Players Say Fatal Frame’s New Costumes Are Censorship

Players Say Fatal Frame’s New Costumes Are Censorship

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water on Wii U has been available in Japan for a while now, but it finally showed up for everyone else on Thursday. It’s the ghost hunting game everyone already expected, but with one catch: the scantily clad bonus costumes has been removed. This oversight has pissed some people off.

Unlocking alternate costumes is one of the most common ways to encourage players to make their way through a game multiple times. This new Fatal Frame is no exception, though the rewards felt more in line with Tecmo’s Dead or Alive:

To be clear, Tecmo Koei technically own the rights to the Fatal Frame franchise, but Nintendo locked up sequels for their platforms, starting with Fatal Frame IV, which is why they’re publishing the game.

These costumes feels slightly more uncomfortable when paired with one scene in particular, where the player can “film” characters sleeping with them on.

Those costumes were removed from the game and replaced with ones inspired by Zelda and Samus, as revealed a few days back. The Wii’s Fatal Frame game also had a Samus suit, so this isn’t the first time the franchises have crossed.

Nintendo didn’t announce the costumes had been removed, and when I contacted the company, the only response I got was confirmation of the change.

It’s also not the first time Nintendo’s been involved in modifying such content. When the company picked up the publishing rights to Bravely Default outside of Japan, the company quietly changed the ages of certain characters from 15 to 18 and modified their costumes, covering up some of the more revealing outfits:

Per an IGN story from January 2014:

In both cases, it ignited a conversation about censorship and cultural norms, as evidenced by this exchange from Fahey’s piece about Bravely Default‘s changes:

Such costumes aren’t new to the series, though. Take Fatal Frame II, for example:

Still, the move has gotten under some people’s skin, as this lengthy “How much does censorship bother you?” thread on NeoGAF illustrates:

The game changed, yes, but is it censorship? In a sense, but it’s not so simple. Games are a business, and Nintendo wants to make money. Nintendo wanted to bring Fatal Frame to territories where the mood and attitudes towards sex are different than the country it was developed in. The mere presence of bikini costumes may have resulted in some players getting turned off from a game primarily about trying to kill ghosts with a camera. They made a calculated decision — whatever sales they lost from removing the costumes was a better gamble than losing sales over headlines and forum posts about the costumes.

To some players, they say it’s a matter of principle, not a preference for bikini costumes. Per a reddit thread, in which both sides of the argument show up:

You might want to pump the breaks a bit there, DJ_IllI_Ill, given that Nintendo helped make the game. The company also funded and published Bayonetta 2. The difference between the games and their approach to sexiness is vast, however.

That said, the conversations I’ve seen about this have surprisingly reasonable:

Nintendo might have avoided some trouble by being up front, even if that’s not their style. When Atlus announced it was making four content changes to Dungeon Travellers 2, it was clear with its fans about why it was happening:

Dungeon Travellers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal presented some challenges during the localisation process — specifically, adapting some of the fan service content to western sensibilities. Localisation by nature requires some changes to be made for content to be understood en masse, which is why ATLUS worked closely with developer AquaPlus to preserve the game’s themes and content to its fullest.

In order to comply with restrictions set forth by rating boards, ATLUS made concessions on just four in-game images. On these images, some minor edits were made (and approved by the developer) to adjust the overt graphics to within acceptable ranges for the game’s M-rating.

In any case, the real horror might be the fact that, based on what I’ve played, the new Fatal Frame isn’t very good. That’s just my brief take, though, and you can read Richard Eisenbeis’ full review of the Japanese version from last year.


    • Doesn’t necessarily have to be the government in this case. If Nintendo say “modify your game or the last 3 years of development will be for nothing”, thats still censorship.

        • In essence every game is censored…every publisher will make some changes to a game or a design draft from a developer depending on what they feel the “market” want or doesn’t want.

          The only issue here is people know what they missed out on…all the other times we were ignorant and blissful

    • I think it’d fall under the category of self-censorship.

      Always disappointing when this occurs in the absence of an explicit regulatory reason. If Nintendo had said it had to make the changes to comply with ESRB rules, then that would be more understandable. The issue here is that ESRB rules were almost certainly not the reason the changes were made.

