- Dec 3, 2013
I didn't want to junk-up any of the Persona 5 Royal threads with censorship talk, but people may want to be aware ATLUS USA reworked some of the game's content for the Western release. The news was revealed in two stories from Gamespot, with the focus largely be on the gay couple that hit on Ryuji. Whether there are further tweaks that veer more towards censorship isn't specified. Article links and relevant quotes are below.
Article 1: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/persona-5-royal-will-be-worthwhile-even-for-return/1100-6473781/
From speaking with senior project manager Yu Namba, who has played a major part of the series localization dating back to Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (2000), there'll be some changes to existing lines of dialogue in P5R. Specifically, we talked about the gay couple that would harrass Ryuji at certain points of the original game--they were "portrayed [as] more like predatory," as Namba put it. When I asked him about those scenes, Namba stated, "I think the community had a very strong response to that, and you saw that, and that was definitely altered for Royal."
As for how those characters and lines have changed, Namba simply said, "We made it [as if they're] being very strong enthusiasts for something they like doing. But it's not like they're on the hunt for some young boys or anything." It's clear that, like the fan base, those who worked on Persona 5's localization felt some type of way about it, too. Namba told me, "Our team members felt a little bit of awkwardness about when working on it," with regards to those moments in the original release. He also said it was no easy task to get the green light to make changes. He concluded, "We're pretty happy with what it is. It's not a significant change, but I think there's enough of a change that people who weren't comfortable going through that part in Persona 5 would feel better this time around."
Outside of those scenes, Namba also said that the team and voice cast went over a few existing lines from the original game in addition to delivering all the new Royal-specific content. While there have been gripes about the pronunciation of some names in the original game, Namba did say that the general pronunciation guidelines were kept, though they tried to make things more consistent across the game.
Article 2: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/how-persona-5-royal-and-the-series-has-evolved-for/1100-6473783/
There's still content that doesn't go over well for the audience. How much say do you have in whether or not that content makes it in the game? Do you have autonomy in terms of recognizing what won't play well and what to do with it? How do you approach that?
There were certain things in Persona 3, 4 and 5, especially now in 2020, where there would be a lot of talk about the things in those games. As a localization manager, I really cannot do too much about what has already made it into the game.
But in Persona 5, there were a few NPCs that, while we were doing the localization, our team members felt a little bit of awkwardness about when working on it. And with Royal, we were determined to see if we could do something about it at least localization-wise. On our end, it took a lot of effort consulting not just the production department, but talking with our marketing, and how they would feel about it if we changed how things were in Persona 5 to this new way--what would the public reception be, what the company would think, whether it would be okay if we do make the change.
Ultimately for Royal, we did go with it and I think we're pretty happy with what it is. It's not a significant change, but I think there's enough of a change that people who weren't comfortable going through that part in Persona 5 would feel better this time around.
Are you able to say exactly what it is? What part of the game that you were referring to?
So basically, I'm just going to say it right now there are these two gay men who hit on Ryuji. I think the community had a very strong response to that, and you saw that, and that was definitely altered for Royal.
Can you expand on how that was changed?
Unfortunately, those characters were portrayed [as] more like predatory. In Royal--I don't want to say we made it mild--but we made it [as if they're] being very strong enthusiasts for something they like doing. But it's not like they're on the hunt for some young boys or anything.