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Censorship EU Games Entertainment

South Park Game Censored On Consoles Outside North America 221

Posted by timothy
from the some-people-just-hate-speech dept.
RogueyWon writes "South Park has long been vocal in its opposition to media censorship from any source, launching scathing attacks on everything from 'think of the children' moral crusades to the censorship of religious imagery. In a curious twist, therefore, Ubisoft, the publisher of the upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, has decided to censor certain scenes from the game's Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions from release in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. American versions, as well as the European PC release, so far appear to have escaped the censor's pen."
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South Park Game Censored On Consoles Outside North America

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  • I dare say that it's a result of Ubisoft lazily deciding to produce and test only a single version for the quote-unquote international market, and having to meet the lowest-common-denominator levels of creative expression permitted in the Middle-Eastern and Australian regimes.

    • Ubisoft as nothing to do with this censorship btw. Ubisoft and other publishers do the games. It's the countries that makes the censorship so the main problem comes from those places...not the company. Look at Saint Row 4 problems in Australia. They dare censor and block the game but gave multiple different version of their blocking reasons...which changed from a day to day basis which made no sense. Censorship usually happens because of a lack of knowledge over computers, the game itself and the main reaso
      • Actually, if a publisher "removes" content from a game, that he himself is publishing, without any legal interferrence from a government or more precisely law or court, then it is not censorship, but his own decission, for whatever reasons.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @12:54PM (#46335463)

      The Middle-Eastern version will just be a character sitting around in a empty room, sipping tea. And several imams will STILL condemn it as blasphemous.

  • Are you sure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @12:42PM (#46335283)

    Are you sure that the US release wasn't also censored in some way?

    Here's how it works: US companies submit their games to US ratings boards FIRST, then they remove shit the US censors don't like, and once the US censors approve it, they sent it to ratings boards in other countries, who sometimes remove OTHER stuff.

    However, we, the consumers, never see the ORIGINAL version before the US censors make their cuts, because the game companies don't bother trying to put those things in non-US versions.

    When the Australian classification board said no to a few things in Saints Row IV, a big fuss was made, but Volition have mentioned in the past that US ratings board said no to a few things, and there was no outcry.

    From this, we learn: People are fine with censorship in the USA, but if it's allowed in the USA it should be allowed everywhere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, what we learn from this is that you are an idiot. Modifiying your own work to meet your business goals (get the rating you want) is not censorship, no matter how you try to spin it. Having to modify a work because some of the content is illegal is censorship.

      I have no idea if they modified the other version because of laws (censorship) or because of business reasons (not censorship), but your 'lesson' is beyond idiotic.

      • But is modifying it because "it won't be carried on store shelves because it's rated X" a business reason or a censorship reason?

        Businesses aren't the government and therefore what they do technically isn't censorship. But what else do you call refusing to sell a creative work based on the offensiveness of its content?

      • by idontgno (624372)

        So the well-established phrase "self-censorship" (and the valid concept it expresses) either (A) doesn't actually exist, or (B) is used by experts in the fields of self-expression rights and chilling effects because they're dumber than you, Anonymous Coward.

        Riiiiight.

    • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:15PM (#46336631)

      /sigh

      Here's how it works: US companies

      Like Ubisoft?

      submit their games to US ratings boards

      The ESRB is a private industry group, and participation is entirely voluntary.

      then they remove shit the US censors don't like

      The ESRB doesn't care one way or the other. The "American" publishers tend to seek to avoid an AO ("Adults Only") rating, for marketing reasons, and will try to bring things down to an M ("Mature") rating so that certain big-name retailers will consent to carry the game. But games that get an AO rating are certainly free to keep that rating and have been published in the past, and publishers are free to skip the rating process entirely (e.g. I've seen more than a few localized Japanese H-games that don't bother formalizing the AO rating they'd obviously get).

      However, we, the consumers, never see the ORIGINAL version before the US censors make their cuts, because the game companies don't bother trying to put those things in non-US versions.

      Publishers don't sell an "unrated" version of a particular game in North America (ESRB includes Canada) because they know that not enough customers will go out of their way to find retail channels that will carry AO/unrated games to make the the prospect financially viable. Conversely, publishers don't sell an "unrated" version of a particular game in Germany or Australia because it would be illegal.

      • by Carewolf (581105)

        Conversely, publishers don't sell an "unrated" version of a particular game in Germany or Australia because it would be illegal.

        Please don't make shit up.

      • There have been a few games I've seen that didn't bother with the ESRB, they just got a PEGI rating and that keeps the retailers happy. Civ 4 was such a title. No ESRB rating, even in the US, just PEGI. Kept Target, BestBuy, etc happy. Retailers don't seem to be that fussy about the rating system used, they just seem to want one. So supposing the ESRB were being dicks, but PEGI was being reasonable, a company could use the PEGI rating instead and that would work just fine in the US.

        Of course on the PC side

    • by AudioEfex (637163)

      You are confusing the MPAA with the ESRB.

      In any case, this game is rated "M" - anything goes.

      Technically, none of this (even the MPAA) is censorship to begin with, because none of these entities are government related (at least in the U.S.) - the reason the studios have their films rated by the MPAA is because of commercial considerations (many theaters refuse to show unrated or even NC-17 films), same as the ESRB (the latter being so inconsequential that no chain or store I know of refuses to stock M-

  • Wait, wait, wait...
    1. Be anti-censorship and control
    2. Have Ubisoft make your game

    I take it EA Games was busy that day? What the actual fuck were they thinking?
  • They censored a game because of content? Ug, "think of the children."

    The children now deprived...

  • Perhaps they should use more family friendly content, say from the Woodland Critter Christmas episode.
  • We all know how envious South Park is of Canada.

  • On the assumption. of course that it'll be available on Linux.

    I'll have to watch an episode of South Park all the way through though. The couple I've seen bits of are funny enough for that to possibly be worth the effort.

    will it be available on Wii? That might encourage me to actually use the thing.

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