      Fatal Frame is meant to be a disturbing game. In my opinion the original costumes, whilst slightly over the top, nevertheless fit with the narrative of one of the characters being a gravure idol. The changes were unnecessary, and putting the Nintendo costumes in there was just silly (although to each their own).

  • Someone who owns a thing and/or creates a thing choosing not to do a thing is not censorship.

      • Literally everything you choose or don’t choose to do is self-censorship then. Why are you censoring yourself Zambayoshi? Why????


        • I agree that you could take it to that extreme, but ‘censorship’ is generally applicable to forms of media such as books, films, music or in this case, video games 🙂

    • When someone makes a thing and then takes part of that thing out when they make it available to a different group of people for fear that they might upset someone, that is censorship. Pretty much the definition of it, even.

      • Where is the part that says it was taken out for fear it might upset someone? Up until that is actually confirmed, it’s not censorship nor pretty much the definition of it, even.

        • Proving intent isn’t required for it to be considered censorship. Perception is what matters.

          Also what possible reason would they have for taking out skimpy costumes and putting new ones in instead other than feeling the old ones were inappropriate? Especially with a company that has a track record of doing this in their Japanese to English localizations recently (see also: Fire Emblem Awakening, Bravely Default).

          There is one possibility I can think of: they’re going to sell the cut costumes as DLC. Would be a very Tecmo Koei-style move. If that’s what they’re doing they need to be up-front about it though.

    • If they had put in a toggle, and set it to “fan-service off” by default, I’d say not censorship. Removing it altogether… that’s on the censorship side of the street.

      • I guess I’m just 100% bored with the fact that the screams of censorship only ever seem to come when a certain group of dudes think their boners are being interfered with. It’s always “sexy” costumes or to do with objectifying the female characters. Or, y’know, in the case of Bravely Default dudes getting up in arms because they were being prevented from sexually objectify characters who are children (15 years old) which is pretty damn hinky.

        • Fair enough – those cases are pretty much the only times things do get changed, though, so the complaint ratio’s going to be skewed.

        • Honestly that’s fair enough mate. I respect you don’t like fan service.

          But a scant year or so back we were arguing for the inclusion of a “dildo launcher” on SRIV as well. Both are relatively trivial and at the end of the day not game breaking features. Heck we even had arguments lambasting Valve for taking down Hatred.

          The principle still stands however that someone has made the decisions for me as an adult that nope you can’t get that virtual option/thing/feature because “think of teh children!” Just because it’s not something you personally feel strongly about doesn’t mean it’s any less for the folks who got affected.

          I’m still shitty over the pointless censorship of SP:TSoT (I mean really censoring the whole “abortion mini game” was one of the most pointless excercises since you literally do it near the end to “abort” a bomb). I mean yeah skimpy outfits not your thing that’s cool but this apathetic response helps no one by dividing us all against each other when it becomes your turn for a feature to be “removed” because it ain’t kosher for kids or some other excuse.

          • I dunno mate, it’s actually not that I’m apathetic and it’s not that I don’t like me some fan service but it’s just that it always seems to be about ultra objectifying women, often in a really pointless way. I’m a 34 year old woman who has been playing video games since the Commodore 64 and after a lifetime of dealing with this kind of shit in games and real life, the fact that it’s 2015 and dudes are getting het up because some companies are now making the choice to maybe not objectify the pixel ladies quite so dramatically, I’m just. Y’know. Bored to hell of it when it’s like, guys, come on, you can turn to anywhere else in the world – including other video games – and find ridiculously objectified women, not having it in a handful of games that you might have had it before or they might have somewhere else on this green earth hasn’t magically made it disappear from the whole world.

            It’s like the diversity arguments when guys act like having a game with diverse characters is going to magically mean that there literally will never be a game made with a white dude protag where they get to shoot the shit out of things and treat women badly ever again. It’ll happen, don’t panic. A handful of games taking away the bikinis or making character not actually illegal in age anymore doesn’t mean that suddenly all games will have women wearing baggy jumpsuits with realistic non-gravity defying body types, shaming guys for liking or wanting sex or having a goddamn pixel waifu. That would be boring as shit for starters. No one wants that.

            And I agree that there are definitely issues with other censorships, but in my case for *these* kinds of complaints I find it hard to have more than a passing “sorry about your boner, dude” sympathy after all these years for guys complaining purely because she’s apparently not *quite* naked enough to fap to. Which I think is more a lack of imagination issue and an entitlement issue than a censoredship issue.

