During World War II there were many places that came together to fight against Nazism, and later Communism. Both ideologies have resulted in countless deaths, yet Communism continues to get a free pass in today’s media by people who either never studied history or are content on finishing up where the U.S.S.R., left off. One such outlet still defending the old ways of the red union is GamesIndustry.biz, which has run to the defense of China’s totalitarian standards for media censorship.
In fact, GamesIndustry.biz decided to use the instance of Ubisoft removing the intended censorship of Rainbow Six: Siege following complaints from the gaming community, as a way to attack the gaming community.
Initially Ubisoft was going to make Rainbow Six: Siege operate on a single global version, which meant that all international versions of the game would have to be the same. In preparation for a formal launch in mainland China, it meant that the studio would have to adhere to China’s 10 Rules of Censorship, and so Ubisoft removed or changed various graphical effects and aesthetics. This resulted in negative reviews, lots of angry forum threads, and plenty of complaints from gamers who argued against having to play a watered down version of the game just so Ubisoft could accommodate the Chinese government’s censorship standards. Ubisoft decided to renege on their censorship plans and restore the game to the original version.
For GamesIndustry.biz, gamers wanting a game to retain its artistic integrity was unacceptable.
Editor James Batchelor wrote in a piece published on November 21st, 2018…
“Getting back to the original plan — yes, such modifications capitulated to the censorship of the Chinese government, as so many players nobly observed in their reviews. But honestly, how harmful is the removal of any of these trivial visual elements in a title where you still run around shooting people in the face? Was a neon stripper central to the vital message the developers were trying to send through the medium of online deathmatches?”
GamesIndustry.biz argues that developers catering and listening to gamers is dangerous due to “gamer entitlement”, and that Ubisoft should have forgone artistic integrity to seek the almighty Chinese yuan.
Batchelor goes on to mock gamers who didn’t like the idea that AAA publishers could begin bending over backwards to censor their games in order to appease China’s Ministry of Culture, writing…
“Several users ‘hilariously’ posted “[This review has been censored by the People’s Republic of China]” while others made reference to Ubisoft’s newfound communist ethos – but I’m fairly sure that modifying a game purely to access the lucrative Chinese audience is pretty capitalist as a business practice. […]”
“[…] the bemoaners are a vocal minority fighting against change, against anything that doesn’t fit with their view of what they already have or have had in the past. Holding on to the past or present is not the way to move a business or an industry forward — especially in a games-as-a-service world where titles are built to develop over time and cater to different markets. And the more publishers are afraid of upsetting their fans, the fewer risks they’ll take, the faster our industry will stagnate.” […]
This kind of Communistic apologism did not go down well with some of the commenters on the piece at all, including a former Chinese game journalist, Fan Zhang, who absolutely ripped into Batchelor for his piece.
Fan didn’t hold anything back, making it known that many Chinese already play games via global servers and prefer the uncensored version of games instead of the localized versions that get butchered due to government restrictions, writing…
“[…] Now, do you think Chinese players, those who have bought and already spent hundreds of hours in this game, are okay with those “minor aesthetic changes”?
“Can you say we are being unreasonable and entitled for demanding a game not censored by “our” government when we already purchased it, downloaded it, and played it, on global server?
“Is this how your game journalism works? Do you think Chinese players have to stay in motherland even on internet, and waiting for every game to be release by random local publishers, delayed by years and with triple censorship after release, and probably become an abomination because of “localized” business model?
“We just demand to be treated EQUALLY, how difficult for you to understand this?”
The post from Fan is about the length of an article itself, but it’s explained that chasing the Chinese dollar shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all of game development, since China is extremely authoritarian and it ultimately means that there will be fewer games with fewer creative risks being taken to accommodate the ever-so-strict rules forced down on content creators.
Fan censures GamesIndustry.biz for not doing their homework and supporting Communistic censorship, writing…
“Those censorship was never about “make games as inoffensive as possible”- video game in existence is already offensive enough for them. Those censorship is only about removing anything authorities don’t like, and you know what they like least? Slot machines? Blood? Skulls? They don’t like you not paying enough, and not paying enough reverence. They will demand you to censor everything when they don’t like you.
“You know what’s offensive? Content creators succumb to local authorities, but provide censored content to global audience. Can you imagine news agencies in your country have their daily paper censored by Chinese government? Can you imagine the radios you listen to, the TV programs you watch, the concerts you go to, the books you read, are censored by “NOT” your government? Why do you set the bar so low for video games, while being a GAME JOURNALIST?
“How difficult for you to understand this, without calling people unreasonable and entitled?”
It was definitely a breath of fresh air to see someone from China, especially a former game journalist, chime in to finally tell the Social Justice Warriors that they’re wrong.
Too few people speak up for themselves, and in this case Ubisoft did the right thing by listening to the community instead of fighting against everyone in order to appease the Chinese government. It’s still a toss-up whether or nor Ubisoft will commit to fully censoring Rainbow Six: Siege for a special China-only release, but for now the company has relented and restored the original version of the game’s aesthetics, much to the chagrin of anti-gaming game journalists.
(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)