NISA Not “Pandering” to Certain People in the Case of Criminal Girls 2

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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Earlier today NISA announced the release date for the upcoming RPG Criminal Girls 2 for the PlayStation Vita.

With the news today came a lengthy post about changes that were made to the game and why those changes were made. Fans were forced to make a choice on whether they would continue to support the localization of the game or refuse to buy it. The outcry seemed to be split.

However, the user “Prinny Supervisor”, a moderator and Editor for the NISA forums, addressed a few complaints made while adding a post that we felt our readers should see:

And as an additional note, something that I see going around a lot that I wish I could respond to directly, but will instead have to address here:

The “censoring” of this game is in no way an attempt to “pander” or “market” to certain people. It is in no way a response to any anticipatory backlash by “feminists” or “SJWs”. Understand that these edits were done to bring the game down to an M (and equivalent) from an AO, not from an M to an M (but with less sexual content) or T. We know what game we’re making, y’all. It’s from our parent company.

If this game required no edits whatsoever from the ESRB and was released with an M rating, I would love it. I would rejoice. All of the “SJWs” in the world could send me death threats over email, form a picket line outside the office, egg my house, set my car on fire, and write essays and give television interviews about how Criminal Girls 2 is the most abhorrent game ever made and no civilized person should ever play it and shame on everyone involved in its creation…and I would prefer it to having to deal with all of this “censorship” drama.

Don’t ever, ever believe that we want to censor things.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is coming to PlayStation Vita on September 20 in NA and September 23 in EU.

[Author’s Take] This is as candid as it gets in the world of video games and a company getting in front of a “PR spin” on things. I would like to add that we are in no way telling you how to spend your money or make you forgive changes made through localization. We only report news and we saw this as an update to the story.

  • Burgersama

    I appreciate them addressing this.

  • RepeatingDigits

    Don’t believe them a single bit. Games worse and even more explicit than this have not gotten an AO.
    Never forget Esty Dee.

    • azariosays

      Never forget!

  • Jugiatsu

    Applaude the openness. Still not buying the game. I don’t support censorship. Period

  • Morgan “The Retro Goat” Hench

    I do give them props for their honesty. I’ll buy it, even though I hate censorship with a bloody passion. Sometimes it’s out of their hands.

  • Tristan (Chili1)

    Not an excuse.
    None of what they said here is even relevant; they didn’t bother sending in the game to ESRB to get rated uncensored (and explained to what the offending content is after doing so). They just censored it themselves based on suggestion and conjecture. They outright admitted some changes may not be needed to avoid an AO rating.

    Statements like “Some of this could cause an issue with power distance, or perceived consent of the activities of the game.” bring into question exactly how and why they are making their choices of censorship as well.

    To copy/paste something I’ve written in NISA’s forums:

    I am very disappointed with NISA with regards to the choices made for the localization of both games. I did not purchase Criminal Girls due to the censorship present in its Vita release, and have been currently waiting on the PC release in the hopes that that version is uncensored, as I truly would LOVE to purchase the games in English without any forms of censorship. I feel that game localizers should make their best effort at releasing games uncensored and as accurate as possible to the original language release, and by censoring it without even submitting an uncensored version to ESRB, I see that as NISA not doing all it can to do that. I realize submitting to ESRB can be expensive and time consuming, however I very much believe it would be worth it. At the very least I believe it would make many fans happier with the way this game is handled, and it would’ve been more respectful to the original developers’ intentions to what they original envisioned the game to be.

