Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Capcom Angers Fans With New ESG Policy

is capcom censoring games
is capcom censoring games

Capcom made a statement promising to culturize games, and fans are unhappy about this decision. Capcom is a famous video game maker responsible for some of the most beloved games. They have giant games such as Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Monster Hunter under their name. Collectively, they are one of the biggest video game makers in the world. In many ways, they have helped shape the video game space that we know today.

Their games are iconic, and everyone played their titles during the PlayStation One days. I still fondly remember playing Resident Evil on my first console. Over the years, they have managed to make the transition into the next generation successfully. Even decades later, Capcom continues to make billions with those classic IPs that helped to build their brand. They just released an all-new street fighter game, which is currently en route to becoming one of the best-selling fighting games ever. Street Fighter 6 sold over 1 million copies in the first three days, breaking the total stream time for fighting games on Steam.

Resident Evil has equally impressive accolades. Not only are their remakes a massive success, but they are also pushing out new installments that sell millions yearly. Resident Evil Village sold 8 million copies. The prior installment, Resident Evil 7: biohazard, sold an equally impressive 11 million copies. In addition, their 2019 Resident Evil 2 remake sold 11.2 million units. The franchise has sold over 135 million copies of their games—30 million of those come in the last five years alone. The point is that Capcom is still extremely popular. People love their IPs, and thus, it is a good idea to leave your current business model alone.

People Are Mad At Capcom

In today’s society, people are never happy. You always have to fix everything, even if it is not broken. Even though Capcom is still extremely popular, they feel that more needs to be done to appeal to a Western audience. Although many will argue that their Japanese background makes them this popular, the game developers themselves disagree and think they must do more to escape Japanese norms. Japan has always had a solid foothold in Western entertainment culture. While the United States of America has dominated entertainment through Hollywood, Japan holds an equally impressive worldwide reputation.

While the US and Walt Disney shaped animation in a way the world has never seen, Japan popularized anime. They combined animation with adult themes and complex storytelling that can only be found in popular US TV dramas. This same creativity is present in many Japanese video games. However, a lot of the original Japanese culture is lost in translation. Often, you will find that there is a massive discrepancy between the Japanese version and the English version. This is done because a Western audience can be more sensitive to certain jokes.

Capcom will now cater to this sensitivity even more by ensuring that localized teams are part of the development process from day one. Until recently, Capcom would complete the game thoroughly before localization got involved. This means Japan would create the game without censorship and then allow for the dubbed English version. Thus, the unedited version still exists even if the dub censors certain elements. With the new changes, this will no longer be the case. The censorship of video games will now start from day one.

Capcom Censoring Games Is A Big Deal

Capcom, in their response announcing localization, stated that this is in order not to hurt people based on historical, religious, or cultural differences. Many feel that is another way to censor games further and bend the knee to Wokeism. As always, some support this decision. Many believe that Japanese entertainment is overly sexualizing women, and thus, they need to be censored. So, instead of just changing some dialogue after the game is completed, they can now make changes from the beginning. You can place more women as leading characters, dictate their looks, and diversify the games.

Capcom censoring games
Capcom censoring games

These are issues that are important to many people. Since Japan is not highly diverse, getting localization involved from day one will ensure Western diversity is present in all Capcom games. There is, of course, the obvious that needs to be pointed out. Capcom states that they are doing this to respect people’s religious beliefs. However, religious people will likely not play these games. They also say they want to be sensitive to historical and cultural differences. Regarding cultural differences, they are likely speaking of more diversity. This means the inclusion of more black and brown people as well as LGBTQ representation.

Most people will not have any problem with this type of representation. None of this should matter as long as they continue to make the type of games they want. When Capcom is talking about this issue, they are mostly just talking about the Western world and, more importantly, the United States. They will likely not change their game to cater to Middle Eastern religious beliefs. However, they will change their games to cater to the US belief system because that is where most of their money comes from.

Can Censoring Games Hurt Capcom?

To know the full long-term effect of this new policy, we will have to look at similar situations spread across gaming. Firstly, this policy update is not mainstream news. Only a tiny minority of people are covering this story. Most people pay little attention to what happens behind the scenes at a gaming company. If Activision Blizzard could survive their scandals, Capcom can get through some censoring. We also need to assess if this is impactful news. Currently, they have not censored any games yet.

street-fighter-6-how-to-maximise-style-exp-with-world-tour-masters-1
street-fighter-6-how-to-maximise-style-exp-with-world-tour-masters-1

It is only the possibility of censorship that exists. Most won’t know the original’s intended outcome since we can no longer access an unedited Japanese version. Then, we also need to assess the censorship. Is there any justification for changing some aspects of storytelling? Based on my experience playing their games, I do not believe there is. Outside of a few outfits in Street Fighter that some find offensive, there is nothing to complain about.

How much influence there will be over Capcom is also still being determined. Speculating until we see the final product is not a good idea. We can sound the alarm when they come out with the next remastered Resident Evil game, with drastic changes and agendas. Despite all of this, people are still concerned about this current direction. Last year, the company fired the original voice actor for Ken in Street Fighter. This firing is due to political tweets. He spoke out against COVID restrictions and lost his job. Capcom also removed the rising sun and Hong Kong flags from some games. This shows they are willing to make drastic changes to please a particular crowd.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to observe how this will play out. Since most do not know about these small policy changes, none of this will gain any traction. Outside of a few on Twitter, many will play the games that look interesting to them. People play games to escape reality. Some weird people might only consume entertainment if it aligns with their worldview, but most do not think this way. You can have a set of beliefs and consume entertainment, displaying the complete opposite. 

You can be against violence and play GTA. If you do not like war, you can still consume Call of Duty. There does not have to be a direct alignment; only time will tell how this will play out. 

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