“Worst, the game is heavily censored. Namco Bandai, in its efforts to get a T rating, has sucked all of the blood out of the game. Normally it wouldn’t much matter, but major plot points of this game center around brutal violence – including the climactic scene in which the biggest twist in the plot of the entire series is revealed. It’s an insult to the fans that have tread the rocky path this series has taken.”
Nutt, Christian. “Xenosaga Episode III review.” Gamesradar.com
“Now, censorship isn’t new to the Xenosaga franchise–the first game featured one disturbing scene (involving jailbait Realian MOMO) that was edited for the U.S. release. I’m not entirely sure of exactly what was cut from XS3, but I’ve confirmed that at least three cut-scenes have had substantial amounts of blood/gore edited out. Yeah, Namco made these cuts in order to get a “Teen” rating from the ESRB, but I still find it all a bit upsetting. Xenosaga was always intended as a mature, complex RPG…and it’s discouraging that Namco wouldn’t allow the final chapter to come out with a Mature rating.”
Shane Bettenhausen, blog, 1up.com
Am I disappointed that XSIII had some blood clipped from it? Of course, my red American blood boils that anyone dare strip anything from a piece of entertainment. But to be honest, I have two gripes with this ruckus that the internet is feeling as role-playing game fans writhe in fury that Xenosaga’s final episode was altered for its US release:
a) I want more good RPGs to come from Japan to the United States. In the current political climate, asking a publisher to stick to its guns and include elements that make a game offensive to a run-of-the-mill consumer when they could remove them and not cost the story anything is asking them to not only take a loss of sales on this game, but to discourage other publishers from doing the same. An M rating doesn’t just get games cut from some retailers these days, as well. Beyond straight sales hits because the game isn’t on as many store shelves, an M rated game makes an easy target for hungry, sharp politicians. Shipping the game with needless blood for the benefit of lower sales, decreased exports of Japanese style games, and the risk of political attack doesn’t benefit anyone but politicians; and
b) It’s only adjusting content to get a rating. This isn’t a new institution in the United States; it took decades for the film industry to get to rate films to alleviate the need to self-censor heavily. Film viewers only rarely flip out when a movie is changed to meet a rating need during post-production. If a movie can only expect to come overseas at a rating where it won’t succeed? You don’t get to see it, or you see it an edited format. Does anyone scream censorship at that point, or does everyone really concerned just knuckle down, import the original, and learn its language?
Electronic entertainment is just one more product that is packaged for consumers; even as its consumers crow about its growing puissance they seem unaware that that means growing responsibility on the part of the providers. It’s not a long fall to be staring at a rip-off Hayes Code, so it’s important for consumers to draw their lines in the sand at more reasonable points than meaningless gore being cut so a product has a chance in an unfriendly political environment.