List of regionally censored video games

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Many video games have certain elements removed or edited due to regional rating standards. While, in the past, games were often toned down when translated overseas, in terms of violence, religious references, profanity, drug use, etc., when compared to their Japanese counterparts,[1] in recent years Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), among other ratings organizations, have imposed harsher restrictions on violent games.[2]

Third generation (1985-1993)[edit]

  • Bionic Commando - The game was renamed from Top Secret: The Resurrection of Hitler (ヒットラーの復活 トップシークレット, Hittorā no Fukkatsu: Toppu Shīkuretto), the character of Adolf Hitler was renamed "Master-D", the Nazis are renamed "The Badds" in-game (they're referred to as "The Nazzs" in the instruction manual) and all swastikas were edited into a German eagle insignia.[3]
  • Contra - Released in Europe as Probotector, replaces the human combatants with robots due to a German law that bans video games that allows shooting people.
  • Punch Out!! - The character Vodka Drunkenski has his name changed to Soda Popinski in its English release.[4]

Fourth generation (1988-1997)[edit]

  • EarthBound - In the North American version, a few of the game's materials been edited from the Japanese version. For example, Ness appears clothed in pyjamas instead of appearing naked. References to death were less obvious, a punishment is changed from spanking to loss of dessert, the phrase "Die and go to Hell" is replaced with "I'll smash your guts out!".[citation needed]
  • Final Fantasy IV - In the North American version, references to Christianity were altered or removed from the game, as well as certain religious images. The magic spell Holy has been renamed White (Though the Elder of Mysidia uses the word Holy in describing a sword). All references to prayer are eliminated; the Tower of Prayers in Mysidia is renamed the Tower of Wishes (though the White Mage in the tower still calls it "Tower of Prayers"); and Rosa's Pray command is absent. Direct references to death are omitted, although several characters clearly die over the course of the game. Anything considered too risqué has been censored, such as bikinis on town dancers (replaced by leotards). The Programmers' Room special feature (in which the player can find a pornographic magazine) has been removed.[5] New promotional character art was made for published previews.[6]
  • Final Fantasy VI - In the North American SNES version, the town signs originally called Pub have been changed to Cafe. Also, the nudity with Espers such as the "Siren" has her butt covered with a skirt, so Starlet now has her dress on. Also, the enemies such as Critic, Alluring, the boss Chadarnook and Goddess now wear more clothes. Smoking has been toned down with the smoke taken out of the following enemies sprites: "Madam", "L. 80 Magic", "Dahling" and "Barb-e." Two spells were renamed as well, the Death spell was renamed Doom, and Death Gaze was renamed Doom Gaze.[citation needed]
  • Final Fight - The game's first two bosses, Damnd and Sodom, were renamed Thrasher and Katana respectively (those names was also used in the SNES version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 despite the game released after ESRB was formed); Belger's wheelchair was redrawn to look like an office chair; Poison and Roxy, two transgender enemy characters,[7] were replaced with two male enemies named Billy and Sid;[8] all alcoholic references were removed, with two health-recovering items replaced; the line "Oh! My God", spoken by an enemy when his car is destroyed during the first bonus stage, was changed to "Oh! My Car"; the blood splash effect shown when a character is stabbed is replaced by a generic explosion.[9]
  • Mortal Kombat - Due to Nintendo's "Family Friendly" policy, the SNES version replaced the blood with sweat and most of the fatalities with less violent "finishing moves".[10]
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Sodom's name was once again changed to Katana on the character select screen, and some swearing was removed from some of the character's victory quotes. Also the blood was wiped clean from this version in cutscenes.
  • Super Castlevania IV - Much censorship happened from Japan to international areas. In the Japanese version, the title screen has a drop of blood, there were crosses on gravestones, as well as other objects, and there were nude statues in the game. In the international version, the drop of blood (and most, if not all of the rest of the blood in the game), was removed, or changed. The crosses were removed with the exception of the rosary item. The nude statues were given clothes in the international version.[citation needed]
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts - In the American SNES version. Many of the Crosses on coffins on Level 1 has been altered to Ankhs symbol. There are however crosses on coffins in the middle and furthest background which remains unaltered.[citation needed]
  • Super Mario RPG - Bowser's Fist pose was changed for Western releases to be much less offensive, as this is considered a very obscene gesture in Western Territories. Also in the PAL Virtual Console version[11] of Super Mario RPG the word "Bugger" said by Croco has been replaced with "Pest", due to "Bugger" being a vulgar verb for sodomy.
  • The Combatribes - Changes have been made in the North American version including the bad guys faces bleeding being replaced with tears coming out of their faces. Later on in the Virtual Console release. The "Ground Zero" gang has been renamed to "Guilty Zero" due to the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • Wing Commander (video game) - In the SNES version of Wing Commander and Wing Commander: The Secret Missions, changes have been made in the game from the PC game including the word "Devil team" being changed to "Angel team", also the cigarette smoking, alcohol shown in the PC version has been censored. Also the word "Hell" used by the Commander is replaced with the word "Heck".
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors - All depictions of blood and gore in the North American version are removed or changed to purple ooze.[12] Censorship committees in several European Nations censored more by having the game renamed to Zombies and made other changes including the replacement of the chainsaw-wielding enemies with lumberjacks wielding axes.[13]
  • SimAnt - For the SNES release in the US, animations of an ant vomiting were removed. .[14]
  • Super Street Fighter II - Blood was removed from the continue portraits from the SNES and 3DO console ports in North America.

