Now THIS is something I was afraid of. Once the vocal minority got super vocal after a stonking pair of humdingers graced the internet in early April, other companies would become afraid to localize anything Japan makes due to content (instead of sales like before).
For those who don’t know, Senran Kagura is a brawler with two entries on the 3DS (Senran Kagura and Senran Kagura: Burst) and one on the Vita (Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus). The 3DS and Vita games play a little differently on each platform. The 3DS games play like a regular brawler while Shinovi Versus on the Vita plays more like a mix of Dissidia meets Dynasty Warriors. One of the major defining features of this game is the copious amounts of… action on screen. I guess you call it a brawler with Japanese fighting game sensibilities (huge combos, juggles, and crazy ass attacks).
The other thing this game was known for is for being the sort of 3DS equivalent of “The Internet is for porn.” Someone out there probably said, “the 3DS is out. It’s only a matter of time before we see boobs in 3D.” Welp, someone latched on, and Senran Kagura was made. To that person (or persons) who inquired, bless your heart. Underneath the moe voices and jigglocalypse (again, I thank Namco for bringing butt juggle physics into videogames and serving that untapped market that I’m part of), there is, like I said before, a frenetic brawler that make the likes of Bayonetta and Dissidia look in the rear view mirror and go “Oh shit…”.
The Senran Kagura games are developed by Tamsoft and published by Marvelous Entertainment. Fans clamored for this game to be localized, calling on Xseed to do the job. At first they said that they would do it if demand was there, but never made any further moves. Xseed was absorbed into Marvelous AQL, becoming Marvelous USA this past Monday. So now Xseed is essentially the U.S. branch of Marvelous Entertainment. This also meant that Marvelous AQL can now help fund them should the need arise and help them with localization.
So now we’re closer to playing Senran Kagura right? Not so fast. Again, a certain… magician threw a new unnecessary, prudish wrench into the mix. In a short Q&A with Siliconera, Xseed Director of Publishing, Ken Berry, answered some questions regarding localizing Senran Kagura Burst (or the first game by extension). “It is something that we continue to look into because we know the demand is there as lots of fans have asked us about it… but it’s just such a scary proposition due to the subject matter and difference in attitudes between Japanese culture and the more conservative culture here in the U.S.”
Well dammit, look at the slippery slope just throwing people into those frigid waters. Now I can still stand by their reasoning in terms of money. I mean, it’s something tangible and not as impalpable as cultural differences or hurting someone’s feelings. And money does make the world go ’round. But c’mon, is this really going to be a new problem? Are we just gonna look at everything Japan makes and go, “welp, she’s beyond a B cup. Can’t get localized,” or “Mm, this might offend 3% of Americans. Ain’t coming out here.” Is this something we really have to worry about too?
Ken Berry, or anyone in Xseed, never used this sort of approach before. Producer Kenichiro Takaki did, but it was more of an aside to explain releasing it as a downloadable, and it was late last year, long before magic tits tainted the holy eyes of “them”. Xseed’s usual vernacular is “Is there demand? Then we can sell.” This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone at Xseed worry about cultural differences in terms of sexuality. And after the the whole Dragon’s Crown incident, the fact that western publishers are scared of the vocal minority that won’t even buy the game anyway just infuriates me. Whatever happened to making a game without fear of some blowhards having a hissy fit. Whatever happened to playing a game without worrying about some nutjob calling you a detriment to society? Where the fuck has this community gone to?
The bright side to this story is that Xseed is publishing Killer is Dead. The Senran Kagura producer is certainly excited in trying to bring this game stateside. And Korea’s version of the game has an English title design in the game itself. Oh oh, and Funimation got the license to stream the anime of Senran Kagura in North America. So here’s hoping Berry is simply reiterating what Takaki said last year and not just worrying because someone can’t handle magical Pointer Sisters.
Xseed Still “Looking Into” Senran Kagura Burst [Siliconera]
[UPDATE] Over on Tumblr, an Xseed employee responded to this article and sheds a bit more light on the subject. The jist of it is that the age of the girls do make this issue a lot more of a problem than what you’d normally expect. The employee also explains that this really had nothing to do with Dragon’s Crown and was an issue long before it. So I (and probably some of us) can at least put those fears to rest. I still recommend reading the full post. It’s long, but mighty enlightening. Click here to read it.