    In fact, that’s part of my problem with this. It goes beyond my interest in Criminal girls being localized as accurately as possible, as I believe that censorship is harmful to the game industry. It sets a precedent for other companies to follow. One company when localizing can look at these releases and say “Well, they got away with doing this so I guess we can do this to this game as well”. I feel it also deters content creators from trying to touch new ground or do what they want to do with their games, as they’ll see censorship and realize that their vision may not be possible in the modern world, and thus they may make revisions watering down their vision for the sake of appeasing the censor. But beyond that, I believe that censorship is disrespectful to the original developers of these games, and it is disrespectful to fans of such games, many of which being people who keep a watchful eye on Japanese game releases, constantly hoping and asking publishers to publish such games. They were fans of the games as they were, and the product you’re releasing is not what that game was. It also seems as if you’re choosing what is okay and not okay for your fans, rather than letting them play these games and deciding how they feel about such content. As for the developers, it comes off as you watering down their product, as if you believe your vision of the game is better than the original developers’ visions for the game. I realize you consulted the developers and recieved their help for some of the upcoming changes, but this game is still, at the end of the day, not the game they released in Japan. Your involvement is resulting in a different game than what they originally wanted to design and create, and this is upsetting. Statements like “Some of this could cause an issue with power distance, or perceived consent of the activities of the game. ” further emphasize this. It would’ve been wonderful for people to be able to make such perceptions and come to their own conclusions themselves, and if the developers were indeed making it even slightly seem that such was nonconsensual or that the player had all the power, that should’ve been left alone. And even if it wasn’t, different people can come to different conclusions on what it is. If such content was fine in Japan, it is entirely possible similar perceptions made be made by fans here. I feel that your changes show a genuine disrespect for the game, its fans, and its developers, and overall by releasing this game in a censored state, I believe you, NISA, are actively harming the game industry and making it worse overall, beyond this company’s practices. I would hope that people do not purchase this product, and would even go so far as to actively encourage that people move on and ignore this product unless the game is released in an uncensored state. I appreciate that you bring games over to the West NISA, and I love that you’re porting games to PC of late, but I cannot support censorship and I would hope that you reconsider your stance on the topic and do your best to release the game in its uncensored state. I especially would hope that in the future you make every attempt to release the game uncensored, even if that means making several submissions to ESRB.
    Also, I noticed that in the artwork that you showed your changes for, ropes were removed. Isn’t this game a bit…well, S&M oriented? Wouldn’t removing the rope weaken the intention of what this game is trying to be?

    • Tiago Barbosa Do Nascimento

      Acording to what was said the Rating the game would get from ESRB instead of M was A.
      And apparently the changes allowed them to release as M.
      Downgrade one rating seems a pretty reasonable deal since the game is STILL very sexual only not including much of the Shibari.

    • Cats736

      There is no way it was AO. It does not have the graphic content, violent or sexual, needed for that rating.

    • Tiago Barbosa Do Nascimento

      it have BDSM where you can “punish the girls” as they are tied up. It is more than enough for the ESRB.

    • Nathan Wallace

      They haven’t passed the game through ESRB yet to find it gets an AO rating. They are pre-emptively preparing and making sure it doesn’t get one so they don’t have to pass it through ESRB classification multiple times. This was their statement anyway.

      There’s nothing in the game that would have made it AO. They should have left it as is.

    • Cats736

      BDSM would not make it AO unless it was graphic, which it is not. It is not.

  • Dgnfly

    What bullshit considering the ppl that enjoy Niche games buy this and mostly are adults. The same old damage control with barely any real valid points other then wanting to include more ppl that would barely buy your games anyways.

    I for one won’t be buying it and if i do its gonna be filthy cheap or just import and use NIs america walkthrough on youtube for translation.

  • azariosays

    My current way of looking at it, is doesn’t removing the ropes just make the girls “want” to be spanked and hit? The rope being there means they are doing it against their will? but the alternative is them liking it?……AH! I don’t know which I like more!!!!

    • IceWolf77

      Sometimes I wonder why instead of focusing on censoring or changing game related items to be released in the west, companies like NIS or Atlus create import friendly releases. Considering the audio is japanese, all they would have to do is provide the english(alternate language) translation for the game and let people who want these type of games import them, reducing their overall cost while boosting the import market. Considering that most consoles are region 0, the only difficult one would be those for nintendo

    • azariosays

      We see this a lot with companies like Comile Heart and even Bandai Namco. Where they don’t want to pay to release the game in the West so they allow companies like Sony Asia to do it and if other regions want it. They buy it.

