Amazon Games responds to complaints that Lost Ark character redesigns are ‘censorship’

    
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Lost Ark has yet to release here in the west and it’s already got its first stupid controversy. When Amazon Games first announced that it was going to publish the MMOARPG, the company noted that they would be making some adjustments to characters and character creation in an effort to make more players “feel at home,” with more diverse skin types in character creation and in the game’s NPCs.

Some of those changes have since gone under some scrutiny when a Redditor shared comparison images that showed off a few of these visual differences, causing several players to claim the changes are tantamount to censorship. The original post has since been deleted but is still preserved on Removeddit, while a more recent (and still live) post offers some of these comparisons.

Similar censorship claims were also raised on the game’s Steam forums, specifically regarding female outfits, which drew forth a response from one of the CMs, who explained that the images showcasing more modest outfits are “marketing materials” and promised that Lost Ark will still have plenty of scantily clad ladies in-game. “We aren’t creating new outfits,” he writes, “we are just not leading with the sexier ones.”

sources: Reddit (1, 2) and Steam via Gamerant
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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I stand on the side of ‘We need more options, not less.’. But then again, I’m tired of games in general thinking we all need to be a humanoid and to be frightened by anything else. Why are so many of you so frightened by something different than you?

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Worldofwarcraft Mage

I dont think they are censoring anything .i have played alpha and everything looked just as same as other releases of lost ark .i do like the fact that they are adding skin tones and other things to diversify their game

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havox3

Amazon Games mod just confirmed they are in fact censoring random NPCs.
https://steamcommunity.com/app/1599340/discussions/0/3046104336674781674/

Windsward [developer] 55 minutes ago
Yes, we will be introducing a wider variety of skin tones available for both character customization and for NPCs throughout the world.

For the parts of the world we are publishing for, players expect to see representations of themselves. We are working with Smilegate to make that possible.

I am not here to discuss politics, worldviews, etc. I am stating dry facts. This is a thing we’ll be doing. You have that information, make your decision to play our version of Lost Ark or not.

I see Amazon is going with the wildly successful BF5’s “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it” marketing strategy. I may or may not try Lost Ark RU with a VPN but this has cemented my decision of not touching Lost Ark West with a 10foot pole. Thanks Amazon Games and Windsward!
Of course Windsward also immediately locked the thread because they can’t handle any negative criticism.

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Worldofwarcraft Mage

I think you need to up your reading skills . They are adding additional skin tones and stuff not removing any previously added stuff .
The guy who posted that stuff was crying why they are adding black skin tone and not just keep it white .
Really dude I will write it again .dont make yourself look stupid and dumb without reading the whole thing .

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havox3

I think it is you who needs upping reading skills, obviously i have nothing against more options in character creation, more options is always great. I feel sad the best character creator from APB All Points Bulletin still hasn’t been surpassed, it’s been over 10 years. Since reading 3 short paragraphs is too much for you, let me shorten it down to:

Yes, we will be introducing a wider variety of skin tones available for NPCs throughout the world.

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Neurotic

Literally the first sentence of your previous post is “Amazon Games mod just confirmed they are in fact censoring random NPCs.” Honestly, you’re the only one who looks bad here.

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havox3

This is not Reddit. I can say my unpopular opinion and not be downvoted into the ground by the echo chamber. Sorry if that upsets you.

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Neurotic

Says you with the Reddit avatar. ;) No, fine, no worries, carry on with your self. It’s only that you’re contradicting yourself and you seem uninterested or unable to acknowledge that. But okay, whatevs. :)

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havox3

You’ll have to pinpoint where I am contradicting myself. I am consistently not supporting games with censorship. Last online game I played was PSO2. Because Western version was censored I played on JP with English fan patch. Same for LA

I may or may not try Lost Ark RU with a VPN but this has cemented my decision of not touching Lost Ark West with a 10foot pole.

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MolleaFauss

(I know I might regret writing this comment, but I feel like it should be)
I believe this episode reveals a lot of the cultural distance between “west” and “far east”.
Just putting down some random thoughts:
* seems we can’t sell an imported product as is, because it’s breaking some of the values of inclusivity and respect we are strongly trying to enforce across the board, and with that we’re basically doing a “reverse-racism” act, as we’re not allowing other’s culture to be shown as they are – and this is a big corporate weakness: they prefer forcing change, instead of braving a possible PR shitstorm, because people are unreasonable about where a thing comes from: people cant discern between the distributor – Amazon – and the developer – Smilegate.
* in the meantime, the far east culture shows that not everyone buys (yet) into our values (racial diversity – respect for women – the nudity is of course targeted as a predominant male audience), it might be a question of time. I believe that saying that Korea, China and Japan are societies more closed than most western ones is just stating a fact and not criticizing or patronizing.

