Square Enix: “Only Macho Protagonists Work in the West”



Interviews with the developers of Square Enix’s new Nier franchise reveal a bizarre development saga in which arguments over whether western audiences could stomach a typical girly JRPG lead eventually lead to the company making two versions of the game.

Square Enix’s new “Nier” franchise launched with two games, Gestalt (PS3/360) and Replicant (PS3), each with radically differnet character designs for the hero; however only Gestalt was released in the west, as “Nier” – comparisons of the two attracted some attention.



The interview concerning this odd decision included publisher Square Enix’s Executive Producer Yosuke Saito, and developer Cavia’s Nier director Taro Yoko:

Saito: We were initially planning an Xbox 360 target, which we expanded to PS3 multiplatform afterwards. However, the production process turned out to be quite storied.

Yoko: At first we were just doing the youthful protagonist version (which became “Replicant”), but Square Enix started taking talking about international markets during development.

Yoko: In fact, an argument erupted at Square Enix’s Los Angeles studio, over whether a thin looking male character [hereafter translated as “girly”] was possible for the game. For the North American consumers, it was decided to provide a macho main.

Yoko: A heated discussion ensued once the American and European staff were gathered to discuss it. It was said that “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.” Certainly, if you look at American games it’s always muscle bound mains who look like they play American football.

Saito: We thought that as it’s a new IP, it really must sell, and we were persuaded [by the Japanese staff’s desire to make a girly lead] – we opted to leave the Japanese version with the girly character, and instead make two different versions.

Saito: We did realize that not all international audiences are the same though – it was thought that Replicant [the girly version] might be suitable for the French, as they have a greater appreciation of Japanese culture.

Yoko: That meeting was pretty amazing. A lot of people were arguing for making only the macho old guy version for cost reasons, and we [the Japanese developers] were saying “But if we don’t make a girly version we’ll lose heart and it’ll take even longer.”

Saito: As a result, the Japanese PS3 version only became the girly version, and both PS3 and Xbox 360 international version were the macho old guy versions.

Curiously, the obvious choice of eschewing the entire “Epic vs Enix” problem by just making universally sexy Kainé the protagonist seems not to have occurred to them, although considering the approach they took to depicting her in the US comics this is perhaps for the best.

The obsession Japanese RPG publishers have with supplying western audiences with its crude interpretation of the muscle bound heroes they see as key to the success of American games seems almost pathological – Square Enix actually made two games rather than have to risk releasing an insufficiently masculine lead to supposedly testosterone loving American audiences.

Unfortunately for both supporters and detractors of macho protagonists, the Nier games have received mediocre reviews and would likely have sunk without trace were it not for the cunning inclusion of futanari Kainé – finally proving whether western audiences (apparently shorthand for “American audiences” amongst RPG publishers) really can’t stomach girly androgynous protagonists will have to wait.

Leave a Comment


  • Anonymous says:

    I dislike girly male characters but it should be refined also not just this dumbass beef cake

    I’m a fairly big guy even by European standards and I dont go around going urgh argh me smash, being tall and muscular does not make you stupid and likewise I have more slender friends that aren’t girly at all one is gay but more manly then a team of Rugby players

    It’s just like not all japanese guys are these homogeneous in between man and woman guys

  • Anonymous says:

    The Japanese demonstrate about as much tact when dealing with western audiences in general as they do when depicting black people in their videogames.

    Every black person is apparently a jive-talker with an afro according to the Japanese, and every American is apparently a sexually-insecure, testosterone-filled barbarian who couldn’t possibly relate to a male lead who isn’t built like a gorilla.



  • I think they should have just released both Replicant and Gestalt in America, but I guess now it doesn’t matter much now as the DLC makes it possible to play as the Young character. Not all of us Americans like the big macho man >.< I hate it actually.

    (They ruined Chris Redfield doing the overly macho shit DX In the original games he was a slender guy but in all the new Resident Evil games he's turned into a hulking monster of a guy)

  • Anonymous says:

    About the Gears of War statements, ironically Anthony Carmine is the most popular character model in multiplayer. It might just be the helmet, but he’s definitely the least manly.

  • Unicogirl says:

    Disregarding the fact that the original character looks just like the typical copy/paste designs that SE does. My issue is why do game companies believe that they speak for a nation of people?

