10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Different Countries

10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Different Countries

Sometimes it’s censorship. Sometimes it’s unfortunate implications. And sometimes it’s straight-up unexplainable. But whatever the justification may be, games get renamed all the time when they’re released across different regions.

This piece originally appeared 4/6/15.

Let’s look at 10 particular cases of video game name changes:


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Edited Title: Retitled to Canis Canem Edit in the United Kingdom.

The Reason? Bully, a game about high school life that was presumed prior to release to be all about, well, bullying, attracted a lot of controversy in both the US and Europe. In the UK, specifically, where Rockstar changed Bully’s title to Canis Canem Edit, anti-bullying organisations campaigned against the game’s release, and even the country’s rating board came under fire for giving it a 15 rating.

Strangely, the game’s updated version for the 360 and the Wii, Bully: Scholarship Edition, was allowed to keep the “Bully” title when it came out two years later. It still caused controversy though.


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Picture: Movie-censorship.com

Edited Title: Gryzor, then Probotector in Europe and Oceania.

The Reason? Contra — specifically, the first arcade game — came to PAL regions as Gryzor, and nobody knows the exact reason why. One theory posits that it was to avoid referencing the Iran-Contra affair, a political scandal from the late eighties.

The later games were renamed for a wholly different reason: to get around German censorship laws, the game’s human cast and some of its alien enemies had been redrawn to look like robots. The new title “Probotector”, meaning “Robot Protector”, reflected that. The first uncensored PAL Contra game to come out was Legacy of War in 1996, which released with the “Contra” title intact.


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Edited Title: Known as Eledees in Europe and Oceania.

The Reason? Elebits was a series of games from Konami that featured the titular, electricity-based creatures. The publisher never gave an official reason for the rename, but some speculated it was for a pun (LEDs, Eledees, geddit?), while others thought it was to avoid lewd jokes about bits.

Metal Gear: Ghost Babel

10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Picture: Metal Gear Wiki

Edited Title: Named Metal Gear Solid outside of Japan.

The Reason? Ghost Babel was originally commissioned by Konami as a port of Metal Gear Solid to the Game Boy Colour. However, it ended up a completely different game — a non-canon followup to Kojima’s first Metal Gear on the MSX2, its story taking place seven years after that game’s events — but the Metal Gear Solid name was kept anyway, for, according to Metal Gear fan site Snake Soup, “marketing purposes”.

Mortal Kombat: Deception

10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Edited Title: Known as Mortal Kombat: Mystification in France.

The Reason? In Summer 2004, there were rumours that the latest Mortal Kombat game, subtitled Deception, would get a name change in France. Initially, then-publisher Midway Games denied these rumours, but they eventually confirmed that the game would be renamed to Mortal Kombat: Mystification.

So why the change? Midway cited “translation issues”, and Google Translate reveals that in French, “déception” translates to “disappointment”, “frustration” and “letdown”. So, yeah, understandable.


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Picture: Wikipedia

Edited Title: Originally named Puck Man.

The Reason? Toru Iwatani, the developer of Pac-Man, originally named his game Pakkuman (パックマン) based on the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of a mouth opening and closing, paku-paku. This was romanised to Puck Man, a name which did end up on the very first arcade machines, including the ones used at the game’s first location test in May 1980.

Later, when the game’s publisher Namco was laying down the plans to bring Puck Man west, Midway, the American distributor, noted that the machines could easily be vandalised to say Fuck instead of Puck. Namco decided to change the name to Pac-Man — which is still a correct romanization of Pakkuman — putting that on later machines.

Ratchet & Clank

10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Edited Title: Nearly every Ratchet & Clank sequel got a different name in Europe and Oceania.

The Reason? In some cases, it’s clear — Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal got renamed to Ratchet & Clank 2: Locked and Loaded and Ratchet & Clank 3, respectively, to get rid of the innuendo in the names. But at the same time, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, arguably the most innuendo-y of the bunch, did not get a different name in Europe, while Full Frontal Assault did: Ratchet & Clank: QForce.

And then there are the seemingly totally random changes: Ratchet: Deadlocked got changed to Ratchet: Gladiator, and the Ratchet & Clank Future series had the “Future” subtitle removed from all three games in PAL regions… for some reason.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Picture: Rockethideout.com

Edited Title: Early games renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in several European countries.

The Reason? Censorship. In some parts of Europe, ninja were considered a taboo subject, and so in a couple places, the TMNT franchise was renamed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. The video games weren’t edited beyond their titles, but the TV show was hit harder — for example, in the UK, Michelangelo’s nunchaku were edited out completely and replaced with a grappling hook beyond season three.

Another high-profile “victim” of the ninja controversy was Ninja Gaiden, which had its first few games renamed to Shadow Warriors in parts of Europe.


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Picture: GameFAQs

Edited Title: First two games known as Need for Speed: V-Rally and Need for Speed: V-Rally 2 in North America.

The Reason? V-Rally was a three-part rally racing game series for the PlayStation, developed by Eden Studios from France. In North America, it was published by Electronic Arts, who decided to market V-Rally and V-Rally 2 as Need for Speed games, even though they had nothing to do with that series.

Coincidentally, EA also published a game that ended up losing the “Need For Speed” label: Motor City Online was meant to be a full-fledged Need for Speed title until the singleplayer portion was dropped at some point during its development.


10 Video Games That Got Weird Name Changes In Other Countries

Picture: GameFAQs

Edited Title: UFO: Enemy Unknown became X-COM: UFO Defence in North America.

The Reason? Unknown (heh). Not only was UFO renamed X-COM when it was brought over to North America from Europe, but “UFO” was promptly dropped globally in favour of “X-COM” for each subsequent game in the series, making the very first title of the very first game a bit of a red-headed stepchild.

