June was absolutely crazy. Even with the news and announcements oozing out of every possible orifice, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed at E3 this year. Not because it was lackluster or anything of the sort, but because of the most sinister creature in the industry right now, the leaky ass faucet.
I’ve spoken before about how leaks negatively affect both games and their sales, as well as the responsibility of the press to not share every little thing they hear. But today, I want to rant about how the E3 2016 leaks effectively killed the magic we experienced last year. E3 2015 will forever be a thing of magic because somehow every company was able to hide their hands well into the beginning of the conference. Outside of Bethesda I believe, no other conference’s info was leaked early.
This year, there were a small handful of companies that didn’t have their full schedule or surprise announcement leaked before the show. Now, I didn’t read any of these leaks as they’re fairly easy to avoid, however when an presenter had to acknowledge their conference was leaked during the showcase, it was disheartening. Not just for the company itself, but for the audience that paid to go to the conference and be “the first” to see what the newest Ubisoft title would look like. It was bad for the millions of people at home who were assaulted by leaked info as they Googled for a place to watch the stream. It was bad for us, the gaming community, because we destroyed our “early Christmas” by posting leaked info to NeoGaf and then reporting on the leaks through our various news outlets.
This is becoming more and more prevalent as fans beg for “transparency” and then whine that every game is dull and we know everything about it before it’s released. Duh. I would love to dig my claws into those types of gamers but instead, I’ll talk about solutions. There is one fairly easy one that everyone can do immediately by themselves. Learn to be empathetic to other people and stop being selfish.
“Loose lips sink ships” is not just a cute term, but a creed most people should learn to live by. I can’t speak on exactly how the presenters and major developers feel when their full schedules are leaked, but I can say I’ve been that second kid at a science fair with a damn volcano. We’ve all encountered that feeling of when someone else tells your “super funny” story first or shows someone that awesome trick you found out about your TV before you can. Regardless of what the outcome would be, you’re getting that little victory stolen from you.
Every time a leak is posted, it’s stealing from the company’s ability to get those little victories they rightfully deserve. They prepare months in advance for these presentations, game announcements, marketing campaigns only to have one kid who wants attention ruin it. It’s selfish. It’s human nature to want to feel important. However, if we took a second and gave another person, say a developer, the chance to share their news at their own pace, we would feel even better about ourselves. In fact, we would more than likely be rewarded with even more secrets then we can handle since we’ve proven to be trustworthy. And nothing makes someone feel more special than just knowing everything about everything that no one else does. I mean, look at that Pachter guy. Am I right?
On the note of empathy though, let’s talk about the localization of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE.
Chill. Like really. Chill.
The controversy for this title comes from the fact that Nintendo is “yet again” censoring their Japanese products before they arrive here. However, a little awareness of another’s situations would make this a lot easier to understand.
Just follow this train of thought real quick. The developer, Atlus, makes a game in a country where huge anime boobs, risqué situations, and the age of consent is 13 years old are the norms. Not only that but the country also stops certain depictions of decapitation, encourages a strong sense of family tradition, and has more culture than you can shake a strawberry crepe at. The issue is a lot of that stuff I just named does not work overseas. But the bigger reason is the ESRB.
DOA5 Last Round, a game that came out in Japan and here recently, is rated M for (and I quote) “Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence”. I’ve played DOA5 and don’t remember any straight breasts or ass showing but they were very scantily clad over all. The violence also doesn’t have much blood and the sexual themes, if any, are more linked to flirtation than anything. However, the ESRB went further with the very specific “Some bikini-style costumes (with narrow strips of cloth) barely cover fighters’ bodies…” which is one of the main contentions of Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ censorship.
The difference between this title and DOA5 is very clear however. The ESRB gives it a T for “Fantasy violence, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol.” In addition they note,”Characters occasionally engage in suggestive dialogue (e.g., “I need no praise from some disappointing 3D girl with a 2D chest!”). In a handful of scenes, a character is depicted drunk and hungover (e.g., dry-heaving sounds, slurred speech); players are too tasked with finding a hangover remedy for her. The word “sh*t” appears in the dialogue.”
So, outside of simply being the family friendly Nintendo, they also want to reach a wider market. Imagine a parent reading the back of a game and seeing “sexual themes” and “partial nudity” on an RPG with an M rating. This gem of a title would never go home with them simply from the ESRB.
However, for me, it doesn’t matter. Between this and Bravely default, the fact is we got to actually play these games thanks to Nintendo. They could have easily left it in Japan and left everyone else in the dust. Or released a “director’s cut” and charged people again for that version. But instead, they made very small decisions to adjust the game, secured a T rating for America and released one of the best RPGs of the year (still one more big one coming… I’m excited!). It’s not so much about them wanting to limit free speech or take things away but more about smart business. How they can make enough money to continue bringing the more refreshingly different titles over to this side. But I digress and step off my Editorial Soap box.
Censorship is an issue I feel very strongly about since I’m totally against it when it comes to art. However, since we got the gameplay, experience, and even language the title was created in was mostly intact, I say we should pick our battles instead. Like when South Park had to change a whole sequence in their game the Stick of Truth in some countries overseas? There should have been waaaaay more of an outcry since a significant portion was stricken out and adjusted which directly oppress a freedom. But eh, I guess removing the women in bikinis is far more offensive.
Andron (or Ace as he likes to call himself) is the so called "Head Honcho" of Bombchu.com. He has a deep passion for video games primarily RPGs, Fighting or Adventure. When not gaming, he's furiously typing on his keyboard or coming up with new schemes.