And tbh, @koboldwhite comment below also says it all. We’re not able to separate fantasy from reality and frame each thing in the proper context. We’re taking everything too seriously and ignoring context. More than failure as a species, I’d say our overall “education” is sorely lacking…

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Utakata

Unpacking this somewhat…

1) It’s depending whether you “regret” something because you don’t like being challenge, versus regretting something by changing your views of it…especially when your position has proven to be untenable.

2) There is no such thing a reverse-racism. And not just because it has a flavor of oxymoron about it….

3) Developers are into games to make money. Yes?

4) So they do xenophobia over there should make it okay here? Hint: It’s not okay over there either.

5) You can address KolboldWhite’s comment directly by hitting the “Reply” button underneath. I’m pretty sure he, she or they won’t bite.

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Michael Gaskin

Agreed. There is no such thing as reverse racism. Just racism… as an example, a black guy yelling “chink” to an Asian cop. Or a minister saying blanket statements about jews. That isn’t reverse, it’s just racism!

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Adam Russell

Its their property and they have every right to develop it as they see fit. If you think censorship is coming from laws you dont like then vote to change the laws.

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Leyaa

The image of the Soulfist outfit looks better this way in my opinion. I never understood why people need those half naked clothing, and I probably never will.

Going with less sexier outfits was one of the changes for the western release I was looking forward to. And I still do. I hope they stay true to their course.

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KoboldWhite

In a game where the game-play loop revolves around slaughtering sentient beings, the focus and controversy is on showing a bit of skin.

Can we just agree that we have completely failed as a species?

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Jack Pipsam

That’s not censorship really, I live in a place which has various censorship issues with games and there’s a difference between something changing to fit classification guidelines verses a deliberate choice made by a publisher.

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Zawaka Waka

What you just said is literally the definition of censorship. If something is x-rated and they remove all the things that make it x-rated to get a teen rating, then it’s been censored.

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Jack Pipsam

Sure, but I suppose I am thinking more in terms of being forced to make those changes in order to sell the product at all verses desiring the lower rating or something you’d feel more comfortable releasing.

For example there’s certain films that get an R18+ classification in Australia making it effectively adult-only from a legal standpoint, yet it’s still not actually illegal, being R18+ can still show at movie theaters, be sold on home video and be made available by streaming. Yet as being branded adult only is for many studios undesirable, they make the choice to snip bits here and there until they can get the more desirable MA15+ rating. Yes the film is now altered, censored even, but that was still ultimately their choice to make, nobody forced them as they could have just as easily released the film at the higher-rating as many do and increasing now some even crave that higher-rating for the creative freedom it offers.

I feel that more true censorship is when it’s forced and that’s more felt when a game is RC’d (Refused Classification), effectively banned. In this case the choice is either don’t release the product or be forced to change specific aspects in order to meet the requirements.

But that force doesn’t always have to be from a legal body, it could be from a high-up in a company not liking something.
I think this would be more censorship if a higher-up at Amazon forced the localisation team to make the changes, but I don’t think it’s quite censorship if the team themselves decided to make the change for their own reasons without pressure. I think censorship should be more reserved for external forces pressuring or demanding change rather than an person making a change on their own.

agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

Dear Asian game developers,

Black and brown people exist. Please put them in your games before your western partners have to make you.

Thank you.

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Ryan Jones

Considering the game was originally made by Asians solely for Asians, they had no need to cater to the west.

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Does not check email

Well, you missed that point.

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Paragon Lost

When it flies that loudly over your head, you might consider hearing protection for ears… so you don’t go deaf… nevermind.

Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

Spoiler: games are worldwide. The “made for Asians solely for Asians” justification doesn’t work anymore.

agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

Black and brown people exist in Korea. That is not an opinion.

It is silly to argue against adding more basic character creation options in these kinds of games. From a business perspective this costs nothing and only has the potential to make them more money.

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Vanquesse V

Stuff like this makes me remember someone saying “the two genders: male and political, the two races: white and political, the two sexual orientations: hetero and political, the two looks: photo-model and political”