The censorship saga continues. Previously, we had reported on how NIS America was localizing the extremely risque Vita game, Criminal Girls: Invite Only. The game is mostly known for its punishment mini-game, in which you can spank, grope, and electrocute, etc. the condemned girls.
We followed up with that report both in a statement from NIS America that Criminal Girls would be slightly censored, and discussed this on one of our weekly podcasts that highlighted the controversy. We’re obviously on the anti-censorship side of the fence, in any sense of the matter.
We and many of our fans were skeptical of the game being too risque for the ESRB (and various EU equivalents), but apparently this is the case, as we’ve learned that Criminal Girls: Invite Only in its original form would have gotten the dreaded AO rating.
When asked about just how sure they were of Criminal Girls receiving an AO rating, a NIS America representative gave us this response:
“Criminal Girls was guaranteed an AO rating in its original form and the modifications made in the game were done so that we could bring the game over. The modifications were not done as an attempt to isolate our current fans or appeal to a wider audience.”
Also, because you guys were kind enough to ask me, I also prompted our NIS America rep to see how Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed would be coming to EU territories (NIS America is localizing it there for XSEED) because the fear was that it too would be censored.
His response will hopefully ease your concerns:
“As far as I know, Akiba’s Trip will be able to pass ratings boards in both the NA and EU regions as is.”
So, to be clear, Criminal Girls will simply have more fog added and see the Japanese voices of the girls during the mini-games removed as well. This is a better scenario over having the mini-games removed entirely, like NIS America did with the bath mini-game in Mugen Souls Z.
It does bring up the question of where the line is drawn for the ESRB (and worldly equivalents) as far as content go, however the blame is with them and not NIS America.
For most countries, having gratuitous violence will generally give you an M (for mature) rating, but the moment you have excessive or uncensored sexuality and or nudity in the game, it generally equates to an AO (adults only) rating.
For those who are unaware, an AO rating essentially means your game is blacklisted, vendors won’t sell it and online distributors like Steam and the PlayStation Network won’t touch it either. An AO rating is usually associated with pornography games, where sex is generally the only goal.
This is similar with X rated movies or its new form, the NC-17 rating (no one under 17 years old admitted), which came after the porn industry widely used the X rating.
I’m very thankful for NIS America for being so good to us, and helping us shed some more light on this whole situation. So how do you guys feel about this? Do you think censorship laws and or cultural norms are completely backwards?