For a long time now, the topic of the flaunting of women's ... assets in video game content has been on the minds of many people, both inside the gaming industry and outside, and some recent announcements are adding ripples to the waves.
In recent years, video games have started to shift the focus towards women in addition to the men. Many games and game franchises feature female protagonists who fight on the front lines just as much as men do. However, one burning topic that has arisen from this shift is how the women are being depicted -- specifically: is the way they are being depicted offensive?
Many game publishers and developers, some of them very prominent household names, others lesser-known but still very relevant, are making decisions based on the ongoing discussions and debate concerning depictions of women in video games, and no decision comes without its consequence. This past August, Capcom announced that Rainbow Mika would be returning in its most recent addition to the "Street Fighter" series, "Street Fighter V." However, this return of the popular -- and sexy and well-endowed -- fighter came at a price. "One of Rainbow's colorful moves involves her tauntingly slapping herself on the butt, but last month Capcom changed this. While the motion still happens, the camera moves so that the player cannot see it happening," Gamnesia reported yesterday.
Yoshinoro Ono, producer of the game series, previously stated that "We can't have something in the game that makes people think, 'This is not acceptable,'" according to NeoGAF. While he stressed that the decision was internal and for the purpose of keeping objectionable content within reasonable limits, it was met with its share of opposition. In his most recent YouTube video, released only hours ago, vlogger AlphaOmegaSin shared his thoughts on the development, and the title of the video says it all: "Street Fighter V Censored - Another Company Caves in to Extremists." He claims that censorship has no place in entertainment, and that while the move regarding Mika seems shallow, one must go deeper to look at the big picture -- in other words, it's a domino effect.
AlphaOmegaSin might not be too far off on his domino effect theory. When Team Ninja's "Dead or Alive Xtreme 3" was announced in August for the Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita, hopeful players in the West were shocked to find that it was to be "exclusively for Japan and Asian market," according to a DOA Facebook post. In response to a concerned user's post, the company's social media team claim that they do not want to talk about such issues, but it has taken a year or two of thought to come to this decision.
While not wanting to add fuel to one fire is certainly admirable, it can definitely add fuel to another fire. While it is doubtful that these decisions were the result of "extremists" pressing the topic, it is very evident that authorities in these gaming companies take very seriously the plights of those who do not want women to be oversexualized. On the other hand, some companies are pushing forward with their efforts to fight against censorship.
In response to the Team Ninja decision, HuniePot, developer of puzzle game/dating sim game "HuniePop ,"entered the frey, offering a whopping $1 million to Koei Tecmo in an attempt to buy the rights to publish "DOAX3" in the U.S., according to The Escapist. Ryan Koons, owner of HuniePot Inc., allegedly felt that Koei's decision was a crime against the fans. He loves the "DOAX" series and wanted to see a stateside release, so he made a legitimate offer. At present, no new developments have arisen from this event.
One important factor to take into account is the business side of things. Of course, when addressing this factor, one must remember the saying: "Sex sells." Whether this is true or not is open for debate, but when decisions are made to censor based on fear of rebuke from certain people and organizations, it can seriously impact a company's business plan.
The "DOAX3" issue was brought up in an interview with Operation Rainfall, and Haru Akenaga, President of Idea Factory International, had this to say: "That's honestly their decision, but yes, sadly, it has stopped us from localizing certain Compile Heart games. We don't want to censor anymore because we know that's not true to the original developed art," according to NicheGamer.
As a result of this decision, Idea Factory will no longer localize games for Western audiences if they will need censoring. Some very popular Compile Heart games include the "Hyperdimension Neptunia" series, which has been making it safely to U.S. soil for several years with more to come, including "Megadimension Neptunia VII," which is planned to release in the West in early 2016, Anime News Network reported.
Also of note is the upcoming release of XSEED's "Senran Kagura: Estival Versus." As the name suggests, it is a fighting game, but recent developments reveal more than just that, as is expected with Senran Kagura. This is certainly on the other side of the spectrum in regards to the debate over women's roles. The source material depicts these young girls as strong, as well as sexy, but cut scenes from the game do seem to be more on the scandalous side. On the upside, the girls themselves cover all the right areas in these cutscenes, so there is a silver lining. At the end of the day, it can all simply come down to an individual person's perspective.
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