Posted on February 7, 2011, Phil Owen Japanese Version of Homefront Loses References to North Korea
Apparently, Japan’s video games ratings board, CERO, has a strange policy I had never heard of before tonight. The policy basically says that games certified by CERO can’t talk s–t about actual, on-Earth nations or people the CERO folks might potentially meet some day down the road, presumably because they don’t want said meetings to be way awkward. This is a very touchy-feely policy that prevents games from painting any real-world country or person in a negative light.
It seems strange that this policy isn’t something people talk about all the time, because you’d think a policy like that would require publishers to edit at least a few Western games every year for the Japanese market. On the other hand, most games are pretty fantastical and don’t typically make explicitly negative references to real-life people, countries or government organizations; of all the games on my shelf, I think the only titles that do that are Call of Duty and Tom Clancy games, and I don’t know enough about the policy’s application with regards to religion (because I can’t read the website), and so I’ll put Assassin’s Creed in limbo.
Homefront has a very clear-cut real-world villain, North Korea with Kim Jong-Il’s son at the helm, and this was an issue when the game came under review at CERO. Andriasang, translating an announcement from the game’s Japanese publisher, reports that the game had undergone some edits in order to receive certification.
A picture of Kim Jong-Il has been removed from the game’s intro, North Korea will now be referred to as “A certain country to the north,” (taking cues from Dan Mullen?), and Jong-Il’s son will be referred to as “Northern Leader.”
The most intriguing part of this, to me, is that, as part of the game’s backstory, Japan is annexed by Korea and, one could safely presume, Japanese soldiers are part of the force invading the USA. That is not referenced in the announcement, but that would surely be changed, too, right?
I hate that censorship of games still takes place, but we can still be grateful CERO didn’t de facto ban the game outright like South Korea did. Yuck.
Loving the game, but want to get that extra edge? Check out our complete Homefront walkthrough!