Fifth generation (1993-2001)[edit]

  • Crusin' USA - Many changes were made from the arcade game due to Nintendo's "Family Friendly" policy, including the name of the Shaft being renamed from "XL Power Shaft" to "XL Power", the billboard ad to Corn Pops with the slogan "Gotta have my pops" being removed. Deer and cows no longer cross the road, eliminating any possibility of running into deer and cows with the blood and body parts flying everywhere. The bikini clad woman with the trophy wears a shirt and dress. In the Washington DC tunnel the 100 dollar bill picture with Hillary Clinton smoking a cigar was replaced with a Benjamin Franklin 100 dollar bill. Also the hot tub scene at the White House with Bill Clinton and the two bikini dressed women in the hot tub was replaced with a rotating race car.[15]
  • Duke Nukem 3D - Many of the sexual references found in the PC version were either removed or toned down in the Nintendo 64 version, also due to Nintendo's "Family Friendly" policy. The steroids have also been replaced with vitamins. Also some of the swear words have been either removed or edited as well.[citation needed]
  • Breath of Fire IV - The scene with Fou-Lu decapitating Emperor Soniel head in the Japanese version has been cut out in the North American version. [1]
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back - A death animation in which Crash is squashed into a stunned head and feet was altered for the Japanese version of the game due to its resemblance to the severed head and shoes left by a serial killer loose in Japan at the time.[16]
  • Final Fantasy VII - Some of the profanity used by Cloud, Barrett and Cid has been censored with swearing symbols. Also the word "Wench" used by Tifa has also been replaced with swearing symbols.[citation needed]
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - In the boss fights against Ganondorf and Ganon the blood appears green in the English version but is originally red in the Japanese version.
  • Final Fantasy VIII - In the North American version the boss Gerogero has been recolored from red in the Japanese to blue in the English version, this change also applies to the Triple Trad Gerogero card. [2]
  • Um Jammer Lammy - A few lines and an entire cutscene were altered for the American release, such as references to cutting down trees in "Power off, Power on!", and going to hell in "Taste of Teriyaki". Any references to hell were changed, and instead of slipping on a banana peel (and subsequently dying), Lammy gets her waist stuck on a door, and it stretches very long to sling her to a tropical island.[citation needed]
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - Skull Kid's face is covered in black in the Japanese version but appears with a scarecrow face in the English version. This was edited due to its resemblance to blackface similar to the controversy of Pokémon's Jynx. In the Japanese version of Majora's Mask 3D, Skull Kid no longer has his face all black.
  • DreamWeb - Full frontal nudity was censored in the Australian version.[17][18]
  • Soul Blade - Sophitia's back was originally naked while bathing in the introduction of the Japanese version of Soul Edge. She is clothed in Soul Blade.[citation needed]
  • Worms Armageddon (2016 Steam and GoG releases) - These modern, digitally-distributed re-releases are missing some stock team flags and speech banks, which were an integral part of original CD version, presumably as a result of censorship[19] of potentially offensive content and copyright issues, as one of the flags directly depicted Aphex Twin's logo.[20] Missing files can be manually restored from original CD by the user.
  • Carmageddon - In the United Kingdom, pedestrians were replaced with zombies with green blood, and in Germany they were replaced with robots that did not move.[21]

Sixth generation (1998-2008)[edit]