At least the “Enemy Unknown” bit was vindicated with the release of the remake, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 18 years later, in 2012.

That’s 10 cases of weirdly renamed games. Have you heard of any others? Share in the comments below if you have.

Picture: Wikipedia


  • Resident Evil / Biohazard should be on this list. I actually prefer the Biohazard name, makes more sense then Resident Evil

    • Reason for name change: An American band named Biohazard already had the name copyrighted for entertainment use.

      • ahh thanks for enlightening me. Biohazard is a cool band name, I’m guessin heavy metal?

    • Biohazard makes sense in a cold clinical logical way. It’s too literal. But Resident Evil as a title is more poetic and interesting in my opinion. It’s one of the few GOOD name changes for a western release.

      Biohazard is like if Dark Souls was called Castle Monsters.

      • “Resident Evil” sounded to me like a transparent rip-off of “The Evil Within” all the way up until when it became a much bigger franchise than the latter.

  • With a little creativity, you can still change “Pac-Man” to “Fuck Man”..

    • From memory it was the heinous cornering of the word “Star” by the respective rights holders of Star Wars and Star Trek.

    • Oh wow, I’d always thought that it was because of the Atari/Spectrum game too. Good to know!

      Edit: Wait… that story kind of makes less sense. In German, isn’t it W becomes a V sound and V becomes an F sound, but don’t they just use F as an F sound? Not that I ever learnt any German at all, the pronunciation stuff just came up in some kind of discussion once.

      • Lylas Wars was the dumbest case because the first game had been called StarWing IIRC

  • Why the hell were ninjas “taboo” in Europe?

    I even Googled it but didn’t find a decent explanation. I mean even editing out the nunchuk’s makes no sense…. surely Rafael’s 3 pronged things (si?) and Leonardo’s sword are both more dangerous and possibly even more readily attainable weapons?

  • a weird case to do with Ratchet and Clank.
    in Australia We did get 2 changed to locked and loaded
    but in 3’s case it was called
    US: Ratchet and Clank: Up your Arsenal
    EU:Ratchet and Clank 3
    AU:Ratchet and Clank 3: Up your Arsenal
    so it actually got both titles put together.
    Other than that it seems we’ve followed Europe’s titles.

    • yep it really depends on the publisher, europeans treat us as americans and americans treat us as europeans when it comes to games

  • Much of this is not censorship.

    Taboo is wearing your hat inside a pub. Not changing a video game name.

  • I used to play probotector all the time on the NES. I’d heard about contra and one day downloaded a ROM to see what all the hype was about only to find out that it was just a re-skinned probotector (I quickly learned that it was the other way around, but it was a bit of a surprise at first)

  • I dunno about everyone else, but I reckon I’ve played numerous versions of Mortal Kombat: Disappointment.

  • Came here for the Ratchet and Clank mention; was not disappointed. I dunno how true this is, but does anyone remember somebody saying A Crack in Time was gonna be called Clockblocked?

    Also, another one; Sly Cooper, being renamed to Sly Raccoon in Europe because Cooper is “an offensive term”. Huh.

    • I can assure you, Cooper isnt an offensive term. That was just a joke made by Caddicarus.
      I mean christ, one of the most popular cars in europe is the Mini Cooper. Y’know, the car used in the Italian Job. And by Mr Bean.

      Still trying to figure out why the name was changed though…

  • Remember when V-Rally launched and was the pinnacle of realistic graphics. Man….good times back then, good times.

  • And then there’s “Continental Circus”, a Taito released arcade game based around F1 Racing, that was originally “Continental Circuit”, before having been incorrectly translated to the “Circus” name, that game was also released on the C-64 and Amiga back in the day with the inaccurately named arcade title still used.

  • I know you guys republish article’s a bit but is there any particular reason behind why, I have seen some that have become relevant again on context but this one doesn’t seem to have any reason for being republished other than its interesting.

    • It’s always seemed like they needed a cheap way to meet article quotas during slow periods.

      • Kind of what I thought, I don’t mind the off topic stuff like the Japan articles, highlight real and scribbletaku, that’s always better than republishing an article that doesn’t really have any current relevance.

  • “Well, Pac-man was originally called Puck-man. They changed it because… Not because Pac-man looks like a hockey puck. “Paku Paku” means “flap your mouth”, and they were worried that people would change, scratch out the P turn it into an F, like…”
    – Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

  • Two updates: V-Rally got a fourth instalment last year. And Motor City Online wasn’t the only “once-was-NFS” title: Beetle Adventure Racing (or HSV Adventure Racing in Oceania, due to a different licensing deal) has suggestions in the debug menu that it was once going to be an NFS title on the N64. The licensing deal alone means it would also qualify for this list.

  • Soul Blade/Soul Calibur was originally called Soul Edge.

    Namco changed the name in Western markets because some bloke claimed he owned the usage rights to the word ‘Edge’ in video games. (He once ran a publishing house in the ’80s called Edge Software.)

    He later tried the same trick on Mirror’s Edge and EA destroyed him in court.

    • Should be noted only the PlayStation version was renamed, the original arcade game retained the name Soul Edge.

  • If anyone wants to know more about name changes, I wrote a series of top 10 lists for GameFAQs a while back. Some of the above games are included but I go into a lot more detail, and of course there are many that are not included here.

    Part 1: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/top10/2928-the-top-10-video-game-title-changes-around-the-world-part-1
    Part 2: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/top10/2930-the-top-10-video-game-title-changes-around-the-world-part-2
    Part 3: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/top10/2931-the-top-10-video-game-title-changes-around-the-world-part-3

  • When I was in primary school a mate of mine told me that they were called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in America because America was invaded by ninjas and many were killed and people were still sensitive about it. Ah, the schoolyard playground was full of so much golden nuggets of knowledge.

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