    I call BS on their view. And wish they would knock of it off.

    They remind me of UbiSoft… they are so damn concerned of what Americans think that they go out of their way to avoid doing what they do best. Don’t they understand that American Gamers like their games?! Are there just too many stupid employees and SE and Ubi who just don’t get it?

    If they are “attempting” to appeal to Americans, then here’s an idea… get an American game designer to do the American version.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the more worrying thing is why the Japanese game developers believe that western audience are so fixated on body image.

    Speaking for myself only, I find that where the game has RPG elements (like Nier), the personality and development of the protagonist always mean more than his/her physical appearance, because they have more tangible effects on the actual gameplay experience.

    Makes you wonder why they don’t just include both protagonists in the game for people to choose for themselves. Oh wait, Square Enix and player choices (looks at Final Fantasy XIII)…ah, I get it.

  • I say why not someone in between like Solid Snake or Gordon Freeman.
    Not a girly man but not a Conan the barbarian wannabe either.

    The macho one looks like a Bleach reject.

    Though it I’ll admit it would be kinda awesome to have a main character that’s kinda like Kenpachi Zaraki.

  • moebius22 says:

    Frankly I’m tired of effeminate boys as lead characters in JRPGs. It wasn’t always that way, but when 3D came around we started seeing these cherub faced, long haired, effeminate, waif-like Loli boys that are frankly disgusting to look at.

    Unfortunately, Japanese developers have mistaken this dislike for Loli boys, for a general dislike of anything that is not andro-looking. So now we have Street Fighter 4 with men and women that have muscles like they came out of a cheap American comic book.

  • Anonymous says:

    of course: they produce only bullshit games for years now and now blame it all on the characters appearing in their games…

    Damnit, square enix! Focus on the gameplay and story of your games rather than camera ankles where you can see the protagonists’ underwear and hourlong cutscenes (seriously, do a movie instead if you can’t think of a way to fit the scenes into a GAME properly)
    AND MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t tell us you couldn’t add towns because your graphics are soooooo superior!

  • Well, it doesn’t work in this part of the West… I went from sorta interested in a SE property that’s not Final Fantasy to not interested at all in playing as musclebound Gary Busey in mascara.

    I guess after seeing FFXIII though, the technical hurdle was far too great to just include both models and let you choose at the start. They should have either done that, or shut up and never mentioned that there were two versions at one point.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s funny how these developers changed a game so drastically because they think every American gamer wants a “macho” hero, and then say the reason for pigeonholing an entire nation’s interests is because ALL US MACHO AMERICANS don’t appreciate the subtleties of the lovely and nuanced Japanese culture.

    Fucking stupid hypocrites… Japanese interpretations of American society that need to die:

    – We’re all whitebread Christians who can’t handle sexually suggestive themes
    – We all love MACHO MEN and hate “skinny little girly men”
    – We all have guns
    – Baseball is our national pastime

  • Anonymous says:

    Can’t there be a middle ground?

    I couldn’t stand Gears of War and it’s “ARGH SO MACHO” attitude. The only way to deal with emotional trauma in that game was to scream and punch things.

    But at the same time, I don’t really care for the opposite of running around with a protagonist that wears very little clothing and for all intents and purposes is a woman. Just with a dong. And a super oversized sword trying to compensate for their lack of any masculinity.

    Why can’t male characters just be somewhat regular looking guys? You know, just a somewhat well built athletic dude?

    And for that matter, why does every woman in games have to have breasts the size of a buick?

  • Caligastia says:

    Preposterous, I’d like to know who makes these assumptions and what they are based in. I’ll be damned if there were people that bought this that would otherwise not have had it been Replicant.

    They seem to ignore that western preference for certain games does not lie on character design but genre, they might be putting off their fanbase with these localizations, I know they do for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Uggh it figures, anyone see games like gears of war, halo, grand theft auto, they’re always these goddamn ape headed assholes only someone badly insecure about their sexuality would think appealing to play. I find them boring as hell, but the people who play most of those games are too retarded to want to change it anyway so..

    • Anonymous says:

      you know, usually this “only someone badly insecure about their sexuality” argument is often called by genuine faggots, always projecting their own faults to the rest of the (normal) populace.

