Star Ocean 5 Producer Speaks Up About Localization

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

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In an interview with GameSpotStar Ocean 5 producer Shuichi Kobayashi was asked a few questions about the development changes the game has gone through and the reaction these changes received.

Star Ocean 5 | After Panties

When asked about the visual changes happening to the game, more specifically, the bigger underwear a character received. Kaboayashi replied:

It’s fundamentally just a ratings issue. But as for Star Ocean, it’s not that different–it’s unfortunate that a lot of people took the change in a bigger way than intended and interpreted things in a way that haven’t actually happened. But the game hasn’t changed, and the size [of the character’s underwear] hasn’t really changed, it’s really not that different than what was originally created. The essence of the game is not that part, and I really want players to not focus on that, but the rest of the gameplay. The Japanese rating system is different from that in the West and that is why these changes have to happen. Rating checks and submissions happen after most of the game is finished, so it’s inevitable that changes occur after some things are done. That’s why we had to make that kind of change this time, but it’s not that different, as much as people want to make it sound that way.

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GameSpot followed up with a question on why these changes have become such a big deal to gamers:

I think that at least for Star Ocean, it was because of what we were depicting. What players were picking up [the larger underwear] was a lot easier to make fun of. At least for Star Ocean, that’s why they blew it up the way they did.

It’s not that different. The users actually wouldn’t know what the original size is [from the game], so they picked it up and made fun of it. Normal users wouldn’t even worry about it, or look at it even, so…

Going off the difference in ratings, even gestures and hand signs are really different from culture to culture. For instance, in Star Ocean 5, when you first meet Relia, Miki pats her head to reassure her. In Japan that a reassuring motion, like what you do to little kids. But in some countries it was not taken that way, so that’s been changed in the game to fit the different cultures. It was picked up during QA, and we changed it.

It’s good to mention that Kaboayashi doesn’t mention whether this change has been made to one version of Star Ocean 5 or both.

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The interview ended with a question about whether or not Kaboayashi would be interested in doing another Valkyrie Profile, Kaboayashi responded:

I really want to. I really like Valkyrie Profile too. It’s just that it’s a bit difficult to do because a lot of the players like Valkyrie Profile 1 the most. The difference between players for the first game and its sequels is so different that it’s difficult to think about what makes the series good.

Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness is coming to the PlayStation 4 on July 28 in NA and July 1 in EU. The game is available now for the PlayStation 4 in Japan and will be releasing on the PlayStation 3 on April 28.

So what do you think are these changes necessary between cultures? And would you like another Valkyrie Profile? Let us know in the comments below.




  • Mr0303

    That sounds like damage control. If it was about the rating system, then the Japanese version shouldn’t be altered. Also he is right – it is pretty easy to make fun of someone wearing a diaper.

    In any case it is good to know that the backlash against these changes has been heard.

    • Dgnfly

      This is kinda why i feel ppl nowadays are idiots for the most part instead off trying to understand the cultural differences and take it for what it is instead they need a lame ass comfort zone that polices their stupidity.

      Kinda like the swastika in west we scream nazi germany when we see it, in japan in the other hand its on buddist temples and Its meaning is one of luck, well-being. and now japan even changes it on their maps cause Western ppl mind feel offended.

      I feel they need to grow the fuck up and start learning something instead off staying stupid which is what most off mankind seems comfortable with.

    • Mr0303

      One of the reasons I play games is to explore new worlds and experience different cultures.

      The Swastika was also a Sun symbol was was used by the Romans, which later the Nazis decided to adopt since they were imitating the Roman empire.

    • Dgnfly

      That’s the whole concept off games trying something new but with this controlled zone of not wanting to be offended nobody dares push the boundry even if its in a weird sense cause ppl might get trigger so everything stays the same or gets cut.

      i just feel even if it offends you something shoulden’t be removed you’d be better off learning from its meaning or what was done in its meaning then play the hear no evil see no evil, delusion that is running nowadays.

