games to North America with help from local business partners in the past, with our new branch ‘Arc System Works America, Inc.’ we will better be able to open the channels of communication between fan and developer, ensuring your voices are heard and most importantly applied.”
Diehard fans may be reading this news through widened pupils, color-drained faces, and mouths agape in pure terror.
Well, Arc System Works have, so far, done a fine job of producing games for the past 30 years. What’s more is that the localization for Arc’s games haven’t been broadcast in the news for taking unnecessary liberties with the original artists’ work. For the most part, Arc System Works have been known for simply producing quality games with acceptable localizations for games such as BlazBlue and Guilty Gear.
Establishing a local branch in the U.S,. – in California no less – is the sort of news that could send red flags erecting sky high for fans. We’ve seen how other U.S., based localization outfits have handled Japanese and South Korean games recently, or how U.S., based community managers have co-opted the company message to push their own agendas.
NCSoft had claimed that Blade & Soul would be released in the West uncensored, but the American localizers took great liberties with censoring quests, characters, poses, taunts, and costumes in order to make the female depictions in the game more “empowered”, and lessening depictions that localizers felt were “sexist”. When fans attempted to revolt, the Western community management team for Blade & Soul censored the e-mail protests and began banning users bringing up the topic of censorship.
We also saw how Nintendo’s North American localization branch completely butchered games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, even going so far as to remove the pelvic bones from the female characters to make them less sexually appealing. To no one’s surprise, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE barely sold 35,000 copies during its first month on the market.
There was also the recent situation where Funimation took great liberties with a localized anime by adding in current-day, hot-button sociopolitical topics centering around Social Justice Warriors and Donald Trump.
Fans were typically not happy, but Funimation brushed it off by talking about harassment.
According to Kidooka, he states that they won’t let the politics deter them or dissuade them from their core goal of making action-packed and challenging games, saying in the press release…
“As we expand in these exciting times, I will personally ensure we never lose sight of the Arc System Works company slogan: ‘Action’ ‘Revolution’ ‘Challenge’. I look forward to our latest challenge of establishing a new branch and continuing to develop exciting and innovative experiences for all the fans who made this next stage in our company’s history possible.”
I sure hope that there is plenty of Japanese oversight of the California branch because the last thing we need is for Arc System Works to fall victim to the sort of inside sabotage that completely upended companies like Comcept USA, where one of the self-affirmed Social Justice Warrior community managers claimed that they were trying to purposefully inject as much feminist indoctrination into Mighty No. 9 as possible.
Hopefully what Kidooka says is true, and they’ll keep a close eye on their U.S., branch and ensure that they don’t get out of hand or start co-opting Arc System Works with sociopolitical propaganda… like some other companies.