      It could be a trend. It’s a trend I already support. They only thing that hurts is the fact that the more people that import the less sales Sony America sees, so the less niche games we might see. This is all speculative, but it could happen.

    • IceWolf77

      I know it is not as cut and dry as it could be and there are always positive and negatives. But I can’t complain especially since we finally got a good Digimon game in the longest time. Yest getting used the the japanese audio was different for me but it didn’t retract one bit from the overall awesomeness of the game.

    • azariosays

      I agree and I think the sales of that game were fairly good along with the reviews. Hoping more come West for sure!

    • Cael

      The girl in that picture actually likes getting punished it seems.

    • azariosays

      Oh my 😀

    • Steve Baltimore

      Don’t get your hopes up, they edited about 1/2 of these.

    • derpalong6

      Why are they even bothering to release what is basically an eroge game on the vita in USA? Americans other than otakus don’t play those, and they certainly don’t really play them for the story.

    • morzinbo

      What the fuck are you trying to say?

    • RepeatingDigits

      “basically an eroge”
      A game this softcore (and that’s a stretch, really), an eroge.
      You really have no idea what you’re saying. Apples and oranges.

    • derpalong6

      “basically”. I didn’t say it was one. The themes, the clicking areas, etc. It’s basicially an eroge with all the porn ripped out.

    • BurgerUnit

      Probably won’t be able to tell in NISA version as from what I understand voice acting will be missing from these segments

    • Adam James

      I’m sure the subtitles won’t match whats being said.

    • BurgerUnit

      Uhhh… there will be no subtitles. Why are you commenting on a 2 month old article anyway weirdo?

    • Adam James

      Because I just found out about this game.

      The games text will be in English. So I could expect the whole game to never match the audio spoken through the whole story.

    • derpalong6

      Neither image shows a lack of consent. That comes with how the story leading up to the picture goes. A picture in this case is not worth a thousand words.

    • Tyrone Jackson

      You can only get away with BDSM if you’re pandering to a female audience. See: 50 Shades of Grey.

  • KissDisqus

    the constant quote end quote brought up dr evil in my head

    I need to watch this movie again

  • kerbastrar2

    These people talk out their ass. They rally on about how they would like nothing more than to release the game uncensored, yet when given the opportunity to do just that on Steam (talking about the first game), they immediately pull out the excuses on how “company policy prevents us from releasing unrated games” and “it would just be too much effort”

    They might have the ESRB they can use to hide behind their decisions on the Vita, but they have no such luxury on the PC

    Prep the firing squads. The CG1 Steam forums are going to be a bloodbath

    • Infophile

      The simplest explanation is that the team localizing this game isn’t able to change company policy. The alternative explanation is that they’re making a pretense of being transparent about their localization when in actuality they’re lying about it and secretly have fallen prey to the SJW agenda, while they cover it up by saying things like:

      All of the “SJWs” in the world could send me death threats over email, form a picket line outside the office, egg my house, set my car on fire, and write essays and give television interviews about how Criminal Girls 2 is the most abhorrent game ever made and no civilized person should ever play it and shame on everyone involved in its creation…and I would prefer it to having to deal with all of this “censorship” drama.

      If they were against this kind of thing, why wouldn’t they just say so, or else keeps their mouth shut? How could they possibly be blind to how hardline the anti-censorship faction is?

      Or we could go back to the simple explanation, that they’re telling the truth. Not everything has to be a grand conspiracy.

    • Smug

      “secretly have fallen prey to the SJW agenda”

      Nigga they changed the terminology of the game to make it about “consent”
      Think a little more about it

  • tBanzai

    This post from the same thread in the forums accurately represents what I think about that response.
    “‘Don’t ever, ever believe that we want to censor things.’