  • Anonymous says:

    SE should learn from kojima production how to make macho character that appeal to western audience. Solid Snake got it all, he’s macho, cool, and badass character. a perfect combination sylvester stalone + kurt Russel

  • Anonymous says:

    I will most certainly choose a woman protagonist.
    If forced, I will choose a bishonen young male protagonist over gorram angsty teenagers or plucky tweens.


  • Anonymous says:

    One of the most popular protagonists in western games is just an average dude – Gordon Freeman. It goes to show that you can still step outside the norm and have success, which is something that Square should take note of, having now made countless jrpg’s following the exact same formula. Nobody cares about Nier because the current stock jrpg which is girlyboy-wields-oversized-sword just doesn’t cut it anymore.

  • Anonymous says:

    Personally, if I’m going to be playing a male character, I want to actually believe I’m doing that. For me, a thin, girly looking yet male character doesn’t work at that point. It doesn’t have to go as far as GEoW roidosaurs to be manly either. I mean, look at characters that manage to look both masculine and attractive, Solid Snake or Guts, Brandon Heat/Beyond the Grave, Alucard, Kenshiro…(though sometimes Kenshiro does cross over to the roidosaurus side, but he’s still awesome). Why can’t we have characters like that anymore?
    Times have changed…More and more it’s either massive muscle monster or trap.

  • Anonymous says:

    Since when is “macho” defined as “ugly”? Apparently Square developers are equally as stupid as their president. Instead of trying to make girly men why not shoot for “handsome”? With the exception of Dante what else they got?

    Oh? Handsome men are generally not favored in Japan? That makes sense, I saw a picture of Gackt and thought he was a fucking woman. How about Square make a good game first before speaking about my culture.

  • Anonymous says:

    “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.”

    zzzz so much for a logical point of view in a non logical world of game

    they will make feminine > macho

    eg, spiderman 3, protagonist not suppose to be muscular lol

    except terminator 3, antagonist pack a punch with such small body

  • They are absolutely right of course. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’d seen people complain about beautiful male characters in Japanese games, I could retire right now.

    Americans CAN’T stomach beautiful male character design.

    I’m just frustrated they thought it wold sell so poorly that they refused to give us both games. I was really interested in the story.

  • you would think that square, a company which made it’s money off of girly gay main characters would have figured it out by now.

    from what i see, the main party at fault i see here is the American division of square. they wanted to expand their target demographic to those who play madden and shit.

    but the problem with this is that those players don’t care about square, final fantasy and especially jrpgs in the first place and would much rather play some other random fps or new call of duty.

    i know someone is probably going to get fired.

  • Anonymous says:

    If they were going to do this, can someone tell me what was so wrong with just adding a PLAYER SELECT FEATURE? Just put them both in and let the player choose their preference at the start of the game.

  • Anonymous says:


    so they’re sayint that their game is so inconsistent and lacking of plot and character background that they can switch their main character with pretty much anythibody else?

  • Elle Lowel says:

    When I read this I had a delightful laugh cause it’s true. The ‘western’ mindset is so biased like that, and I’ll be honest, can’t we have a happy medium? I mean the macho looking one isn’t as handsome as the girly looking one. Just bulk him up to a decent size and you’ll have buyers from both the male and females of our western culture.

  • Anonymous says:

    “.. Replicant [the girly version] might be suitable for the French..”

    Yes, a girly man would be most suitable for the French. Add a white flag to the French version too. They’ll need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      German’s army was 90% destroyed by Russia’s army when US came to bring “freedom” to the French. In fact you were totally useless and we did not need US help at all :]

      Us army just came to steal atomic bomb from the german, and use it on Japan. Useless violence, as usual…

      • Anonymous says:

        @ Anon 21:49:

        No, it was not “useless violence”. It achieved the following:

        * Transfer of huge amounts of money from taxpayers into the coffers of corporations who built stuff for the war, which was then consumed or destroyed;

        * Increased centralization of power to the government (“It’s for/because of the war. Don’t question it, you un-patriotic asshole!”); and

        * Lots of people killed on both sides (unimportant to people with the big money).

        These “results” hold true for ALL the countries involved in the war.

        “WAAAAR – Huh!
        What is it good for?”

        (Correct answer: “Makin’ lots o’ money!”)

