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Author Topic: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?  (Read 10737 times)

Kallisto

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Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« on: December 11, 2016, 09:43:39 pm »
I've recently learned that one such team called Treehouse which works for Nintendo is the real reason why games had been censored, and if so has this been true 10-20 years ago? My understanding that some localization teams go by a cult-like bias, and this is something I never knew about until today.

or

Is it a combination of things such as the ESRB/CERO? Could the gaming community try to have their voices heard if we find out who said localization teams are before they get a chance to censor a game?


tc

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 10:51:57 pm »
I think the vocal-ness over content being changed after the fact, distracts from an overlooked side of the matter: the merits of its creation or lack of.
How much of the changed material is considered beneficial to the game in question, versus what may have been better left on the cutting board to start with? And how to improve standards of determining that to preemptively avoid unnecessary backlash without developers feeling restricted or having to waste resources on removal later?

Jorpho

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2016, 10:59:33 pm »
Could the gaming community try to have their voices heard if we find out who said localization teams are before they get a chance to censor a game?
That sounds like a horrible, horrible thing to do.  It seems far more likely that would drive qualified, talented people from the industry than it would result in less censorship.

If censorship bothers you that much, then just take your business elsewhere.
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Tom

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 11:50:16 pm »
Most localizations are being done before the games are even released in Japan these days. The scripts are much bigger than they were long ago, and require a lot more collaboration with voice actors and actresses, so it's only natural.

Nobody in the general public knows anything about who's working on them. And there's no way the general public can make a difference in any way, other than with your wallet, well after the game's been localized... But that's a bit too late, isn't it?

I suppose you could also write letters directly to the company to express your dissatisfaction at the censorship, and to suggest that they use a different group of translators. That can't hurt.

Spooniest

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2016, 12:55:55 am »
Vote with your dollars.

But I think voting for less or more censorship is the wrong way to go about considering the matter.

Vote for what seems the best produced, smoothest playing game that has the most compelling story. Things like "how was it altered for my particular localization that I end up playing" should be secondary concerns to is this a good game or not?

Localization is something that a game publisher has control over; they are responsible for what they put out and where, and they aren't thinking "Will this be as true to the developer's vision as I can possibly make it," they are in fact thinking, "In what way can I maximize the audience of the game? How can I get the most people possible to want to play it/tell their friends to play it?"

Unfortunately, this often results in the developer making the logical argument to themselves that "The more people play it, the better, so be really really careful what you allow to be put into the localization," when in fact, I believe the proper way to go about it is this:

Find a balance point between the script being what the writer of the story intended, and maximizing the script's accessibility to a mass audience. You find that balance point, and voila, that's what you should put out.

But this industry is supremely high-pressure. It's almost like working for a banking concern; they run it that tightly, and turnover is, I would imagine, the accepted nature of the business at hand, and has been for a long time, I'll additionally wager (turnover means "Nobody stays long in this industry unless they are kind of personally obsessed with doing so; i.e. people are hired and fired quickly and a lot," just in case yer not up on my jargon).

So, the focus becomes on protecting one's phoney-baloney job, as it were.
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Kallisto

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 07:49:22 pm »
Unfortunately I think this will always be the norm, and I think it is here to stay unless people change, and don't let personal bias alter the games.

I guess also because Video Games are such a easy target compared to Movies & Music, video games have become the magical portal for everyone to throw their 2 cents in, I really hate that.

Jorpho

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 10:18:34 pm »
I guess also because Video Games are such a easy target compared to Movies & Music
What, you think making movies and music that will make money these days is easy?  It's way easier to make a "controversial" game these days that some people might actually play than it is to make movies or music that will show up as a blip on anyone's radar.  Or is that what you meant?

Cracked has done so many articles about why Hollywood is doomed that it's hard to keep track of them.
http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-blockbuster-movie-bubble-will-burst-in-2018/
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KingMike

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2016, 11:11:46 pm »
I've recently learned that one such team called Treehouse which works for Nintendo is the real reason why games had been censored, and if so has this been true 10-20 years ago? My understanding that some localization teams go by a cult-like bias, and this is something I never knew about until today.
Treehouse IS Nintendo. Nintendo is honestly going to keep doing things how they feel like it. It's honestly as pointless to argue about how they localize games as it is pointless to argue about the many other ways in which Nintendo keeps acting like themselves. :P
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Kallisto

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2016, 07:12:25 pm »
No, what I meant by easy target that video game developers are easy targets by people who have a agenda that work outside such as Marketers, the ratings board, etc.

Jorpho

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2016, 11:10:06 pm »
Yes – movies, at least, have generally become so expensive that they can't afford to position themselves as anything that looks like an "easy target" for people who have an agenda.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2016, 11:56:20 pm »
Yes – movies, at least, have generally become so expensive that they can't afford to position themselves as anything that looks like an "easy target" for people who have an agenda.