      Kinda a long vid but i feel Stephen Fry explains that erasing something that is bad isen’t really a good thing cause you’ll erase the history behind it and what you could learn from that.

    • Mr0303

      That it’s not long. I could listen to Stephen Fry for hours.

    • Dgnfly

      Me to. considering he likes to look at things realisticly and logicly.he’s a no bullshit kinda guy, and you gotta love him in Q.I.

    • leftwing guy

      You do know that the Germans took the Japanese symbol and turned it backwards so what did Germans have as a backwards symbol not the actual symbol

  • Immahnoob

    No but, seriously, this response is not only idiotic and out of touch with reality, it’s also insulting to both the west and the Japanese.

    “Normal people” wouldn’t have noticed. It’s not that anyone noticed, dipshit, you outright SAID IT and SAID it was done because of western criticism, making your own fanbase angry.

    Maybe you should pick better people for QA’s, because those retards have no idea what the actual fans want in either the west or the east.

    Do not forget guys:

    https://karasucorps.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/interview-translation-part-1-i-want-to-create-soul-food-for-the-fans-an-interview-with-star-ocean-5-creators-shuichi-kobayashi-hiroshi-ogawa-and-akiman/

    The reason they’ve changed Miki (and said Fiore is a problem) because of moral, “too sexy” reasons and that was something the west did not like from their perspective (which is wrong).

    This is outright self-censorship. And then they backpedal hard. Do not forget.

    • blackice85

      -The reason they’ve changed Miki (and said Fiore is a problem) because of moral, “too sexy” reasons and that was something the west did not like from their perspective (which is wrong).

      I really want to know what their sources are when they say that the West doesn’t like sex and titillation. That stuff sells, period. There’s a reason advertising uses it so heavily too.

    • Immahnoob

      They said the sources are QA’s, so you won’t get any outside sources.

      Basically, they could be lying. It’s a big assumption but it’s possible with how little evidence they’re giving us and forcing this on us when the outrage is so high.

      It sold badly in JP too, by the way.

    • blackice85

      Yea I see that, though console sales in general have seemed to have slumped. The game looks good at least.

    • Immahnoob

      It’s the worst selling out of all of them, Star Ocean is dying.

    • blackice85

      Maybe, but things have changed a lot since the first release on SFC/PS1. I think it’s a combination of factors, but I’m hoping it’ll do better in the West.

    • leftwing guy

      It’s a start ocean is dying are you f****** serious wow you do you know how much the PSP version of of the two Star Ocean games are damn Clueless

    • Immahnoob

      No idea.

      Nor does it matter.

    • Ragnawind

      It didn’t really do bad at all in Japan, though. Most home console releases in Japan lately rarely ever sell more than 100k and this sold more than 100k itself, which is actually pretty good, especially for a game that has been dead for almost a decade.

  • darkgamer001

    Makes me sad to see a developer so ok with just changing the game for “cultural reasons”.
    And don’t give me that ratings bs. Not with some of the other outfits.
    And if that really is the case, DLC exists in this day and age, where you can throw in your original vision, put it at a higher rating than the base game, and hopefully put it up for free.
    But these are the questions that game journos need to ask. Instead, we’re stuck with a bunch of people who are either happy to toe the SJW line, or too scared to ask devs these awkward questions or make suggestions like the one I just did with the DLC thingy (which is by no means anything special, just using common sense)

    • Joey

      The issue with your proposal is that the whole game would have to be rerated if they do this, which costs time and money. They don’t care enough for the fans as it is (particularly Vita fans), so it’s unlikely they will consider this. Plus, if they did it’s also unlikely to change the actual age rating from a T to an M, and then they would look like apologists as it will contradict the PR statement quoted above,

    • darkgamer001

      No actually, my proposal would aim to avoid it being completely re-rated.
      I am asking if it is possible for DLC of a game to have a higher rating than the base game. I genuinely don’t know if it’s ever been done before, or if it is legally possible, or how much this would cost (since it’s basically just sending minor parts of a game to a rating board)
      Either way, genuine game journalism should be doing two things in this field:
      Look into and research all possibilities. Present these possibilities to developers during interviews and get reactions.
      Push for global ratings in which publishers self-rate their games. Because as it is, these rating boards are genuinely stifling games at times, and at others just being used as an excuse.