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm…USA Joied in in 1939… and it finished 1945… if, according to you, the German army only had their 10% by then, then it must have been the most incredible 10% of the whole fucking 3th Reich to draw out the war by 6 more years all on their own…
        Either that, or you suck at history son.
        Read books, they don’t bite.

        • Anonymous says:

          The USA didn’t undertake any (big) actions against Germany until D-Day, the Allied attempt to breach the so-called Atlantikwall. By then Germany was indeed, after a series of crushing defeats at Stalingrad, Kursk,… considerably weakened by the Russians; Anon 21:49 was probably talking about that.
          You learn your history, son.

  • Red Priest Rezo says:

    At least hero of Gestalt is somewhat original, being an adult and a single father and shit. Hero of Replicant, on the other hand, is an uninspired prettyboy like in every jRPG ever made. Only shittier.

  • Anonymous says:

    If they would produce real rpgs, you could create your own charakter or at least chose between different male and female chars…

    Beide Protagonisten sind von gar seltsamer Gestalt. ^^

    • Anonymous says:

      I love how foreigners love saying shit like that. You say it as if EVERY GODDAMNED AMERICAN LIKES THE SAME THING. Go fuck you spic, kike, frog and any other possible racist word I can’t think of at this time. (Hint your racism or just bias assumption through your own stupidity sparked that)

      Moving along. If the game didn’t generally suck I wouldn’t have cared if the main looked like if he saw a bug he would cry and tell a female to get rid of it (damn that’s just a whole other level of gay right there if that was true). I’m with the people who understand middle ground; I mean seriously you couldn’t just give him like a regular look.


      Body: average sized mostly the atheletic build just toned

      Face: between a young man early 20s or a man close or in their 30s (early 30s would work)

      That’s all. Give him a hairstyle and boom you got your less ugly and less boy-woman character.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do prefer slender protagonist even Im male
    who wants to be ugly macho while slender ones arnt any weaker?

    nw, One thing for SE, where the hell do u think th e success of advent children come from?

  • Anonymous says:

    They fail at the fact that people who make these games popular and enjoy them are generally people who enjoy anime and girly men carrying large weapons. Its not that I scorn games with bulky characters(Namcos new game has an awesome looking bulky dude) its just Nier is just bloody ugly. In risk of sounding vain I cannot play a male character that looks that terrible. Actually I usually play female characters in my games so yea…

  • Anonymous says:

    In these fantasy worlds, being a girly character simply should not work. You are travelling, you never know when to get something to eat or if you have to climb a fucking mountain where it is -30° C. You simply need a bad-ass mustle sandwich because nobody else would be physically suited to survive the epic quest. He is not meant to show the new haute couture but smahsing fucking skulls with his bare fists. Just imagine you are meant to save the world and have to build up a party…despite choosing the trap here, would you take a frail, possibly gay, possibly emo kid with you, or the goddamn batman ?

    Only exception are mages, not sorcerers or wizards.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ah, what was the URL of that “Every time you talk about real-world physics in a fantasy game/anime/manga, God kills a cat-girl / Please, think of the cat-girls” image…?

    The OBVIOUS (to me) solution would be for Square Enix to build BOTH hero models (bishi and macho) into the game, and let the PLAYER CHOOSE which one to use.

    Many First-Person Shooter games let the player choose from a variety of models and skins.

    Quake III had this feature, and it was released back in 1999.

    Squeenix, you’re ten years behind the times!

  • Anonymous says:

    I found it amusing that the developers would “lose heart” and “development would slow down” if they didn’t get to have an emo looking protagonist. I also find it amusing that nobody in the development of this game pointed out that the target audience for this sort of game would most likely not care if the protagonist wasn’t super buff (which somehow translates to ugly). Your typical FPS consumer isn’t going to buy this game anyways.

  • Anonymous says:

    Idk. I prefer the slimmer one. Kind of makes the fighter have some grace, and look intelligent, pragmatist. He’s got a Sephiroth (Yes I said it) air to him
    The other one just looks..HURR DURR I HAS SWORD SMASH SLASH! idk. If they bothered to make 2 versions they might as well release them both to the West as well. Let people pick.

  • I like it how some of the western “pro gamers” here call the Japanese version of Nier a faggot.

    Now lets do a little test. First, let’s assume you aren’t an immobile beached whale which describes most of the USA population. Secondly, let’s ignore any wild haircuts on Japanese version of Nier. Third, go walk over to a mirror and look at yourself real good in that mirror.