Ironic since they are far easier to make* these days. I know they are def saving a shit-ton of money on sets since they all take place on somebody's hard drive now.

EDIT:*They are also far easier to distribute and advertise as well. Considering crowd funding options these days I'd also say that it's easier to get funding as well.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 12:15:25 am by SunGodPortal »
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Spooniest

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2016, 02:12:19 am »
I feel that bringing movies/shows/etc into the picture in any game discussion is at best, mildly interesting a comparison, and at worst, distracting from the issue at hand. Movies/Shows are not games, they have no interactivity, and their history began long before that of games, whereas games are a developing medium.

It's interesting to me that the game world has sort of stagnated in development. We are in kind of weak period when it comes to new, interesting concepts for games.

In the days of the 8-bit through 32-bit systems, there were still rather significant limits on what could be done visually and memory wise.

Those days are now gone, and games have not become more innovative as a result, even though new systems can do things that would melt a SNES. Games have instead become shinier, louder, and filled with far more voice acting and storyline scenes that the player has no control over than ever before. They are less interactive, and less diverse. The money is being spent on the graphics primarily, and the other aspects of games are all treated as a tie for #2 on the list.

It isn't hard to understand why. There are only so many ways you can make a game where you have a plastic control device that the player uses their thumbs to input commands to. A MOBA is basically just Legend of Zelda with more bells and whistles, and limited to a narrow area, with a focus on player vs. player. A horror game is basically just Zelda with a focus on making the player as uncomfortable as possible.

New Genre ideas are really at a premium at this point, because most of what can be done has been done, in short.

Now, finally, on to the topic at hand. If Graphics/Presentation/What Have You are the primary focus of a developer (make our games look nicer than the other guy's games, worry about other stuff once that's done), and all other aspects are treated as secondary, then localization (a chore that the developer has to do to sell games in an overseas market that mostly will not get the game's cultural aspects anyway) must be thought of quite low on the totem pole, indeed.

The way this topic is phrased, it makes it sound like Localization is the top priority that any game developer should be concerned with. Localization is an aspect of games that most casual gamers are not even aware of. It's "behind the curtain," "Under the hood," so on and so on. It is invisible to 70% of the gaming audience, because it is something that requires a detailed analysis. You would be shocked, I think, to discover that the great majority of people do not want to spend their time doing a lot of analytical thinking. They have to get back to work at a certain time very near in the future. They have to sleep, eat, pursue relationships, go to school, etc.

If you think Localization is something game developers should put first, you are displaying a lack of understanding about game design, game marketing, and the psychology behind gaming in the first place. It is not a top priority, ever, in the dev meeting room. Graphics first, everything else second, and localization when we have time to throw some billable hours at an intern.

I seriously do not think getting on a dev's case about inaccurate or culturally censored/altered localizations is going to have any effect. They are in a high-pressure, low-cost, high-volume business. They must do their jobs as assigned or face destitution, just like everyone else with the added pressure of knowing that their industry is not anywhere near as respected as the Film or Music industries are. And to be honest, as an amateur student of film making and an experienced musician, I do not ever feel one iota of respect from the general masses of society for them. Fine art maybe gets a respectful nod once in a while, but film and music and games (in that order) are all treated as disposable escapist literature by comparison.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2016, 03:12:49 am »
Quote
...most of what can be done has been done, in short.

That describes nearly every form of entertainment that we are familiar with. We live in a time when it is no longer important to be original and when there is more entertainment being made than there is demand for said entertainment.

I'm all for originality, but really, it's over-rated. Doing something new only matters when a medium still has plenty of uncharted territory that people are afraid to venture into. What's more important is doing something well.

If you can't find a game you like it's just because there is so much to choose from. Most people suck at everything so naturally the more entertainment being made the more mediocre entertainment there will be to wade through.
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FAST6191

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2016, 05:34:49 am »
I feel that bringing movies/shows/etc into the picture in any game discussion is at best, mildly interesting a comparison, and at worst, distracting from the issue at hand. Movies/Shows are not games, they have no interactivity, and their history began long before that of games, whereas games are a developing medium.

It's interesting to me that the game world has sort of stagnated in development. We are in kind of weak period when it comes to new, interesting concepts for games.

In the days of the 8-bit through 32-bit systems, there were still rather significant limits on what could be done visually and memory wise.

Those days are now gone, and games have not become more innovative as a result, even though new systems can do things that would melt a SNES. Games have instead become shinier, louder, and filled with far more voice acting and storyline scenes that the player has no control over than ever before. They are less interactive, and less diverse. The money is being spent on the graphics primarily, and the other aspects of games are all treated as a tie for #2 on the list.

