Bad news for any Japanese fans wanting to grab The Callisto Protocol on release.
Striking Distance Studios, the developers behind The Callisto Protocol who have also worked on the Dead Space games in the past, have announced via their social media accounts for the game that they will not be releasing the title in Japan due to their inability to pass the country’s CERO rating system without making changes to the game’s content.
— The Callisto Protocol (@CallistoGameJP) October 26, 2022
“We have decided to discontinue the Japanese version of The Callisto Protocol,” the account stated on Wednesday.
“We have determined that the game cannot pass the CERO rating in its current state and that changing the content will not provide the experience that players expect. We would appreciate your understanding in Japan.”
The announcement also clarifies that any Japanese customers that have pre-ordered The Callisto Protocol prior to this announcement will be issued refunds.
Tokyo-based analyst Dr. Serkan Toto elaborated on Striking Distance Studios’ decision in a Twitter thread, explaining how game censorship has hiked up in Japan since CERO was established in 2002:
In the 1990s, Japan was a lot softer when it comes to video game censorship. CERO was founded in 2002 and has become stricter and stricter over the years. Games censored for nudity and violence in Japan include Last Of Us, Cyberpunk, Uncharted 1, Witcher 3, GTA V etc.
Needless to say, censorship also affects home-made games, i.e. Resident Evil – when compared to the Western release. It is also important to understand that sometimes, Japanese games get 2 releases, one cut and one “gory” version. The gory version typically sells better.
The problem is that the gory version, which usually carries CERO’s strictest “Z” rating for ages 18+, is ALSO censored when compared with the Western release. In other words, avoid the Japanese version of such games at all costs – they are always censored.
So games getting heavily censored Japanese versions has been happening for quite a while, but it’s not all too common for a game to outright cancel a release due to a rating rejection.
We here in Australia know situations like these all too well, so we were curious as to how our own government rating board responded to The Callisto Protocol. Thankfully, it looks like The Callisto Protocol has an R rating here in Australia.
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