By Jenae R / April 30th, 2018
DISCLAIMER: Opinions stated are those of the author and do not reflect upon oprainfall as a whole.
There is one game that meant a lot to me, that I absolutely adored but until now have refused to talk about in any of my oprainfall articles. That game, Bravely Default, is a game that was beloved and one that I was enthralled with the second I downloaded and delved into its demo. That is, until the series was eviscerated by localizers, sometime between 2015 and 2016. Promptly afterwards, the image I had in my head of this series was tainted and I immediately dropped it for years before even thinking of going back.
First of all, let me tell you about this beautiful game and why I loved it. As I said before, Bravely Default is a game I truly adored from the first minute I played it. It was packed to the brim with nothing but absolutely wonderful characters, charm, basic turn-based fun, loads of jobs and cute outfits. I spent many hours with this little 3DS title and I fell in love with it. It stole my heart and became probably my second favorite Square JRPG ever with the first being Final Fantasy IX (the start of my love of JRPGs). Now, Bravely Default isn’t a perfect game, it has its flaws such as the substantial middle portion where you essentially repeat everything you had done up until that point, multiple times. Despite this, I already loved it and was having so much fun with the various jobs and witty characters that I wasn’t too bothered by the repetitive chunk of content. This was a game that had a high chance of being one of my top seven favorite games, if not for how it all came crashing down with the sequel’s release.
Bravely Default wasn’t completely untouched and devoid of censorship, though as far as I know, the changes were minor. A few costumes were slightly altered to cover up characters’ skin. Otherwise, it was the same glorious game I had come to know. Unfortunately, the localizers of its likely once wonderful sequel, decided to infect this charm filled series with a disease that sat there and rotted from the inside out, eventually ruining it for me. At first they decided to change the Tomahawk class resembling Native Americans, to a Cowboy class in the hopes of avoiding offense. I was okay with that. Seeing as I’m not a Native American myself, I can’t tell what is or isn’t offensive to Native Americans. Although, I personally did find this to be quite an ironic change. But it was the additional information that came out afterwards which started to gnaw at me. More news leaked on how it was more than the one class change. They went on to change numerous costumes. They went on to chop out replayability in the form of alternate bad endings, endings which originally included additional voice acted scenes and more story content. They even had the audacity to censor a book dedicated to Akihiko Yoshida’s art from the game. While I’m no artist, I have had interactions with people who are and I’m sure that altering someone else’s art in a book dedicated to their art, would be extremely frowned upon. Bravely Second, unlike the original entry, was greatly torn apart and very much altered during localization.
When a game I love and enjoy as much as I did Bravely Default, receives a localized sequel so grossly chopped up, it angers and upsets me. It infects my idea of the series as a whole and sits there and festers until there’s nothing left but a horrible image in my head of what could’ve been great, what was once fantastic and got utterly destroyed. Yes, the original Japanese version has everything intact and I could work really hard to read and learn Japanese for the purpose of playing the complete game. But should I really have to? Being fluent in another language is awesome and for sure useful, yet I am not. When a company was supposed to bring over an amazing game and give us the same content, should I have to spend months (possibly years) in addition to hundreds of dollars, just to buy the correct system and be able to understand the uncut version? No I shouldn’t, this is why this game was localized to begin with. On top of the news of the vast censorship it received, I’ve read the thoughts of other Bravely fans who believe the sequel is cheesier. This gives me the awful impression that it’s possible there are even more changes than what I’m aware of and what Nintendo admitted to. It could be exactly like another heavily censored game released that same year, which didn’t feel like it had any soul left. It was nothing more than a heartless abyss. Fortunately, that game was lucky enough to be a stand alone title.
I don’t support censorship because it ruins a series when each entry is not a stand alone story. Bravely Second is highly unlikely to ever be officially fixed and re-released uncut in the west. Though I do hope I’m wrong and that one day someone is nice enough to release it over here properly. At one point in time I was looking forward to that game more than anything else and the localization team took an axe to it. Even when I was a less informed, more casual gamer in my teenager days, I didn’t like censorship. But back then, I wasn’t as clued in on when games were censored or altered. Now that I am older and do my research, I will always oppose censorship.
I am now much more likely to make sure a game is unsealed and used if I purchase one that was censored, to be positive that I’m not directly supporting censorship with even a cent of my money. I will also continue to gladly share my thoughts on games that are censored, in addition to informing other gamers of any modified content should they be considering buying a game and not have knowledge of that. When you accept censorship, when you support these people who continue to slowly inch their way towards fully butchering games, it one-hundred percent ruins these wonderful works of art. After all, video games are art and it’s a shame that art has to be censored for ridiculous reasons. Localization companies shouldn’t be allowed to mess with them as much as they sometimes do. What goes on during the localization of games like Bravely Second is in the words of Agnès Oblige: “Unacceptable!”
3DSBravely DefaultBravely SecondCensorshipNintendoSquare Enix