Polygon had the opportunity to interview Scott Strichart, senior localization producer at Sega of America, where the localizer admits to changing a scene in Judgment — where you assume the role of Saori Shirosaki during an undercover mission — to educate the Western audience, mainly males, on catcalling politics.
The write-up by Polygon (archive.is) that sees a traumatized Strichart trying to educate people, mainly males, on catcalling due to the 2014 YouTube video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” depicts his thought process regarding localizing games/scenes.
The second video in its mother tongue sees the first guy saying, “Fuck, she’s hot!” Nothing more than self-expression made to oneself. The first video literally changes the context of the scene where the guy involves the character Shirosaki using a political catcall.
With that said, the website explains in the fourth paragraph that Shirosaki, a girl that is described by the game’s bio to be shy and awkward, takes up an undercover mission by dressing up as a hostess in which you can control — both the dressing scene and everything thereafter.
Polygon cites the localizer saying that upon witnessing the scenario, he knew that the team at Sega had to take “special care with the scene.”
“Sensitive scenes are tricky to get right. I knew right away we had to be careful with it.”
Strichart lied, given that the so-called “sensitive scene” is in an M rated game for mature people, he and the crew turned a non-offensive scene into a political one to “educate” people:
“People talk about how Kamurocho feels real, lived in, and we get a lot of praise for the attention to detail in everything from the dirt on the windows to the reactions of NPCs when you point your camera at them, but with that realness comes the unfortunate reality there’s sometimes there’s an ugliness too, and not every character in this city is meant to be sympathetic.
[…] In a weird way, I saw something of an educational experience here, because our player base is primarily male — and I do kinda hope that being thrust into the first-person perspective of a woman being catcalled felt a little gross. I hope there’s some level of sympathy for Saori, and on the larger scale, empathy for women who deal with it on a regular basis.”
The article ends with Strichart admitting that he and the crew purposely altered the scene while making mention that it’s a “liberal change” because he couldn’t “fathom the arrogance”:
“In the English dub, though, this was changed to ‘smile for me.’ It’s admittedly a liberal change, and maybe I’m just still kind of haunted by the gall of that sentence [in the video], but I think that kind of codified it as catcalling a little more for an English speaking audience who would choose to play the dub.
I guess I couldn’t fathom the arrogance.”
Later, people came out to dissect the issues found in the interview. Make Comments Not War, a commentator on Polygon, wrote that Strichart’s notion is wrong and that the scene is about getting to know Shirosaki better:
“This is more about the character and how she is more of a reserved woman that doesn’t like attention. So dressing her in a way that attracts attention is of course uncomfortable for her because it clashes with her personality.
It isn’t trying to make the kind of social statements this author is trying to spin. It is more of a way to get to know the character better especially since she has a monologue about her past while she is in the changing room before this scene. Then as you are just getting to know the character you continue to play with this character as a hostess and can better understand her thoughts and dialogue options.
tl;dr This scene is a storytelling device and not misandry.”
I bet you are thinking, “Misandry?” Well, in that the game’s intentional purpose wasn’t about showing prejudice against men in that they are catcalling pigs, but yet again a way to get to know Shirosaki better.
On r/Games, Reddit user Helppls555 took notice of the situation and pointed out:
“Sounds to me like they took the “opportunity” (liberty) to change that scene and the reaction of Japanese men and a Japenese audience to make a point about harassment in western countries against western women? Which is kinda silly since the draw of the games is to play a game set in modern Japan, and the person in question is Japanese.
If you listen to the Japanese audio track in the game, the staunch translation of the first catcaller would be, “Fuck, she’s hot.”
“Fuck, she’s hot.” is an expression made to oneself. The NPC doesn’t adress her at all, and just expresses that he’s taken off guard by her beauty, as if he couldn’t hold in. It is simply meant to translate that people react to her new look. Same with “ooh” sounds in the background.
“Smile for me” is a completely different beast, that directly, and creepily involves the character. The overall intent is definitely not captured. Sounds like they completely changed the nature of the scene from an “ugly duckling turn” kind of moment and the relative reaction to it, to a statement reminiscing the 10hours in NY as a women video because the translator got reminded of it.”
In other words, Strichart and the localization team got happy and wanted to flex their SJW liberal studies or trauma on male players.