    Grats, since you look more like Japanese Nier than the musclebound and high on steroids “western” Nier freak, you automatically confirmed that you too are indeed a flaming homosexual. Now go get some glittery starshaped glasses and start dancing to YMCA.

    • Sorry, I mean no offense but are you talking about you self ??? And don’t worry about me since I’m not western and my head are shaved (the weather is way too hot to keep hair long).

  • Anonymous says:

    I honestly don’t know where they are getting this “ONLY MACHO CHARACTERS WORK IN THE WEST!” stuff from. Personally, I have played many games without macho characters that were from Japan and liked them.

  • Anonymous says:

    “t “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.””

    Oh for FUCKS sake!!

    Nier is a game where fucking DEMONS and SHADES and a TALKING BOOK fucking exists!!

    You’re going to nitpick over the idea that a young looking protagonist holding a sword a slender person will rarely ever be able to pick up while totally accepting the fact that the game includes FUCKING FANTASY MONSTERS AND MAGIC!?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, considering the number of multiverses….. there could be magic out there and ‘monsters’ like are in these games.

      Actually, there could be magic in this universe and it’s just that humanity has forgotten how to use it after they became brainwashed by the religious cults in the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        I find it hilarious how you mention multiverses as if they’re science fact and not theory, and then the next poster (maybe you) goes on to mention unlimited multiverses which scientifically has to be impossible due to energy limits… then you top it off by speculating on the existence of magic before dissing religion for not being scientific.

        People like you are the reason I’ve lost faith in humanity’s intelligence.

  • Anonymous says:

    thats why square enix is actually worse than ever, they ned to work a lot in the personality, sephiroth is a bit androginous but he did well as a villain and thats why square enix will never make an epic and a good selling title like FFVII all they want is to sell the world jpopysh characters with cool graphics with a pity plot

    nuff said

  • Anonymous says:

    SquareEnix can solve their dilemma on East VS West easily.

    Just sell the game on how you planned it to be from the beginning. No ones going to hate an awesome game just because there is a “girly guy” there. I personally feel that SquareEnix is being rather close minded, insecure and racist for solidifying this Macho VS Girly argument.

    The only people who complained about character designs are self-publicizing bloggers and western game elitists. They managed to get their western RPG VS eastern RPG biases into the minds of SquareEnix’s developers.

    However, even if they did remove their biases, Nier is still a shitty game in the end.

  • Anonymous says:

    Saito: We did realize that not all international audiences are the same though – it was thought that Replicant [the girly version] might be suitable for the French, as they have a greater appreciation of Japanese culture.

    I LOL”D


  • Anonymous says:

    I hold that a main character doesn’t need to be macho but reasonable.

    If they want to go with a realistic look then a girly protagonist swinging a huge sword won’t work. Suspension of disbelief doesn’t work (at least for me) in realistic games. In a game like No More Heroes, however, I’m willing to believe that Travis can move at lightning speed and deflect a hail of bullets or survive multiple explosions because it’s not realistic. But if it is realistic then they have to give a reason why the main protagonist can wield such a gigantic sword other than something like extensive training.

  • Bronxdragon says:

    Theres macho and then there is “O GOD JESUS YOU ARE A UGLY BASTARD!” I would have prefered the little bitch looking guy at least it wouldn’t hurt my eyes everytime I look at the freaken screen.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only real good example I can think of this “middle ground” made in Japan would be Zoro from OP.

      Those who have seen the anime “One Piece” should know what I’m talking about.

      And to be technical allot of these “football players mains” look more like pro wrestlers on steroids.

      A better example would be fighters of the UFC
      (excluding the more heavier weights)

      My AKA “middle ground”.

  • Anonymous says:

    ………………..i hope they sell the east version on the philippines……….(if it’s any good) I DIDN’T BUY FFXIII because they said it was a load of crap(as a game not as a live story)

  • Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of BS. I never noticed this whole macho vs girly thing, nor do I care about it. If people are so petty that they won’t buy a game because the main character is either macho or girly they need to get a grip on life. If it’s a good character with an interesting story that is all that matters. I would like to see more female protagonists, a kick ass hot female protagonists will sell everywhere.

