Sega of America’s communication manager, Jonathan Stebel, revealed in a recent interview that the Western release of Catherine: Full Body will be the same as the release in Japan, even though there have already been reports of censorship. It turns out things are a little more complicated than what Stebel lets on.
In the interview with DualShockers Stebel attempts to explain that both versions of the game are the same, telling the outlet…
“What we do in localization is so complex that anyone who tries to grab an individual scene from a Japanese game and translate it themselves, they’re not going to get the full context of what’s going on. There are various timelines in play, there are various motivations in play that really get lost without the context of the entire game leading up to the scene we’re discussing now. So in terms of content between the Japanese and Western releases of the game, there is not going to be anything that is disingenuously represented—you’re going to get the same game as Japan.”
However, Sankaku Complex were not fooled.
The outlet pointed out that it had already been confirmed back in May that Catherine: Full Body was being censored for the Western release. This followed on reports from one of the English voice actresses claiming that the localization team would be addressing the game’s “bigotry” after a bunch of people at ResetEra managed to pull strings to get Catherine: Full Body to trend, claiming that the game was “transphobic”.
Well, Stebel actually did comment to DualShockers about the scene in question, but refused to call it “censorship”, and instead talked around the issue and said that people would have to come up with their own interpretation…
“A lot of the members of the localization team for Full Body worked on the original Catherine as well. We always do post-mortems for games; we look back and say, ‘what could we have done better?’ Many years ago, we said ‘if we ever do Catherine again, probably shouldn’t deadname Erica.’ But I think for that scene in question, there’s just context, there’s misinterpretations, mistranslations out there and it’s hard to get the actual story. But even as a PR person living in 2019, I’m not really concerned about that scene. You will need the full context to really understand what’s going on there and come up with your own interpretation afterward.”
“[…] But again, people can come up with their own interpretations of the game, and that’s totally fair. We’re not here to tell people what they should think of the game either. So I think it’s going to cause a lot of discussions, but that’s probably a good thing in the long run, too.”
DualShockers kept pushing the matter, though, claiming that parts of the game has “transphobic coding”.
This forced Stebel to talk about the internal cultural review committee, who makes sure that Atlus’ content is appropriate for “Western audiences”.
In the article DualShockers quotes and paraphrases Stebel, explaining…
“’I can’t speak for the Japanese promotion,’ Stebel said responding to my point about that coded imagery being used to promote the game, ‘but I would say that the full game is not like that.’ Stebel mentioned to me that the localization team has an internal cultural view committee that reviews everything from overseas to ensure that content is ‘suitable for a Western audience” while also representing that content “genuinely.”
That doesn’t sound good at all.
A lot of Centrists™ will argue that everything is fine and since Stebel didn’t use the word “censorship” nothing was probably censored, but we’ve seen this song and dance before, and we all know how it ends.
Nexon didn’t want to call Hyper Universe’s changes “censorship”, but the results were still the same, and that’s why it ended up on the Get Woke; Go Broke Master List.
Judgment‘s localizers took liberties with infusing sociopolitical jargon in the game in order to subliminally inculcate gamers with feminist ideology.
Funimation’s localizers attempted to use the opportunity to also alter dialogue for their own ideological agenda, and in response Funimation silenced their naysayers by screaming about harassment.
Blade & Soul‘s localizers censored the game and altered story content in order to accommodate their own feminist ideology, and then they censored the community’s e-mail campaigns to NCSoft that were aimed at getting the company to remove the censorship.
The stories just keep piling up about localizers using their positions for the purpose of pushing out agitprop. Will Catherine: Full Body be a different story? It’s hard to tell from Stebel’s comments since he didn’t want to commit to saying there would be no censorship, while also at the same time saying that it would be the same as the Japanese version. Then again, NCSoft said the same thing about Blade & Soul, and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
Catherine: Full Body is due out on September 3rd, 2019 for the PS4 in the West.
(Thanks for the news tip FightSJWCensorship)