The E3 2019 trailer that aired during the Nintendo Direct for CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Complete Edition was a total surprise for a lot of gamers. Most didn’t think nor expect the mammoth action-RPG to fit onto Nintendo’s little hybrid console that could. In fact, most people were so flabbergasted at the concept of such a big game fitting onto such a little device that they completely missed the fact that the U.K., trailer for the game was censored.
If you check the Nintendo of America trailer posted up on June 11th, 2019, at the 16 second mark you’ll see the bodies lynched from the trees with black bags over their heads and their bodies swinging limp.
The trailer over on the Nintendo UK channel tells a different story, though. At the 13 second mark there are no bodies strung up on the trees. It’s barren.
Geralt looks up and sees empty nooses hanging idly from the branches like stone testicles on a marble statue.
The real tell comes in at 18 second mark in the U.S., trailer and the 15 second mark in the U.K., trailer.
There’s a stark difference in the ominous tone that’s supposed to be set within the dark fantasy world of The Witcher 3. In one scenario there are men hanged, embracing a sense of foreboding, whereas in the other trailer it’s just dangling ropes. You can see the comparisons below.
For comparison’s sake, you can see that in the official 2015 launch trailer for the original release of The Witcher 3 the hanged men played a significant part in setting the tone for the rest of the trailer. You see them about 28 seconds into the trailer, as evident in the Gamespot trailer below.
It’s pretty obvious that the U.S., trailer is the “canon” trailer, so to speak.
So the big question is why did the U.K., trailer get hit with censorship even though it had a big PEGI 18 rating plastered up on the screen the entire way through? Well, we don’t know. Hopefully it doesn’t end up like the Middle-East version of The Witcher 3, which had a bunch of content censored, as reported by Gear Nuke.
But the more reasonable answer might be due to PEGI’s advertising standards, where they explicitly state that even if a game is rated PEGI 18 that it should not be advertised containing content that could offend the average viewer. As noted in the PEGI advertising guidelines…
“No advertisement for a product carrying a PEGI rating shall contain any content that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence to the average consumer targeted”
Just to be clear what PEGI is stating: a game can be as offensive as it wants, but the advertisements can’t.
Apparently someone at the studio thought that grown men dangling from ropes around their necks on a tall tree was offensive. So it’s entirely possible that to play it on the safe side during the E3 presentation they showed the censored version of the trailer for the U.K., audience to avoid any kind of controversy.
Of course, since we don’t actually know why it was censored, I did reach out to the Nintendo UK brand to ask about the trailer and its censorship and if they decide to respond the article will be updated to reflect their response.
The Witcher 3: Complete Edition is scheduled to release on the Nintendo Switch in late 2019.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)