  • In the future people won’t say epis fail but square fail…
    Japanese and their commercial sense, lol 🙂

    “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.”
    – do they really think that the kids who play it are so intelligent to even notice that…

  • Anonymous says:

    SE didn’t develop this game it just published it. If they were really targeting 360 like they claim they would have released gestalt on 360 internationally and replicant on PS3 internationally. I mean look at the JRPG fanbase old ps2 users so they’d be cool with “girly” near since they’re used to that type of protagonist. The only thing that kept me from importing Replicant was the lack of english text. Oh and Nier’s VA in english isn’t that great its Jamieson K. Price and on this one he feels typecast for the role.

  • Anonymous says:

    That doesn’t look like a manly guy. He looks like a tired old man, Square Enix research more on what manly looks like in the west. Failed attempt of Square to make a clone of badass old Snake.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t they ever play Assassin’s Creed? Ezio from Creed II is more or less a bishonen, and he is pretty badass in his own right. Seriously, he who jumps from roof to roof, can duel multiple guards and able to assassinate someone from below, above, in front and behind him, while walking or running. That’s pretty awesome!

  • Anonymous says:

    Square-Enix has absolutely no idea what their fans want, period. The game is only worth playing so long as it is fun and the story is interesting. Beyond that so long as the characters aren’t ugly it will sell, because while gamers are shallow and often attracted to pretty things, they’re still not going to support ridiculous garbage.

  • Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t matter which main character they use. The game is doomed to poor reviews because of its poor gameplay and ugly art. Even if they put Kaine in there, the game still stinks.

    It amuses me when those poor Square-Enix fanboys start making up stuff about how Square-Enix purposely made a fugly main character.

    Square-Enix should just stick to making games that survive on hype, like Final Fantasies or Dragon Quests.

  • Anonymous says:

    if u read properly, its the americans in Square Enix Los Angelas that wants a macho male and not the japanese, the japanese wanted a female looking one but the americans wanted a more manly version
    whose fault now?

  • Anonymous says:

    tomb raider wouldn’t be as popular as it had if the another stereotypical hero jumping around like a monkey

    every male likes porn, fanservice, and tits ON women

    no exception unless your gay

    • As opposed to OFF OF women?

      Somehow I don’t think “Disembodied Tits On A Stick” would be as tough of a sell to the western market as you seem to think.

      In fact – were I a betting man – I’d put money on seeing the title released within the next year over at Adult Swim’s website.

  • I suddenly don't feel very American.

    That's nothing new though.
    And let me guess, I don't have much of a choice in this case, either.

    I'm sorry, but manly guys are only an occasional fetish of mine. And I'm tired of this sort of thing. I need my bishounen and my girl and boy moe. Stop punishing me Japan for not living in your country, you know you don't want me there.;_;

    And haters gonna hate anyway. Both things like Metal Gear and things like old Bishounen Final Fantasy are popular. It's that they lost the epic. Pay no attention to the American comic book industry, it's manly by tradition and not popularity.

    If you'll look at the popularity of Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and so forth. Heck, even Lord of the Rings got a boost from having a girly Legolas.

  • Anonymous says:

    FFVII sold massively in the West, and almost the entire cast was a bunch of effeminate pussies.

    Also, since when do the French have a greater appreciation for Japanese culture?

  • Anonymous says:

    first fail at ff13 and now this bs, clearly square enix has to much time on their hands, i mean common, as you can freaking see we have enough games with ugly mains such as fable 2 and dragon age, and other shitty western games. i think their losing touch with their main audience.

  • Anonymous says:

    Gotta say this is pretty accurate, unless you’re killing everything the western market dubs it emo as they hate any character development, I argued this with one guy on a vidya game forum and brought up how most people nowadays hate eva because shinji is whiny, he then started calling shinji a badass, then in the next sentence ruined all his credibility saying he even jacked off over reis comatose body.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not a gamer, but girly protagonist would appeal to me more – however I know reason is partly ’cause I’m female…
    Partly I never really liked the American ideal of comic/game characters being such muscle heroes…
    Sometimes it fits, but too much of it is just as harmful as over-feminized guys^^U

    However don’t really understand the fuss over this matter…If the game originates from Japan, a country which traditionally appreciates male beauty and to top is labeled as “J”RPG, then why changing anything because of the Western market…?!
    I know profit is the most important, but damn!!
    Show some pride there Square Enix!!