    Frankly, what makes this the hardest to believe Is that you’re not trying to
    pass them with the ESRB in the first place. Yes, I’ve read the FAQ, and I
    find it a difficult excuse to swallow, and yes, that’s largely since certain other companies seem to have no trouble going through the process regardless. But rather, what I find most bizarre, is that if you actually submitted it to the ESRB and it came back as AO, you’d be able to take that and wave it around and say “hey everyone, look, we’re telling the truth, and the proof is right here!”. Nobody would be able to say a thing about that, and it’d largely put an end to these suspicions you guys don’t want to have cast upon you. And yet neither you or Atlus or anyone else have ever done anything of the sort. It doesn’t inspire confidence.
    And yes, I am aware of the ESRB rating fees. I certainly do not think they’re as severe as you guys make them out to be, given the ESRB’s fees are plainly and publicly available.”

    • kerbastrar2

      If cash was seriously an issue, they could easily get a few thousand from a crowdfunding campaign

      Just way too many excuses to believe their “we really want to release it uncensored, we swear!!!” story

    • j0eeyy_p

      I would have contributed towards this, if it means getting legitimate proof.

  • iyArashi

    I mentioned this on their Facebook post but I really do hope that an AO rating will no longer be a stigma for localizing games like these since we’re seeing platforms for adult games growing. I believe there’s MiKandi and more recently Nutaku. Sure you don’t get shelf space in stores but that’s why you go PC with digital distribution.

    I wish they would try to be more like Iffy and Marvy. A couple of years ago it was unthinkable that a game like Senran Kagura would see a release on PC (and on Steam no less).

    Oh and I don’t agree at all to their justifications for censoring the game. If they were truly concerned about “time and budget” then they wouldn’t put that much effort in redrawing the art AND re-implementing Live2D for them.

    • tBanzai

      Steam sells AO rated games as well.

  • Melody

    Not buying it. They couldn’t even bother with actually sending it in for a rating without censoring it. I know it costs money to do so, but it’d be nice to see some respect of their customers. Now I’m not asking them to do so every single time, it’d be good enough to see such a game get rated AO for things far cleaner than games that have gotten M ratings. Doing so would point out the double standard of the ESRB. XSeed Games Vice President Ken Barry has also spoken out against censorship.

    “We do always try to keep the original creator’s vision in mind when
    we localize stuff, as long as it can be accepted in the US. The ESRB is
    probably more lenient than what people think because they’ve been clear
    to us that it isn’t their job to censor anything, it’s their job to
    just rate the content. So most of the time we present the content as is
    and they come back with an M rating, which we understand, but if they
    come back with an AO then we have to have some discussions about what to
    censor in order to get that to an M rating. Otherwise, none of the
    platform holders allow an AO product on their platform.”

    When asked what they would do if a game they were localizing did get an AO rating, they stated:

    “That would be placing us in a very, very difficult position because
    censoring it would alienate the very audience that we are trying to
    bring the game for, while not really appeasing any of the critics that
    had no purchase intent in the first place. So we’d be doing a lot of
    extra work and going through a lot of extra trouble and pleasing nobody.
    So hopefully, we’re never in that position.”


    So what we have is a business that cares more about appeasing people who do not plan on buying the game than they do the people who do plan on buying it. They’ve taken their customer base for granted. At best they also assume the ESRB would give an AO rating, but they don’t know for sure since they haven’t had anything to go by before, so in order to save a bit of money to make sure, they just went ahead and censored it assuming that the customers wouldn’t mind it. At worst though, it could be argued that they wanted to censor it anyway.

    I’m not saying they’re satan’s spawn or anything, but this is their bad, not the ESRB’s. If we knew for certain that the ESRB would have rated it AO, then it would be the ESRB’s bad since the content doesn’t deserve an AO rating and far worse have gotten M ratings.

    I don’t know if I’d buy it if it did have to be censored, but if NISA doesn’t have the respect for customers to make certain, then I definitely won’t buy it now.

  • Daymon

    If nothing else, at least they provided this information before people bought it, allowing them to make a more informed decision.

  • morzinbo

    >Tries to cop out
    >Offers no alternative explanation

    bravo nisa

  • Hom-Ru-Beoulve

    Oh NISA. It’s not about the ESRB, it’s not about the rating.
    Yes, YOU are pandering to a selected group of people.