          • Hahaha… fair enough =D

            Just for reference and disclosure mid 30’s guy here who does actually like/play those “objectifying/fanservice” games you speak of such as DoA and whatnot.

            And honestly I agree with you… at the end of the day it’s truly optional stuff we are talking about here it’s freaking costumes. I’m still buying the game at the end of the day and not having the swimsuits (as soul crushing as it is! xD) won’t really mean diddly squat for gameplay reasons in my view. Not having this stuff is pretty much inconsequential… I really don’t care much at the end of the day if someone makes a game w/ a great female protag or fanservicey stuff aimed at women (I mean thank gawd someone is actually publishing Otome VN’s like Hakuoki and Code:Realise geebus we need more of that stuff :D) I don’t see it as some huge conspiracy for the “end of fanservice” as we know it…


            It’s just I’m just not to keen on stuff being sanitised for *any* specific reason. It just so happens that fanservice tends to be the one that gets sanitised a lot… so I end up sounding like a cheerleading squad for “bewbies!” xD

  • Unless the censorship goes to Left 4 Dead 2 levels of censorship (aaah, memories), I don’t really mind them all that much. Bravely Default’s never bothered me because it was just clothing and boosting the characters ages by… 3-5 years? Unless you looked for it, you never would have known the game was censored :I

    • Yeah, with Bravely Default I didn’t realise it was censored at the time. The only thing that struck me was when Ringabel was referring to the Bravo Bikini as being so risque and so hot, then it turned out to be pretty tame-looking. I didn’t think anything of it at the time though, and it certainly didn’t make the game any less satisfying for me. Not saying it would be the same for every game though.

  • I wouldn’t say “censorship”, I’d call it an “edit”. Like when you take scene out of a movie because it doesn’t fit.

    This doesn’t fit.

    • It’s an “optional” costume though. It’s the same as say the Knight Outfit for Ashley or the Gangster Outfit for Leon on RE4.

      Of course it’s out of place but it’s just their for lulz/fanservice. It doesn’t really affect the gameplay at all and it is *optional* so you don’t really need to swap costumes if you think it breaks “immersion” =P

  • This “PC-bro” revival is going too far. When you get between a gamer and their boobs you’ve crossed a line.

  • Shouldn’t be too surprised as Nintendo did it to the Project Zero 2: Wii Edition when they removed the Lingerie Costume for it release in Europe and Australia

  • Typo in the headline.

    Should say

    ‘Weeaboo Shut-ins Say Fatal Frame’s New Costumes Are Censorship’

    • In the interests of transparency, I should clarify that I work for a body pillow manufacturer and the above post is a honeytrap so we can collect a database of prospective nerdy loser clients by capturing all the downvotes.

      (this post is too)

      • I am interested in your smutty wares… might you have a website I can peruse on potential products I can purchase? 8D

  • The extra costumes ARE dumb, more thought could have gone into it, like photographer specific DLC, or instead they could have made the ghosts half naked corpses shining style instead of the main characters – that could have served a narrative purpose.

    if people wanted scantily clad women, they could just as easily re-play dead or alive beach volleyball or MGSV, why do boobs have to come into play in a horror game, a genre which attracts more women than men?

    Did I just cherrypick data to support my claim?
    sure did!

  • Truthfully… I’m somewhat disappointed in some of the reply’s here…

    Yes it’s pointless fanservice. Yes it’s probably not your thing. But a year or so back we were all up in arms over a goddamned “Dildo Launcher” being taken away from a game because someone higher up decided “it’s not appropriate material” especially for children… on an adult game.

    The thing here is guys you may not care about the content and laugh it off as some desperate fanboi whining about his fanservice being taken away… and to extent yes it is that. But at the same time is it *really* any different from the SRIV argument? At the end of the day some higher up has decided that content for what is technically for an adult targeted product to be “inappropriate” and dropped/replaced it. It doesn’t affect the game in any way and in fact you can pretty much still enjoy the game no problems as is. But that’s still content cut that other consumers/fans do actually care about.

    Just because it’s not your cup of tea or it’s not some government directive doesn’t make it any less censorship than dropping the “dildo launcher”. It still counts to some people and to laugh at them (at best) or say their being salty (at worst) is a disservice to us here the next time someone pulls the “inappropriate content” card on something you would actually care about.

