International fans of panchira fighting anime Ikkitousen are voicing their anger at the decision of a game censorship body to effectively ban the latest game in the series, Ikkitousen: Shining Dragon, for the PS2.
Rather than tone down the content of the oppai fighting game in order to garner a more workable rating, the localisers instead opted to cancel the English language version.
The Entertainment Standards Ratings Board gave the latest Ikkitousen game a “mature” rating, a major blow for games hoping for widespread retail distribution, due to the nature of the game’s battle style which leaves characters nearly bereft of clothing.
They justified their decision thus:
All the female characters are dressed in short skirts or skirts with a high slit. The game features frequent depictions of panties, cleavage, and exaggerated breast jiggle. A special attack move allows some characters to rip opponents’ clothes to shreds – exposing even more of the female anatomy (legs, breasts, partial buttocks).
The mature rating would damage the game’s distribution, as stores are frequently reluctant to deal with such titles. The less damaging rating of “teen” would have prevented this. Generally, game publishers go to great lengths to manage the rating of their games to ensure ready access to shelf space.
Officials with Valcon Games, the company holding license rights to Ikkitousen games, said they could release a censored version of the game, but feel such a move would not remain true to the quasi-nudity characteristics for which the franchise is known, or as they put it:
“We could remove all the stuff that makes it an M-rated game, but then we don’t think the customers would be very happy buying an Ikki Tousen game without all the shredded clothing.”
The ESRB only speaks for North American releases, so it is possible the game may make its way to countries with less strict qualifications for appropriate fighting attire, although it seems unlikely anyone would bother.
The ESRB itself is known as something of a rigged organisation, as most of its raters “include retired school principals, parents, professionals, and other individuals from all walks of life,” but do not include actual gamers, akin to having movies rated by people who have never seen one and only see caps. Ratings are even based on game footage and not actual play…
Though it is unlikely anyone less than a diehard Ikkitousen fan would buy a censored game, it raises the question as to whether the game would have any success otherwise…