Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono recently confirmed that they enacted self-censorship with Street Fighter V as a way to avoid offending anyone.
Gamers are at a breaking point regarding the gaming industry being reshaped by certain ideologues; in core gaming communities they are expressing extreme discomfort toward groups within the press known as “Social Justice Warriors”. Gamers perceive them as ruining the industry with the defamatory attacks on developers and gamers, which has resulted in self-censorship from various development studios.
This build-up comes after just a few short months of multiple cases of censorship being enacted, including Koei Tecmo barring the release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West due to the hostile climate surrounding gender politics. There’s also Xenoblade Chronicles X having multiple instances of content censored for its release in the West. Idea Factory International admitted that the hostile gender politics in the West caused them to forfeit localizing and censoring some games for America and Europe. And then there is the instance of Blade & Soul, where NCSoft promised that the Mature rated MMORPG would not be censored for its Western release, but it turned out that the game underwent heavy amounts of censorship for the character portrayals and quests due to some of the content being deemed “culturally insensitive” toward Western standards involving gender politics.
In this most recent case, Street Fighter V has undergone some minor edits to appeal to a broader audience and, according to the interview with producer Yoshinori Ono, to avoid “offending” anyone.
Across the web gamers have become incensed at this increased puritanical takeover of gaming, affecting developers both in the West and the East.
Over on the Steam forums the threads are full of topics discussing and expressing indignation toward Capcom’s decision to self-censor in order to avoid offending casuals and non-fans of Street Fighter.
Winding Pike had a thread on Steam where he expressed that some people were overreacting, but he still felt as if this situation “isn’t gonna end well” due to Capcom trying to chase after the easily offended for their new consumer base.
“Publishers finally have to realize that the ones they feel to censor their games for are the ones that are not even buying them. They are an extremely loud vocal minority who want censorship on an artform they don’t even like, but see a chance to control.
“Stop pandering to these people and enraging your actual customers in the process.”
In a thread threatening Capcom to abandon all censorship or face refunds, Steam user Sledgehammer basically explained in a thorough post that this whole gender politics debate has been devised by Western media and not gamers…
“The problem though is that almost everyone for some reason think that media in America is so powerful that it represents the views of the whole West and every person so it’s better to censor your own product otherwise they going to attack you and your game won’t have good sales. Koei proved again that they’re most stupid company which actually have a clue about the West since they were there for a very long time. They did sell previous games in the West and so far Western releases were most successful. It’s not a problem about censorship, they’re afraid of American media, nothing more and this plague is slowly and slowly coming to Japan.”
ValDarkmoon believes that Japanese game developers recognize that the media doesn’t represent gamers but their hands are tied because he believes Social Justice Warriors dominate and control Western media, writing…
“SJWs are in majority control of the media and people do not question what they are told. They know they will be demonized unfairly for their games. Stuff WILL get cherry picked and they know it.
“The media threat is not something Japanese devs are worried about from us as gamers. They are worried about the backlash media coverage will create against their companies from the general and uneducated public since messages from gamers are demonized. This is why gamergate was such a defeat as well.”
“ I absolutely refuse to finance or support in any way the censorship of video games and the removal of fanservice. Throwing your fanbase under the bus to gain the support of noisy special interest groups that are in the minority, aren’t even part of your target demographic and won’t actually play your game is a real ♥♥♥♥ move.”
“lets censor everything right, [except] KILLLING people, lets just enjoy running about killing people in shooters, lets play this FIGHTING game, beating up on other people..
“but careful children, if a semi naked woman or man with a sexual nature outfit or move shows up you will be scarred for LIFE.. because the human body is a SIN to be seen no matter if fantasy or real life”
“Removing these gems it’s like removing blood and gore from MK. If people don’t like it – they shouldn’t play it, to attract whole new playerbase Capcom will have to do much more than remove things fans love this game for”
Most surprising was that there is a massive thread regarding the censorship on Capcom Unity that is one of the most discussed topics on the forums for Street Fighter V right now.
“SJWs and feminists still won’t be happy, but well.. nobody cares about them. It’s not their game. I’d prefer if you didn’t censor it at all, but if you have to.. then give us an option to uncensor it. Thanks”
Sammy was another one of many in the thread who had also become fed up with Social Justice Warriors affecting the games coming out and setting up a climate of fear that forces developers to self-censor, writing…
“ It’s just so obvious that they censored because of SJW’s and when you look at other companies (which is pointed out in the above quote) it’s just more reason to believe Capcom are scared too, it’s just waaaaaaay too obvious.
“Also self censorship is actually worse anyway, they didn’t “give in” so to speak, they already gave up from the get go and agreed to do it without even attempting to go through with it, totally and completely going against their own creative freedom.”
While Capcom Unity has setup a containment thread for complaints about Street Fighter V’s censorship, there are a number of threads like this one, this one, and this one on GameFaqs where they don’t even hide the fact that they know who is to blame and why.
“So here’s the deal. Ever since feminist frequency started this whole debate about woman in videogames the thing has spread like a disease reaching even to our dear and beloved street fighter.”
“[…] So to me what is happening is that there is a backlash of people that are not even hardcore fans of said games want to censor them.” […] “What I can not stand its pretty much censorship in general and its even worst when its something as natural as sexuality” […]
“Theres nothing wrong with a buttslap or a revealing angle, this is damn 2015 and people get upset and take concerns about how some bunch of polygons look when there are people dying in wars. Censorship of anything, anything and specially something as innocent as human sexuality should not go on these days. Hell this is even double standards when we have a sexy costume for Ryu.”
The GameFaqs topics point out that gamers should make their voices heard. They’re proactively suggesting that if you’re a fan, a gamer, and a consumer, that it might be best to purchase Street Fighter V and tweet an image of the purchase to producer Yoshinori Ono at his Twitter handle @Yoshi_OnoChin. The objective is to let Ono know that you are a consumer and a gamer, and that the media does not speak for the gaming community, but that gamers speak for themselves.
Patowarheart also added that it wasn’t just about Street Fighter or some war against feminism, but the slippery slope taking place in gaming that gamers originally had to face down against back in the 1990s when Senator Joe Lieberman was attacking games, as well as the early 2000s when Jack Thompson was coming after games. Patowarheart states in a post…
“The thing [that’s] happening [it’s] that many developers [have] been censoring their games to the west for decades now. And here is happening again and [I’m] telling the people on this board to take a picture of their purchase and tell the director and the company of the game that they bought it but they don’t support the censorship”
[Update: Niche Gamer’s community have started an e-mail campaign to Yoshinori Ono]