  • Censorship, in principle is bad, but principle, like basic instinct is not something to be acted on disregarding all consideration. We are intelligent beings and can recognise shades of grey. Case in point, what are people defending here against alleged “censorship”? Is it an art form being witlessly stripped of controversial elements that are vital to the narrative and that were introduced in order to provoke thought? Or is it simply fanservice, a cynically added element that is unnecessarily if not entirely tangential to a complete narrative? A transparent marketing ploy to cater to the lowest denominator, something that /culturally/ is almost necessary to increment profit margins of physical media in Japan?

    Before you talk about “artistic intent” and the such, know that tacked-on, shameless fanservice in Japanese entertainment is rarely an authorial inclusion, but something suggested, if not outright demanded by the bean counters within the vast media producing and/or distributing corporations.

    • Of course it’s cynical marketing.

      But that’s how capitalism works and if it was a product you were interested in “artistic merit” isn’t something you would care about.

      You would care about the fact something you want isn’t there anymore. Or at the very least “sanitised” for other people’s sensibilities.

      • And why shouldn’t it be the case when culturally exporting media? The fact that /your/ sensibilities align better with the sensibilities of a foreign culture than your own’s places the burden of coping on you not on the people of your native culture.

        If you came to live in my house, you could complain as much as you want that we don’t make the eggs the way they did them back at your house, but that’s never going to make us change the way we make them, just for your sake.

        • Ah but you missed a bit there… are *you* the actual customer this exported “meal/egg/breakfast” is targeted at? =P

          This is not so much me coming to your house trying out *your* meal. It’s me visiting someone else who would appreciate *my* “meal”… and then me changing the “meal” I prepare to what I assume their native meal would be.

          You end up w/ one party (me) taking extra effort to “sanitise” the meal… and the other party (the customer) thoroughly disappointed because they were expecting something else. (on a side note this talk of eggs has made me hungry!)

          That’s why it’s cynical capitalism. You’re targeting a specific audience w/ this kind of product. One for the most part who either don’t care or don’t get offended w/ the inclusion of the “extras”. And altering the way the “eggs” are made to cater for the non audience basically just alienates the original customer targets.

          And look you don’t have to like the way I prepared the “meal” i serve that’s the beauty of “optional content”. You don’t want the sugar? don’t put the sugar in when you eat it! 😀

          • Hah, well, you know what they say about overextending metaphors so I won’t keep going that way. However, since you seem to approve of the cynical capitalism that wrought the original fanservicey version not to alienate the considerable market that expects the feature, do consider that is the same cynical capitalism that now “sanitises” the content to make sure of not alienating the market that generally would condemn the feature.


            And yes very much aware of that end of the “cynical marketing” as well. But hey since I’m the customer I get to choose which half of that cynical capitalism I get to criticise! =P

  • Sigh… I don’t see this as censorship at all.

    The original Project Zero, released on the PS2 well over a decade ago, was truly a dark and horrifying game, personifying “psychological” horror, as opposed to “slasher” horror, in a video game context. There were no guns, no super soldiers or bio-weapons. It was just a non-athletic scared young woman with a supernatural camera to protect her.

    The plot itself went into some incredibly dark spaces. Human sacrifice, kidnapping, torture, murder, cult-like manipulation.. it was incredibly dark and bleak. Not one for 5 year olds. It’s not just jump scares and blood splattered on the walls, it was the stuff going on inside people’s heads, both alive and dead, which were the things that truly terrified.

    I did play this new game at the EB Games Expo 2015. It reminded me a lot of the first game. The powerlessness you felt was part of the enablement of the horror elements.

    Really, any alternate costumes is just a bit daft, if you ask me. You only unlock them after you have completed the game, sometimes having to beat the game multiple times at very hard difficulty levels. During that time you would have likely have seen all that dark stuff, and would just be concentrating on the mechanics or looking at how the plot as a whole comes together.

    I’d much rather have no alternate costumes, or at least not revealing ones, so that people don’t get distracted by those elements too much and look into the darkness that the game shines a light on more seriously.

    Edited for clarity.

  • whatever sales they lost from removing the costumes was a better gamble than losing sales over headlines and forum posts about the costumes
    Really? i would have thought controversy and lurid teens would see the game far more desirable with that content included.

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