It isn't hard to understand why. There are only so many ways you can make a game where you have a plastic control device that the player uses their thumbs to input commands to. A MOBA is basically just Legend of Zelda with more bells and whistles, and limited to a narrow area, with a focus on player vs. player. A horror game is basically just Zelda with a focus on making the player as uncomfortable as possible.

New Genre ideas are really at a premium at this point, because most of what can be done has been done, in short.

Now, finally, on to the topic at hand. If Graphics/Presentation/What Have You are the primary focus of a developer (make our games look nicer than the other guy's games, worry about other stuff once that's done), and all other aspects are treated as secondary, then localization (a chore that the developer has to do to sell games in an overseas market that mostly will not get the game's cultural aspects anyway) must be thought of quite low on the totem pole, indeed.

The way this topic is phrased, it makes it sound like Localization is the top priority that any game developer should be concerned with. Localization is an aspect of games that most casual gamers are not even aware of. It's "behind the curtain," "Under the hood," so on and so on. It is invisible to 70% of the gaming audience, because it is something that requires a detailed analysis. You would be shocked, I think, to discover that the great majority of people do not want to spend their time doing a lot of analytical thinking. They have to get back to work at a certain time very near in the future. They have to sleep, eat, pursue relationships, go to school, etc.

If you think Localization is something game developers should put first, you are displaying a lack of understanding about game design, game marketing, and the psychology behind gaming in the first place. It is not a top priority, ever, in the dev meeting room. Graphics first, everything else second, and localization when we have time to throw some billable hours at an intern.

I seriously do not think getting on a dev's case about inaccurate or culturally censored/altered localizations is going to have any effect. They are in a high-pressure, low-cost, high-volume business. They must do their jobs as assigned or face destitution, just like everyone else with the added pressure of knowing that their industry is not anywhere near as respected as the Film or Music industries are. And to be honest, as an amateur student of film making and an experienced musician, I do not ever feel one iota of respect from the general masses of society for them. Fine art maybe gets a respectful nod once in a while, but film and music and games (in that order) are all treated as disposable escapist literature by comparison.

It has been noted that several game designers/devs are failed film directors, I wonder if that plays a part in all this. Equally computer games might be new but board games, card games, pen and paper role playing, proto role playing, war games and more has a far longer history. Computers are at once freeing and restrictive, even an old computer could probably calculate a thousand vectors in the time I takes me to do one and at the same time what chance do we have for a computer to be a good DM, which changes many things but at its heart it is an old concept. Beyond that if telling a story around a fire is not an interactive thing, or at least responding to cues from the audience, then you have surely gone wrong somewhere.

On zelda with combat refinements/more scares/tits then that is an interesting outlook. Mechanically I would have to agree, and it is not as bad as the likes of a camera type naming a "genre" as in the case of FPS, but I can't help but feel it is still somewhat limiting.

I still hold that the next big leap will come when people truly embrace game theory, the stats thing most multiplayer game devs are obsesses with is nice but it is a top down approach where a bottom up would be better.

With all this said and to get back to the topic I will echo the "does the game play well?" sentiment.

VicVergil

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2016, 12:41:48 am »
Of course doing something about the situation is possible.

The whole Tomodachi Collection false controversy out of a rumor they removed crossdressing from the localization made it to mainstream news and as a result they didn't cut the yaoi pairings in Fire Emblem Fates like they used to in the older FE games... though as a result they started cutting other stuff because the same media outlets were picking controversies from Tumblr rumors like the one "translating" the G-rated face petting minigame with dubious phrasing made to sound as if it was sexual (there's a world of difference between "My heart is beating so fast" and "Ugh... it's throbbing... and tearing... through my flesh") and I have no doubt it directly led to the feature being cut considering it was even dubbed.

The new "safe" standard for Nintendo apparently is to appease those media outlets who'd cheer if a Bayonetta 3 was censored by NoA. The horrible FExSMT Wii U translated release was heavily defended by those media outlets for this reason wanting to make this the new normal for politically-driven reasons.

But if the sales are hit, they can and will rethink this policy of theirs (and you'll probably see more Japan-only releases). After all, they fired their whole German internal translation division in 2000 over their handling of Pokemon after it bombed in sales (and the early messes with SNES JRPGs and Link's Awakening dildos garnering parent's complaints didn't help either...) and coincidentally even the Japanese Nintendo producers are starting to notice and comment on this (NoA gets an increase in budget for each "cut" or "localization adjustment" so they have a financial incentive, and the Japanese side can get annoyed at times by this) and Game Freaks even finds it pressing enough of an issue to make it a point in their S&M announcement that Treehouse ISN'T handling this title.

