Mortal Kombat takes a lot of the blame for the strict censorship that was enforced upon the early days of the video game industry. The 16-bit era finally saw regulation on the content of video games, as the medium was still seen as something that was exclusively enjoyed by children.
This led to incredibly harsh censorship being inflicted upon video games, which didn't slow down until the PlayStation 2/GameCube/Xbox era.
The days of strict censorship in video games aren't behind us just yet. There are still some companies who will flinch at the thought of the slightest accusation of sexism or racism, so they go out of their way to circumvent any possible complaints.
Violence and bare skin are also still an issue to some, especially those in different countries which have stricter rules on content.
We are here today to look at the contemporary video games that had to be censored upon release-- from the numerous changes forced upon the women of Street Fighter V, to the removal of the removal of Paz's intestinal tract in Metal Gear Solid V.
Here are the 15 Recent Video Games You Never Knew Were Censored.
15 Street Fighter V - Lost A Lot Of Fan Service Because Of The Beta
Online play is vitally important to the fighting game community. It offers the best chance to play against skilled players from across the world, without needing to attend tournaments.
This means that modern fighting games have to go through extensive beta testing, especially where the netcode is concerned, as sloppy online matchmaking and performance issues can kill a game's buzz.
Street Fighter V underwent an extensive beta testing period in order to get the online modes working as smoothly as possible. This also allowed for an unprecedented level of focus testing of the game, which led to many sexual elements being cut.
Throughout the course of the Street Fighter V beta period, several aspects of the visuals were censored. Cammy's nipples used to be visible through her outfit and were later removed. Chun-Li's breasts used to jiggle as she moved, which was also removed.
Rainbow Mika has a fight pose which involves slapping her behind, which was changed so that it doesn't zoom in on her butt. Cammy also had a pose which involves her landing on the camera and letting you see between her legs, which was changed.
14 Overwatch - Lost A Butt Pose
This bit of censorship caused a lot of controversy, due to the fact that it seemed as if Blizzard changed Overwatch based on a single complaint.
Overwatch underwent many changes and received numerous additions during its closed beta period. One of these was an unlockable pose for Tracer, called "Over the Shoulder." This was a post that accentuated her butt, depending on the skin you had equipped at the time.
A user by the name of Fripps complained about the pose on the Overwatch forums, which led to lengthy discussions about how Blizzard was over-sexualizing Tracer. This led to the game's director promising to remove the pose, which is why it isn't in the final version of the game.
Since the beta, Blizzard has never over-sexualized any of their Overwatch characters again. That is if you ignore the scantily clad legendary skin for Symmetra, or the recent bikini outfit for Widowmaker, or the D. Va outfit that shows off her legs.
13 Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE - Nintendo Added More Clothes & Years
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was an excellent game that was let down by performance issues, due to the fact that it was released on the Wii U. If any game deserves an updated port on the Nintendo Switch, it's this one. The first thing they can do to make the port more interesting is to get rid of all of the overbearing censorship.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE underwent an unprecedented level of censorship for its western release. All of the characters had their ages increased by a few years.
This isn't unusual, except for the fact that the game didn't receive an English dub. The Japanese voice actors were all brought back in, so that they could record new dialogue lines which give the updated ages, in a game intended for an English audience.
One of the DLC packs involved the cast visiting a hot spring in their beachwear. This wasn't localized for the English version of the game. All of the bikini costumes were removed, which involved totally changing a chapter of the game. Any instance where you saw up a character's skirt during a battle animation was changed so that you only saw a black void.
12 Final Fantasy XV - Covering Up Shiva
Shiva is one of the most popular recurring summon monsters in the Final Fantasy series. This is because she is a beautiful and (usually) scantily-clad woman, who performs attacks in a suggestive manner.
The vast majority of the other summons in the Final Fantasy series are hideous monsters, so this makes Shiva stand out from the crowd.
