Did You Know That Phantasy Star Online 2 Was Censored in its International English Release?
I bet you’ve been playing PSO2 all this time without the knowledge that it had been censored in the official international release, right?
Episode 4 of the highly successful MMO launched last month on August 5th, 2020, bringing with it a brand new story with a brand new cast of characters including the flaming haired Hitsugi, a key character throughout the story going forward.
This is where I actually started playing the game years ago, back when Episode 4 was released in Japan. This is where, to me, the game really got exciting.
But at the same time, I noticed that the localized iteration of her introduction was significantly different to what I recall.
Before we go any further, though, I do want to note that there are spoilers ahead, so be careful if you care about the story at all!
So, in the original Japanese version, Hitsugi turns around to find a completely unclothed Al behind her.
I mean, yes, the English version was also missing the clock in the background, I honestly don’t know the reasoning behind the removal of that but it’s worth noting the English version of the game has Al completely dressed.
If I recall, and it’s been a little while since I played through Episode 4’s story, so I’m a little hazy on the details, but – and once again, spoiler alert, there was a battle, and Al ended up getting separated from Hitsugi within PSO2, and was transported with only his body to her bed side.
Clothing would not have been provided for him and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Hitsugi, in the Japanese version freaked out as she had a naked guy in her bed. This was an understandable reaction that had to be altered in the international release of the game with dialogue concerning his.. visible.. equipment and general state of being no longer being of concern, because, well. He was fully clothed.
Which changes the entire feel of the scene, and the purpose behind her surprise. Now I know translations are often altered to suit a Western audience all the time in English localized games, but this changes an integral part of the game – Al’s introduction and their meeting.
That wasn’t it, though. And credit to the Censored Gaming and Voices of PSO2 Youtube channels for finding this next scene, as I actually had no idea that it even existed, let alone was removed.
Over the course of Episode 4, there are several different cutscenes completely removed in their entirety from the game. These cutscenes are all concerning bathing with other characters, which is pretty commonplace in Japanese media. You find it all the time in JRPGs and Anime series, as I’m sure you’re well versed in.
What’s worth noting is that these scenes, while present in the Japanese version and removed within the English version, were completely translated and dubbed into English with the official voice actors.
Meaning they had at one point contemplated leaving them in-game, uncensored in all their glory, but later opted to remove them for.. whatever reason. And they’re not even bad.
The first scene involves a blindfolded Al, Hitsugi and Kohri. Al doesn’t know anything about male or female anatomy, as he’s what, minutes old? Days old?
But as one would expect.. various ecchi scenes ensue. I’ll provide links to each of these videos in the description below so you can watch them through entirely, but do be aware that the lip-syncing is atrocious for these scenes!
The second scene involves Phaleg, Och, Phul, Hitsugi and Kohri all in the bath together. This time things get quite heated, and all 5 girls end up talking about.. what most of you guys would expect: Boobs. Size. Shape. Everything. This is honestly a scene I know a lotta you guys are gonna wanna see.
The third scene involves Enga, Hagith, Aratron and Al. Yup, all 4 guys in the bath. This isn’t nearly as interesting to watch as the last 2, specifically the one with all the girls, but the guys are talking about… well, surprisingly, boobs.
Yup. All 3 of these bathing cutscenes have the same general focus: The first scene has Al touching the girls by accident, the second scene has all 5 girls discussing their bust, and the final scene has all the guys talking about the girls’ chests as well.
I got a chuckle out of them, but I understand they’re not going to be for everyone.
I never played through Episode 5 far enough to see the next censored scene, but from what I can tell, Hitsugi, as part of the story is depicted without clothes just as Al was. And while nothing can actually be seen, since it’s at an almost above-the-shoulder angle, they decided to alter the scene and have Hitsugi fully clothed for it.
While to my knowledge this doesn’t impact the scene like having Al appear de-clothed, and it isn’t like removing entire cutscenes like the bathing scenes earlier, it’s interesting seeing how many things they change concerning the internationally localized versions of the game.
When the MMO was released earlier this year, they had censored the ability to make loli characters by increasing the minimum height you could make your characters.
This incited quite a bit of outrage from the loli-loving community, but from what I’ve seen it wasn’t to a degree that warranted nearly as much hate as it did. A little upset or irritation? Sure.
But as far as I can tell, those are the 4 instances of censorship that have been made apparent since its release. They very well might censor other parts of Episode 5, or the upcoming Episode 6 releasing later this year in the 4th Quarter, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I guess I’ll keep you guys updated with more info going into the future, as I know there are still plenty of you playing PSO2 currently, and even more of you excited for New Genesis.