  • Twisted Metal Black - The European version had its first level altered. Originally, the player would have to shoot down a circling Boeing 747 which would crash into a building revealing a secret area. Because this version of the game was released after the September 11 attacks, the level starts with the plane already crashed. Various other elements of the game were also censored for being considered too graphic, including all the game's cutscenes.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Released two months after the September 11 attacks, a scene where Arsenal Gear destroys the Statue of Liberty and crashes into the Federal Hall National Memorial was removed, as well as live-action footage of the World Trade Center originally meant to appear in the game's ending.
  • BMX XXX - Only the GameCube and Xbox versions contained nudity. A North American version of the game disables the ability to create naked customized riders.[22]
  • Grand Theft Auto III - Rampage challenges and the associated pick-ups were removed from the German release of the game due to German censors not wanting to allow people to live out killing spree fantasies. Also for the German release, when a civilian dies or is shot, there is no blood, and they do not drop money in an attempt to limit incentives to "kill for points".[23]
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - See Hot Coffee mod.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - Vivian is depicted as female in the English version but is originally male in the Japanese version. This is because of the scene where Vivian kisses Mario.
  • Indigo Prophecy - Sony and Microsoft had, and still have, policies that they would refuse to allow "Adults only" (AO) rated games on their respective consoles. To earn a M rating from the ESRB, most of the scenes depicting sex (one of which is interactive) and other adult content were removed from the North American versions. An exception is the final sex scene between Carla and Lucas, which was not completely cut from the game due to its important role in the story, but was shortened by removing the more graphic shots and most of the visible nudity. Though one shot of nudity remains, in the edited version the angle that should have revealed Carla's fully naked breasts, the nipples were removed from her model skin, giving the appearance that the nipples were merely obscured from view, and thus avoiding any identifiable depictions of frontal female nudity.[24]
  • World of Warcraft - In the European version players are unable to acquire a Wolpertinger pet by completing a quest that requires getting their character drunk. In the Chinese version, blood is black instead of red, and virtually all bone-looking objects are removed or replaced (e.g. no skeletons, sand bags instead of bone piles, undead without exposed bones ... ). Initially, the whole expansion Wrath of the Lich King was banned.[citation needed]
  • Command and Conquer Generals - Due to the game previously being banned in Germany, EA released a title-localized German version specifically for the German market called "Command & Conquer: Generäle", which did not incorporate real world factions or any relation to terrorism. For example, the "terrorist" suicide bomber unit was transformed into a rolling bomb and all other infantry units were changed into "cyborgs" in order of appearance and unit responses similar to earlier releases of the Command & Conquer franchise.[25]
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix - In Germany, humans were replaced by robots, and blood was replaced by oil.[21]

Seventh generation (2004-2013)[edit]

Some titles in the PlayStation 3 library have been censored according to the console hardware, resulting in consoles from certain regions directly altering game content, regardless of the region in which the game was produced.