    • Joey

      Oh okay thanks for clarifying. I misunderstood.

      I wouldn’t be able to give a concret answer, but I lean more towards no. That said, I believe that you are spot on about what game journos should do.

      Though there’s one potential pitfalls – would all countries in the world be willing to trust the publishers with their own ratings? I don’t think that will ever be possible,

    • darkgamer001

      Extremely valid point with some countries resisting such an option. Japan, Germany and Australia for starters would almost surely object, not to mention current rating boards would be up in arms, seeing as they’d essentially be made redundant.
      I’m not saying it’ll be easy, that’s for sure. I’m just saying more journalists and game industry insiders should push for it. Even a cross EU-NA one would be a good start. Then essentially countries that resist can end up locked out of most games (as already happens with restrictive costs for indies to publish in Germany, for example), which would add more pressure for them to just accept it.
      Bit of a pipe dream, I guess….but it’s well worth a try. After all, some people in this multi-billion dollar industry wield considerable power….and with that, influence.

    • Kongk4

      >I am asking if it is possible for DLC of a game to have a higher rating than the base game.

      Nope. All DLC have to respect the game’s current rating, including the warnings listed.* The game will have to be re-rated by the ESRB (or whatever) and re-distributed in the market if they want to change the rating.

      *ie. You can’t have DLC reference alcohol in any shape or form if the game’s rating wasn’t listed with a warning of such, regardless if that would increase the rating or not.

    • darkgamer001

      Erm….dunno how it is with other rating agencies but this is from ESRB
      http://www.esrb.org/ratings/faq.aspx#16.5
      The wording is a bit vague, but it shows that submitting a higher rating DLC is possible.
      “Where, however, the content exceeds the rating assigned to the core product, it must be submitted to ESRB and a different rating may be assigned.”

  • CHRIS

    If that was really the case then they would of censored the mage green haired character aswell.

    • Dgnfly

      Who says she might not get censored. sometimes these kinda damage controll gets done so ppl buy or pre-order it and then when they have it they find out more has been cut kinda makes me warry off pre-ordering the game.

      If they did censor her it would have been no-buy for me i alrdy think the censoring is getting out off hand even if its for the so called rating system which is bullshit on its own cause more then enough Ecchi games have passed lower ratings.

  • Infophile

    Far more polite about it than many would have been. I think I’ll just highlight this point:

    It’s not that different. The users actually wouldn’t know what the original size is [from the game], so they picked it up and made fun of it. Normal users wouldn’t even worry about it, or look at it even, so…

    Seriously. You have to really tilt the camera at just the right angle to see a few pixels worth of difference from a version that was never released. I understand being against censorship, but maybe people would be taken more seriously about this if the reaction were proportional to the change.

    • Sylveria Shini

      Fascism starts with the little things. Artists censoring themselves or moderating themselves for fear of what may happen to them, their piece, or whatever is part of that little thing at a time process. Ive said before about stuff this that the developer is probably right, “normal people” wont notice. They wont know that they changed this because of the fear of SJW outrage and tat’s the problem. “normal people” wont know what’s happening until it’s so extreme that there’s no turning back.

      And frankly this is another incidence of a developer putting the blame on the ratings board when we’ve all seen time and time again that this particular change would have no influence on the rating whatsoever instead of being honest and putting the blame where it belongs.

    • Infophile

      You know, if they want to avoid outrage, making changes like this makes absolutely no sense. By this point, it’s guaranteed that any change that even slightly decreases the amount of sexy is going to provoke massive outrage. I’ve seen no comparable outrage for going about business-as-usual (I’ve seen criticism, but it certainly hasn’t been the spittle-flecked cries of “fascism” and “nazis” characteristic of internet outrage).