Namco Europe, the publisher for a third party 3DS release, Dragon Ball Fusion, said that the 4Kids-like removal of all swords in the game was a joint decision by Namco America and Nintendo of America. As there's more instances of NoA coming full circle to their 90's self, the tipping point will be inevitably reached and then whatever little is left from the American branch's poorly-used independance will be done with.

A pretty unpopular opinion, but zero-day translations are a surefire way for them to notice. The reason why the uncensoring patch for FExTMS came 4 days after the official English release is that it started as one. And FE:if's patch was heavily featured in social media to expose the official version's shortcomings (like the "..." conversation). Vote with your wallet and spread the word about how these versions are inferior and supporting the original is better.

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 05:02:40 am »
I believe that the console game censorship that popped here and there is pretty unimportant.

The bigger issue is Steam banning adult content, thus forcing Visual Novel localizations to release all-ages or censored versions when they'd release all available versions (more choice for the customer!) otherwise. If a dev decides to censor a game because they want to get a certain rating for more sales or because they fear some aspects of a game can get them into downright legal trouble (ecchi scenes with characters that look like 10 year olds, ie Criminal Girls) that is one thing. It's their decision.

But if the central distribution platform makes the decision for you and it's "their way or the highway", I believe that is a much bigger problem. Especially when there is no legal reason and it's just them enforcing what they believe to be moral on the rest of the world. Today it is "no sex!", in 5 years it might be "No games where the enemies are female or members of a minority" or something even more retarded. Maybe they'll still allow such games but enforce that they are hidden behind trigger warning pages killing their discoverability and reach. I know that "slippery slope" is considered a fallacy, but with the way the gaming industry has devolved in the last few years due to pressure from bored SJW journos who couldn't come up with other topics to drum up controversy about, I think it's naive NOT to fear such a development.
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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 05:11:37 am »
I think it's worth noting, however, that the things that get cut from these games, by and large, are not central components of the storyline, I would wager most of the time.

Think about it. If something isn't moving the plot forward, and it will offend certain types of people into not buying the game and/or spreading bad word of mouth about it, then it only makes sense to remove it.

When things that are supposed to move the plot forward or characterize a character in a way that is relevant to the overall plotline are removed, then it's a problem. But I don't see that a lot; most of the things that are removed are simply replaced with something milder and easier to accept.

And that's not even beginning the discussion about what to do with a joke in these cases. Different cultures have different jokes and senses of comedic timing and phrasing. What do you do then? How can you make your intended audience laugh at what the developer intended them to laugh at, when their culture has not raised them hearing the joke 100 times a year?

Really, I have no problem with possibly offensive material being removed, as long as you aren't removing a piece of the main plot. Thematic elements are anyone's guess, but I would prefer they be left in. Jokes/Fanservice/Epithets? Change them to something the audience will accept, I'd say.

And to be honest, it's not like Devs are going out of their way to deter the fan translation community anytime soon. It's not like they're stupid. They know such endeavors are costly and generate a lot of bad word of mouth among the game buying public. Think of how much word of mouth matters these days to such an enterprise. It travels faster, farther, and more intact than ever before.
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Jorpho

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2016, 02:19:13 pm »
But if the sales are hit, they can and will rethink this policy of theirs (and you'll probably see more Japan-only releases).
Nintendo's sales, I am quite sure, are not driven by those who follow Tumblr and who post about games on message boards and who actively follow what is coming out in Japan – if they were, they probably would have been sunk many years ago, just like every armchair CEO says they would have.  Nintendo's sales are driven by the likes of little Timmy's grandmother – people who had trouble with the concept of the Wii U not being an add-on for the Wii, and who would probably have a proper freakout if they learned Nintendo was selling devil sex games or whatever.  They should be concerned about that.

It probably doesn't help that Nintendo-bashing makes for such excellent clickbait that they wouldn't have to slip up so badly for the news to spread far enough up the chain that even little Timmy's grandmother would notice.
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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2016, 02:39:57 pm »
Quote
Think about it. If something isn't moving the plot forward, and it will offend certain types of people into not buying the game and/or spreading bad word of mouth about it, then it only makes sense to remove it.

It's funny how we live in a culture of extremes. Some people are so afraid of offending people while others don't care one bit and go out of their way to offend. Why can't people just be reasonable instead? I would say that people are pussies these days, but at the same time people of the polar extreme opposite reinforce their squeamish attitudes by giving weight to their arguments. Still, it seems there are far more people in this day and age that will use any excuse to be offended. The only reason I can fathom is that they are desperate for attention.

Quote
It probably doesn't help that Nintendo-bashing makes for such excellent clickbait that they wouldn't have to slip up so badly for the news to spread far enough up the chain that even little Timmy's grandmother would notice.

We live in a world where everyone likes to whine in unison. Large entities like Nintendo are easy targets.
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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2016, 08:23:53 pm »
remember that time they took the boob slider out of xenoblade x and the internet raged?