  • Beyond: Two Souls - The European version of the game is censored to keep the PEGI rating at 16 instead of 18. Two changes were made to the version, amounting to 5–10 seconds of gameplay.[26]
  • Grand Theft Auto V - The Japanese and Korean versions are known for removing or heavily modifying anything and all related to sex and nudity in the game out of fear and concern for the "morality" of its citizens (although this applied to the console versions, not the PC version).[citation needed]
  • The Last of Us - The European release of the game is censored. The version doesn't feature dismemberment and exploding heads in the multiplayer mode.[27] The Japanese version is also censored, as dismemberment is not possible. A scene where Ellie is imprisoned and witnesses a man cutting a corpse was also censored, specifically the camera's position doesn't show the corpse.[28]
  • Little Big Planet - In the later copies of the game the lyric song "Tapha Niang" has been replaced with the instrumental version due to quotes from the Qur'an mixed with music.[citation needed]
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - In order to ensure a T rating in North America, two Fatalities in the game were censored.[29][30] In the United Kingdom version, both the Joker and Deathstroke's first Fatality feature them each finishing their opponent with a gunshot to the head, with each respective shot shown uncut from a distance. However, the North American version has the camera quickly pan toward the victor before the shot is fired, thereby cutting the victim out of the shot completely.[31][32][33][34]
  • Resistance: Fall of Man - Blood is removed from the game when played on Japanese consoles. Players can work around this by using an altered save file or copying save data from a North American console.[35]
  • Siren: Blood Curse - The North American version of this game was heavily censored to receive "Mature" ESRB rating. An extremely violent stabbing scene in the intro is omitted in U.S. version, by the way of applying shaky camera motion filters and altering the video angle itself. A scene where Seigo Saiga commits suicide by placing a .338 caliber hunting rifle in his mouth and blowing his head and brains out.[clarification needed] Characters and enemies show a significantly lower amount of blood splatter decals on skin, clothes, and face.[citation needed]
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Blood is removed from the game when played on a Japanese region PS3.[35]
  • Mario Party 8 - In the UK version of Mario Party 8. the word "Spastic" was changed to "Erratic" in later PAL copies due to "Spastic" being an offensive word relating to Cerebral Palsy.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - In the Metroid Prime Trilogy edition, the word "Damn" said by Admiral Dane was replaced with "No".[citation needed]
  • No More Heroes - In the versions released in PAL territories and Japan, blood spatter is removed and were replaced with a black dust. Decapitation scenes are implied, but not shown. Scenes of missing body parts after having been cut off, are replaced with the same scene, but showing the body parts fully intact.[citation needed]
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - Like No More Heroes, the Japanese version is toned down violence scenes.[citation needed]
  • Fallout 3 - The side-quest "The Power of the Atom" was changed in the Japanese version to relieve concerns about depictions of atomic detonation in inhabited areas. In other versions, players are given the option of either defusing, ignoring, or detonating the dormant atomic bomb in the town of Megaton. In the Japanese version, the character Mr. Burke has been taken out of this side quest, making it impossible to detonate the bomb.[36] Also in the Japanese release, the "Fat Man" nuclear catapult weapon was renamed "Nuka Launcher", as the original name was a reference to the bomb used on Nagasaki.[36][37]
  • Silent Hill Homecoming - The game had difficulties in passing censors in some countries before it could go on sale. The Australian classification board, then the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), refused to classify the game, due to "impact violence and excessive blood effects". The objectionable scenes included various body parts being drilled into, as well as the bisection of a character by an enemy. This had the effect of banning the game for sale in the country, and representatives for publisher Atari mentioned that they would be asking Konami to tone down the violence to allow the game to receive the needed MA15+ rating for its sale to be permitted in early 2009.[38] The German version of the game was also postponed to 2009 in order for cuts to be made to pass the German censors.[39]
  • Saints Row IV - The Australian version of the game has had a mission removed in which characters steal and use alien drugs in order to give them stronger physical abilities. Portraying the use of illegal substances as a way to gain rewards is not permitted according to Australia's classification guidelines.[citation needed]
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - The European version has all five references to anal probing removed. An abortion minigame was also cut. Ubisoft claimed that it was their decision to censor it.[40] In the German release swastikas were covered with black boxes on Nazi zombies.[41]
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - In Australia, the game was originally banned due to the high levels of violence in the gameplay. Valve then submitted a 'censored' version of the game, which no longer contained images of "decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies". The game received the MA15+ rating (the highest possible rating at the time in Australia), and was allowed to be released in the Australian Market.[42] The German version is similarly censored.
  • The Witcher - All the female portrait cards shown after Geralt's "sexual conquests" were censored ("retouched to a more modest standard") for the U.S. release version.[43]
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - The controversial "No Russian" level was removed from the Russian version.
  • Gal*Gun - Publishers Inti-Creates was forced by Microsoft to censor the Xbox 360 version due to players being able to look up the girls' skirts, while the PlayStation 3 version remained completely uncensored.[44]
  • Football Manager 2005 - China's Ministry of Culture stated that Tibet being listed as a separate country in the game would "pose harm to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity" so the Chinese release saw Tibet merged into China.[14]

Eighth generation (2011-present)[edit]

  • Fire Emblem Awakening - Tharja's swimsuit scene in the Summer Scramble Story has her behind covered by a curtain in the changing room. This curtain does not appear in the Japanese and PAL version.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Violence and gore was reduced, and nudity was cut from the game's release in both Japan and the Middle East.[45]
  • Until Dawn - A death scene was censored in the Japanese version of the game.[46][47]
  • Monster Monpiece - About 40 of the 350 card images in the game were censored for sexually explicit material in the international PlayStation Vita release of the game.[48] An uncensored port was later announced to be released on Steam for PC in 2016.
  • Fire Emblem Fates - A controversial scene showing what could be perceived as gay conversion therapy was edited in the international release of the game to remove references to the act. In addition, a feature that allowed players to "pet" a chosen characters face was removed.[49]
  • Omega Labyrinth Z - Release outside of Japan was blocked by Sony.[50]
  • Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal - One of the game's modes "Intimacy Mode" was forced to be removed for the PS4 release of the game outside of Japan by Sony. Steam release was not changed.[51]
  • Nekopara - The PS4 release is censored by Sony's decision due to its sexual content. As a result, the PS4 version received an "E" rating by the ESRB by comparison to how the game received an "M" rating on the Nintendo Switch.[52]
  • Date a Live: Rio Reincarnation - The PS4 release has certain event scenes altered and removal of illustrations that show the girls in suggestive positions. The game's PC release was not changed.[53]
  • Super Neptunia RPG - Two illustrations were altered in the PS4 release. The first is of Vert playing her games and has the image zoomed in a little to cover her panties; Vert's panties are shown in versions for Nintendo Switch and Steam. The second is of the hot spring event where the PS4 version has more smoke.
  • Aokana: Four Rhythms Across the Blue - The PS4 release was limited to digital-only due to changes related to seven scenes within the game and "significantly less interest" expected in a physical version as a result,[54] four scenes which have been modified and three which have been removed completely, while the Nintendo Switch release received no changes to content or choice between physical and digital versions.[55] The Nintendo Switch release launched on schedule,[56] whereas the PS4 release has been delayed to an as of yet undetermined date.


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