      So if you want to argue that the motivation is to avoid outrage, you’re going to have to make a pretty strong case. It looks more to me like they’re trying to please one group of critics despite knowing how much outrage it will cause among other groups.*

      *Why would they do this? Probably comes down to the quality of arguments being made.

    • blackice85

      I’ve said as much myself yeah. The change is insignificant when it comes to censoring since it’s so minor (who would be opposed to the previous underwear but OK with this? you’re looking up her skirt afterall), but any change at all starts a shitstorm.

    • bloblord

      Slippery slope fallacy strikes again.

    • Sylveria Shini

      Read a history book. Look how Nazi Germany, Iran, Iraq, the USSR, North Korea, and modern countries that are creeping towards authoritarianism like the UK and Sweden started on the road to the state they’re in now.

  • Vayu Purana

    *June 28th NA………almost scared the hell outta me lol

  • Chris Pearson

    What these Devs need to realize is that their western Audience don’t want things changed so that we understand it, we want it EXACTLY as it was intended. Anyone who buys a JRPG knows exactly why you are patting the head of that child; because they have watched anime before, they know Japanese culture. We all do, its why we love these games so much. To change something from one thing or another on grounds of making it more suitable is censorship. It doesn’t matter if you are ****ing out a curse word, bleeping a spoken one, black barring genitals, adding pixels to a costume in a game or changing an entire gesture. These are all censorship, and I do not stand for this.

  • MusouTensei

    They lost at least 1 buyer with this bs. I will buy it 2nd hand eventually, and if that means this will be the last Star Ocean, so be it.

    • bloblord

      Wow…

  • Penny Brown

    The problem isn’t the adults that are playing the games. It is the parents that are afraid that their kids are going to be playing these games. Which is why we can’t have them the way they were made. Parenting isn’t the same as when we were kids where our parents said no and we didn’t get something, or did something and that was it. (yes I parent like that). Most parents want to be friends with their kids so they buy it anyways then get offended when their is ass and boobs in a game they could seen the rating on.

    God forbid little Johnny see a boob, or a butt check but he can go about screaming how he fucked my mama all day online, as long as he isn’t taking away from your harvesting from farmville.

  • blackice85

    I have to wonder about this supposed ratings system we have over here. Are they looking up every character’s skirt to do an underwear check or something?

  • VLX

    Seriously, do these people not ask just who is their audience? I don’t know about the rest of you, but this doesn’t seem like a game the average child would pick up.

    It was clearly not intended to be a diaper in the first place and they expected people to just buy into it and not feel the least bit insulted that they’re being told they can’t handle panties? Get fucking real lol

  • Wait, did he just say they took out a head patting scene?

  • RpgNostalgia

    This is downright disappointing, this growing trend of damaging content in the hopes of appeasement. I had a list of rpgs to purchase this year, and now I am only interested in one or two. Does anyone have information on the actual length of game play for SO5? I found several claims from players suggesting the game is around 20 hours of playtime?

  • David

    I’m playing the digimon cybersleuth game right now and for a game likely to be purchased by younger ppl the women have very revealing outfits that no one saw a reason to change so why does it seem every new rpg is getting into this rediculous censorship bullshit?

  • Panpopo

    I have always enjoyed the Valkyrie Profile series, but they are just teasing to see if there is any interest out there. I was convinced that the DS game was it for the series.

    If they do another game, I cannot imagine that it would come out on the PS4 or PC due to costs. Vita or 3DS maybe, but whether it makes business sense to do it is up to them.

  • bloblord

    “It’s not that different. The users actually wouldn’t know what the
    original size is [from the game], so they picked it up and made fun of
    it. Normal users wouldn’t even worry about it, or look at it even, so…”

    At least the developer has his head screwed on right unlike some ridiculous over reaction to literal anything changing ever on the internet…