    News like this make Japan look like a pussy in front of the West…> > So sad…*sigh*

    • Anonymous says:

      Well yeah because they are pussies. Don’t get me wrong I love the Japanese for all the anime and manga and stuff that they make but the new generation are pretty much just pussies. I mean there wearing bra’s and skirts now. I don’t give a shit if you call there bro’s or what ever the hell it is. Its a goddamn bra.

      • Strawberry Suicide says:

        Just how retarded your point can possibly be?!

        You dare to bash the country that provides you manga and anime – which you claim to like?

        You should be goodamn grateful that those ‘pussies’ are so fucking generous to grab a pen & paper and draw us those wonderful worlds of several genre!!

        Japan never forced you to like or even watch men wearing lingerie, you’ve chosen by yourself to visit that certain article and even though building an opinion is okay, bashing something you don’t understand just because you find it gross is immature and highly uneducated…

        Learn to make a point first, kid…> >

        (Btw, Anon@12:14 been me, just forgot I wasn’t logged in XD )

  • why were they looking for the differences in cultur. couldnt they have made sth like solid snkae?
    You dont need a bishounen or a macho character, just make him cool and give him some background.

  • sanjiyanWU says:

    Seems like too much assumed perspective involved that shouldn’t exist.
    To un-necessarily expand on the thought: Maybe if they’d release both versions on both platforms in both locations (east/west) they’d grab more of the audience they’d miss by only reaching out to “one or the other” in either location.

  • HentaiKamen says:

    “it was thought that Replicant [the girly version] might be suitable for the French”


    Riiight, because they have an appreciation for Japanese culture, and nothing to do with the fact that they are pussies… Maybe the protagonist should’ve wielded a white flag in the French version.

    • Azure Xuchilbara says:

      “Saving the world…So easy, a caveman can do it..!”

      In all seriousness, I cannot blame Square-Enix for this since American TV has portrayed main characters in shows, cartoons and even western games as macho and meaty…

      That said, I wouldn’t have mind if his face was covered by a paper bag since as much as I respect him as a father dedicated to saving his daughter while playing the game, I cringed every time I see his face in cutscenes…

      But I am more interested in Square-Enix’s very own futanari, Kaine~

      I would very much love to see her f*ck Yonah…But Pixiv has yet to produce such pictures…And the closeset one I got to that pairing was the latter sucking on Kaine’s tits like a baby~

      Although I have seen some very hot futanari pictures of her and a couple of pics of Kaine x Teen Nier…

      It’s pretty damn hot seeing a sexy futanari f*ck girly main characters~

  • Anonymous says:

    after having played a dozen hours of the American version, im completely satisfied.. the macho Nier guy has an amazing voice actor and a great personality.
    you quickly start loving him, so i have no regrets getting the American version

  • And this is the kind of problems that cause the best most awesome japanese games to never get translated, cus they think we dont like anything unless it haz a baths of blood and steroids all over.

  • “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.”


    • i admittedly didn’t read the entire article. but as far as the title goes. i really do prefer macho heros. as opposed to little whiners like capel? from infinite undiscovery and tidus in ffx. but as far as the looks, i could care less. slender and tenacious is just as good as giant and rugged. yuri from vesperia didn’t look as macho as regal(symphonia) or will (legendia), but the character development makes me like yuri more cause he is a super badass once he starts doing his midnight rendezvous.

    • Anonymous says:

      “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.”

      In other way,seeing that it took so long (story wise) for the big muscular guy to wield a little SPEAR is ridiculous…

      And in my opinion,the move in game for the 2 handed sword are realist enough to make it look heavy and hard to swing.
      It doesn’t really look like he’s having much ease with it.

      either way,this is BS.

      The truth behind this macho vs girly version is:

      Japanese wants to be called “onii-chan” when westerner are more affected by the father/daughter relationships.


    • Anonymous says:

      … It’s a JRPG, is anything in an alternate universe with magic and monsters supposed to be logical? I think everybody needs to be given a nice big dose of “willing Suspension of disbelief”

      • Anonymous says:

        Damnit Anon.
        West is not a race.
        SE would be nationalist in this case, or something like that.