The summons in Final Fantasy XV are an important part of the story and are only seen on rare occasions. Noctis forms a pact with her late in the game, which is instrumental in helping him to defeat Ifrit.
The version of Shiva that appears in Final Fantasy XV might have the skimpiest outfit of any iteration of the character. It is for this reason that her appearance was censored in the Chinese version of the game. Shiva now has a skin-tight blue outfit that she wears beneath the clothes she usually has on in the other versions of the game.
11 Persona 5 - Ryuji's Offensive Shoe
Persona 5 is a strong contender for being the greatest video game ever made. Those who have played it will not be surprised that it had to undergo a degree of censorship in certain parts of the world.
So what had to be censored exactly? Was it the fact that the teenage protagonist can engage in a sexual relationship with adult women who are in a position of authority over him, such as his teacher and doctor? Is it the controversial storylines, which include a male teacher physically and sexually abusing his students? Could it be the presence of the Mara persona, as he is basically a giant green penis? No. It was Ryuji's shoes that were the problem.
In most versions of Persona 5, Ryuji's shoes have the symbol of the rising sun on them, which is associated with Japanese imperialism. The rising sun is a controversial symbol in Korea, due to the period of time when Japan controlled the country and committed many atrocities upon the Korean people. Ryuji's shoes had the rising sun symbol edited out of the Korean version of Persona 5.
10 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - The Offensive Inkling
How could a game in the Mario Kart series need censoring? What could possibly be so offensive about a Mario Kart game? Was Nintendo going to allow voice chat, which would expose innocent young ears to the cursing that comes with the throwing of a Blue Shell?
It actually isn't that surprising, as Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo required censoring back in the day. The Japanese versions of the ending showed Bowser and Princess Peach getting drunk on champagne. These were changed so that they just played around with the bottle instead.
The recent game that needed censoring was Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. One of the new characters added into this version of the game was the Inkling Girl from Splatoon.
She originally gave an "up yours" gesture using her arms, which is considered to be offensive in certain parts of the world. This gesture was removed in a mandatory patch for the game.
9 Xenoblade Chronicles X - Breast Slider
One of the main cultural differences that comes up when localizing Japanese video games is the sexualization of teenage girls. This is a far more common occurrence in Japan and doesn't hold the social stigma that it does in the west.
This means that a lot of video games are forced to increase the ages of their characters (like in Tokyo Mirage Sessions) or just never confirm the actual age of the characters.
Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U faced this issue, as one of the main characters is a thirteen year old girl named Lin. She was given some highly sexualized outfits in the game, which needed to be changed in order to stop the police from raiding Monolith Soft's office. The main issue was an outfit that showed off the bottom of her breasts, which was censored for the western release.
The other big change made to Xenoblade Chronicles X was the removal of the breast slider. You were able to increase or decrease the size of your character's breasts upon creation. This was disabled in the English version of the game.
8 Rhythm Heaven Megamix - The Racist Tree
It isn't unheard of to see images of black characters in Japanese media that would be considered racially insensitive in the west. This usually manifests in dark-skinned characters having massively over-sized lips.
Popular shows like One Piece needed to undergo changes in order to remove these designs for their English language releases. One of the biggest examples of this was Chocolove in Shaman King, as he was a major character in the story and needed to have all examples of his huge lips edited down in the English language version of the manga.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix (also known as Rhythm Paradise Megamix in Europe) had one such instance of a potentially racially insensitive character needing to be changed.
Trey is a dark-skinned character who was originally portrayed with huge pink lips. His design was changed in the west so that his lips are now a black line and his nose was made into a pink circle.
7 Conan Exiles - Male Nudity On Xbox One
Conan Exiles is an early access game that people only know of for one reason: it features full frontal nudity for both sexes. The game is wholly unremarkable in every other respect.
The main reason it gained so much press is that it features uncensored dongs flapping in the wind, which makes it surprisingly friendly for the streamers of the world. All of the nudity was included so that people on YouTube can pretend to be shocked at seeing the bare human form, which equals clicks and views.
