Some people are calling it censorship, others are calling it improvements, but regardless of the changes there have been some stark modifications to the Secretkeeper, the Succubus, and Windfury Harpy card art.
Gamers noticed the changes in the recent update that was rolled out over on the Hearthstone blog.
The blog post goes through a litany of changes and updates to Hearthstone, including the new expansion the Saviors of Uldum, which comes out on August 6th. They also dropped a new cinematic trailer for it.
However, the big news was that certain cards have received updates that have seen them change somewhat drastically.
The most noticeable changes are with the Felstalker, Secretkeeper and the Windfury Harpy, mainly because in the original artwork they were depicted with a lot of sex appeal, but the newer artwork seems to make some changes.
Most notably is that the Felstalker has replaced the Succubus card. The card retains its rank and the same effect, but the art and the name is now completely different.
So everything about the card has stayed the same, except that they replaced the name of the “Succubus” with “Felstalker”, and they also completely removed Matt Dixon’s art of the sexy demoness floating in the sky with a whip in little more than an armored bikini.
You can see the larger image of the art below to see what Blizzard effectively censored.
Additionally, the Secretkeeper’s callipygian artwork has been modified so that her shapely backside is no longer the focus of the card. Instead, she’s now facing the player with a full frontal view.
Arguments could be made that the new artwork is actually sexier since it bares her midriff and she’s in boob armor.
However, the new artwork makes her look more physiologically rotund, as if she’s less thin and more overweight than how her original artwork depicted her. Notice that in Gonzalo Ordonez’ depiction of the Secretkeeper, the focus is on her fetching backside, where-as the new picture is more-so centered around her midsection.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a larger image of the new card to compare it to Ordenz’ original artwork, so it’s hard to see how it scales in comparison and if it’s just the card dimensions that makes the Secretkeeper look fat or if it was intentional. But given that they completely censored the Succubus art, I’m almost willing to bet that they intentionally made her look fat in the new art.
Last but not least is the Windfury Harpy, who is now a lot more covered up. They gave her a larger pelvis curtain, changed her position, and put her on a bra with more coverage. You can see the comparison below.
The new position makes it so that she’s no longer sticking her heiny out, and so the perspective shifts so that you’re seeing less of her exposed thighs. Notice that her wings are also used to distract the viewer from her exposed body in the newer art, as they’re placed in the foreground instead of the background like in Luke Mancini’s original artwork.
This also changes the shading on her body, so that the shadows create more obscurity of her mid-section and thighs, in addition to her entire upper chest being covered with a bra. The differences are obviously themed around censoring the more risque pin-up that Mancini had for the Harpy, as you can see in the larger image below.
So now comes the part where we go into the reasons of why the artwork was changed.
Some speculate that this is to get Hearthstone to comply with China’s increasing censorship regulations and to allow the card game to make its way into Mainland China. Others speculate that it’s to get Hearthstone a lower rating so that they can increase their market presence to wider demographic. Others believe that it’s just Blizzard adopting more regressive, puritan views driven by the ideologues on the Left to cover up women and present a game that’s less “sexually objectifying”.
If I had to go with one of three reasons I would definitely go with the third, especially since they previously censored Hearthstone cards to make them look less sexy for absolutely no good reason.
As for those shopping around the China idea? Well, pre-censoring your content before China’s regulation board even takes a look is pointless because they may require more edits or different edits than what were made to the game. So censoring content before you get feedback from their censorship board is a waste of money and pretty stupid, unless someone has already tipped off the designers as to what to change based on a preemptive meeting with someone on China’s classification/censorship committee.
Trying to get a lower age rating by censoring some content sounds like a reasonable suggestion, but it’s already on the app stores and rated ‘T’ for Teen. Plus, the women are still dressed provocatively, just with some minor changes. Would the IARC really claim that feathered coverage over the Harpy’s boobs was too risque but an ornate cross-bra was enough to land an ‘E’ rating? Seems suspect.
Anyway, you can speculate on what the reasons were for the censorship in the comment section below.
(Thanks for the news tip Artic 18+ btw)