        Anyway, if this is their attempt at “macho”, they missed the mark by a long shot. Sure, other games have macho, but they also have some part of them that could still be handsome. This guy is just straight up freaky ugly. And they STILL gave him crappy anime hair. If you want it macho, give it no hair or a ton of hair(including facial hair), don’t try to go for the middle ground until you know what you’re doing.

    • It doesn’t matter how big the weapon is, if you swing it around for a living, you’re going to get definition in your muscle. The Japanese obsession with heroes with physiques of 15-year-olds will always amaze me.
      That said, it doesn’t really bother me enough to effect my opinion of a game, and I’m sure that is not a rare sentiment. Their game may have done a lot better if they focused on making one excellent game instead of two version of an “okay” one.

      • Look at Japanese games and hero’s like 10-15 years ago. Muscular than hell.
        What’s happened is that Japanese characters have gotten thinner and moodier.
        Western heroes haven’t really gotten any more muscular (they always were), and really haven’t gotten more badass.
        However, given to epic games like Mass Effect, Western characters seem more human, compared to their neanderthal kill everything brethen 10-15 years ago.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is a game. Characters in games often shoot fire from their hands, can fight armies and get instantly healed by eating something or just standing still.

        Why does it matter if their muscles are big or not?

    • SanCom Citizen says:

      So Square Enix is basically saying, that a game with a female-protagonist cannot be commercially successful, because all of us have a “man-crush” on masculine, bishonen guys, sure……………..If that’s the case, why was Bayonetta rated favorably in the states. We all know Square Enix is just making excuses because they suck at making games. Heck, they can try add a cameo appearance of Kratos in one of their games, and it’ll STILL SUCK! Why?? Its not because of Kratos, or because we “supposedly” don’t like girls(at least in their eyes), but because Square Enix can’t their act straight; they are not appealing to what gamers truly seek.!

      @Dash–Dash is right, if this is the prevailing feeling from some of these Japanese companies, its no wonder we are missing out on some very awesome titles from Japan. America, Europe, and the West are just about shooters you know.

    • Ghost Dog says:

      I sort of agree with that analysis of the sword wielding. In a JRPG, you can explain it away with magic or something, but Americans have been brought up to be fans of muscular super heroes who sometimes wield weapons like that.(more long-swords than katana)Also, some of the best selling non realistic games in the U.S. have featured overly muscular heroes.(Kratos, Master Chief, Gears of War guys, etc)

      • My brother and I had an argument about this some time ago. I was basicly saying I was sick of all the insert muscular war heroes in modern U.S. games. He was saying he’s sick of whiny teens, and that he preferred all the game have the war heroes.

        It really bit him in the ass this time, cause he grew to like the character design of Neir before they changed it.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you understood Halo, you’d know he’s a biologically enhanced human, not a cyborg. And no he’s not football-player WIDE, but he is 8 feet tall and has muscles that are literally of iron density enough to flip cars over with no problem.

          As for this whole stupid situation, I don’t get why they could just get more sales by giving both versions to every market. There have been different versions of the same game before (looks at pokemon games through and through <_<).

      • Azure Xuchilbara says:

        Check pixiv…They have a couple of Kaine x Teen Nier futanari and a handful of futanari picture of Kaine…

        There’s even one picture of Nier’s daughter/sister Yonah sucking on Kaine’s tits~

        Make sure you put these tags while searching:



        • Anonymous says:

          Square Enix does not know how to make badass looking muscular characters. He looks more like a mutant, rather than a human being.

          On a side note, their assumption that traditional skinny protagonists do not work over here is just wrong. Final Fantasy didn’t have any problems selling here with all their anorexic character designs, so their point is invalid. If a game is good then it shouldn’t matter whether the protagonist is skinny or muscular, as long as it fits the game setting.

        • Artefalse says:

          Both seem fine to me. I would define the tank version as “Badass” and the slim version as “Awesome”. now… in a game like Gears of War in which every aspect is tanky and huge are you gunna have a dude who’s awesome or a dude who’s badass? awesome may still work but it seems out of place. however in a stealth type game you’d want a more awesome dude… awesome isnt kicking in the door with guns blazing cause that’s badass.

          well thats my oppinion on the matter anyway.

        • Anonymous says:

          And Gears of War doesn’t sell because everybody there is macho, it’s because people dig charging at each other with their shotguns, sneakily chainsaw someone from the back and hiding behind cover when a swarm of dakka flies over their heads!