Podcast: 'Censorship' And Localization

Marketing art from XSEED’s Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson
Marketing art from XSEED’s Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson

When does video game localization become ‘censorship’? And how often are localization decisions just made for business reasons?


Originally published 5/12/16

Today on Kotaku Splitscreen, former XSEED editor Jessica Chavez joins the show to talk about her experiences bringing games from Japan to U.S. shores. She’s got plenty of stories from the trenches of localization, which is far more complex than most people realize. (As it turns out, the localization decisions that some people complain about are usually made in tandem with the developers themselves.) We also talk Trails and geek out about Suikoden II because of course we do.


You can listen to the show on iTunes, Google Play, or on Simplecast here. (You can also download the MP3 directly.)

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If the government or an outside body were to force a localization team to remove certain elements of the game, it’s censorship. If a company decides to change some things about their own product in localization, because of how they want to present themselves in another market, because of how gamers in another market may have responded to the gameplay or plotlines upon release, or for literally any reason other than pressure from a corporate or governing body outside of the company’s, it’s not censorship. Just isn’t.

I don’t know why you’re legitimizing the extremely dumb arguments advanced by GamerGate idiots.