    Enjoy your game getting the tank because that’s the thing you deserve.

    As my parting message, here’s my gift.

    • Mr0303

      That one had me laughing.

    • Infophile

      A “select group of people”? What group? People who specifically want a censored eroge? Oh yeah, I’m sure they outnumber the people boycotting because of the censorship.

  • Adachi

    Fans of XSEED and Marvelous know that you’re full of sh*t Nisa.

    • dark-kyon

      Is funny how Pqube have tell already that gal gun DP will be uncensored and they aren’t even send the game to the ESRB, they are really confident about the ESRB not giving troubles, but NiSA is clearly diferent.

    • Ayame Kajou

      PQube are rapidly becoming my favourite publishers these days.

  • Nin

    Bullshit. Fucking Gahkthun got M. And that had sex scenes!

    I just don’t have any patience with NISA anymore. Can’t even buy any one of their games anymore, even the non-censored ones.

  • Wolfe

    I don’t buy censored games, period.

  • Paychi

    “I would prefer it to having to deal with all of this “censorship” drama.”

    Then don’t change shit. Just who do these people think buy these games? Your typical FPS, Dark Souls, League of Legends, or Elder Scrolls player looking to branch out? No it’s for fucking hardcore homies. You betray them for what? I cannot fathom.

  • Dee Jay

    What’s wrong with an AO rating, anyways? According to the ESRB site it’s only a year’s difference and of no real consequence. There really is no justification for such bullshit censorship and editing, and they know it.

    • Figuratively Shaking

      The AO rating has always been a ban for all intents and purposes. None of the main console manufacturers allow them on their systems and major retailers refuse to stock them. The ESRB, and ratings boards in general, have been bad ideas from the start and they only get worse as time goes on and that just makes NISA’s continuous scapegoating more infuriating. Dumb shit like “oh we emailed some dude once and he said the ESRB would totally give that an AO” only hurts legitimate arguments against the systems.

    • Ayame Kajou

      I think people really need to get on ERSB’s tail about fixing this.

      The ratings are meant to stop censorship, not create more. I’m not even in America and their ratings are affecting us which really shouldn’t happen.

      Maybe we should start a campaign to make ERSB ratings more strict. If AO games were more common there would be less stigma over them.
      In EU a lot of games are rated 18+ because of violence such as CoD and GTA. If big selling games like CoD and GTA were AO in America I’m sure retailers would be quick to change their policies of not stocking AO games.

  • Tyrone Jackson

    AO? Give me a goddamn break. They are so full of crap.

  • Nicholas Perry

    If only they didn’t have to have arbitrary stupid ratings that almost no one gives a crap about and pays attention to anyway. Especially when the intended audience is adults anyway.

  • Mr0303

    The ESRB excuse would be valid if they submitted the game for rating before doing the changes. If Evstival Versus got a M rating in the US and a 16+ rating here in Europe I doubt Criminal Girls 2 would be that much of an issue. The Dressing Room in SK has more or less the same features as the punishment scenes in CG2.

    I bought the first game despite the stupid pink smoke censorship to support them and to prove that there is a market for these types of games, but altering the art and removing dialogue in the sequel is something I don’t support. I understand that they are a business, but in its current state they are not giving me a product that I want. I’ll go for an Asia import when we get an English subbed version.

  • Audie Bakerson

    You can outright have bare nipples and get an M rating. Not blink and you’ll miss it nipples either: Human female nipples in full view the entire game (if you can play without armor) have been allowed by the ESRB before.

    The claim this was needed to avoid AO is 100% pure fiction.

  • Ayame Kajou

    If avoiding an ERSB AO rating is their reason it still seem like BS that the EU version is censored too. If they really cared they would give us an uncensored version here.

    What’s funny is that I just noticed on the box of that next to the 18+ rating it shows “violence” listed as the reason for that rating.

    And of course if they really cared they would factor in the extra time and money to get games rated a second time by PEGI if needed, they coudl even make use of both ratings by releasing both an M and AO version.

  • mwvdragon

    They never got it rated with the content unedited so I do not believe them.