Conan Exiles lost its main selling point when it reached Xbox One, as the male nudity in the game was censored. This was because the developers were worried that the game would be given an AO (Adult's Only) rating, instead of an M. The AO rating would have severely hindered the potential audience for the game, which is why the censorship was implemented.
The Steam version of Conan Exiles remains unedited, so you can still see some Hyborian wang there if you want to.
6 Outlast II - Child Molester Scene
There was a curious incident involving the release of Outlast II in Australia, which fans eventually uncovered the meaning of while going through the files of the game.
The Australian rating board is one of the strictest in the world. They have no problem banning a game from being sold based on the slightest controversy.
This seemed to be the case with Outlast II, as the game was originally banned due to scenes of sexual violence. The developers stated that they had accidentally sent an older copy of the game to the rating board. They then sent the release build of the game, which was cleared for release.
When the fans went through the files of Outlast II, they discovered the scene that initially caused the game to be banned. It is heavily implied in the game that Jessica was molested by a priest when she was a young girl.
Fans found audio files of a rape scene involving the priest and Jessica, though no associated videos went along with them. It was likely this scene that had to be removed in order for Outlast II to be able to pass the scrutiny of rating boards across the world.
5 Dragon Ball Fusions - Sticks Instead Of Swords
Do all of you Dragon Ball Z fans out there remember that classic scene where Future Trunks killed Frieza by cutting him up with a stick that he picked up from the ground?
One of the most peculiar edits applied to a game on this list is the removal of all of the swords in Dragon Ball Fusions. The American and European versions of the game replaced all swords with sticks.
This is despite the fact that swords appeared in the Dragon Ball Z cartoon without issue, even though they were shown on television, which is usually a medium that is a lot stricter about what can be shown than video games are. Dragon Ball Z had the sword-wielding villain from Dead Zone in its intro, which was shown at the start of most of the episodes without any problem.
Dragon Ball Fusions also had a Teen rating in all of its releases. The sword attacks never drew any blood or showed any gore, so their removal is truly puzzling.
4 Bravely Second: Default Layer - Racist Character Class
Square Enix was concerned about JRPGs not selling in the west anymore. They originally weren't going to do an English localization of Bravely Default, even though it was well-received in Japan and had gamers clamoring for an international release. It was actually Nintendo who stepped in and agreed to publish the game, which went on to be a big hit in America and Europe.
The presence of Nintendo may have been why Bravely Default was censored, as several of the skimpy outfits in the game were either made bigger or removed entirely. The ages of some of the main characters were also increased in the English version of the game.
Bravely Second: End Layer also featured censorship in the form of the Hawkeye class. In the Japanese version of the game, this class made the characters look like stereotypical Native Americans. The Hawkeye class was changed in the west so that it now looked like a cowboy instead.
3 Fire Emblem Fates - Touching Faces & Curing Lesbians
Fire Emblem Fates had to undergo a lot of censorship before it could be released in the west. The Hot Springs building originally allowed you to manipulate the camera so that you could look at the character models while they were in a state of undress. This feature was removed for the English version of the game.
A big part of the Fire Emblem games involves forming bonds with your party members. Fire Emblem Fates originally allowed you to touch and rub the faces of your comrades. This minigame was removed, though similar scenes (such as blowing on their face to wake them up) were kept in.
The biggest change to Fire Emblem Fates involves a character called Soleil. She is a female soldier who is attracted to other women and will flirt with them in conversation. It is possible for the main character to romance Soleil, even if you choose to play the male version.
He does this by slipping her a magic powder which makes her see him as a girl. This was interpreted by some fans as a form of gay conversion therapy, which is why the scene was removed for the western release of the game.
2 Metal Gear Solid V - Paz's Intestines
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes came under fire on its release, due to its high price point for being a relatively short game. The gameplay was stellar and the story was engaging, but you could see everything Ground Zeroes had to offer in a few hours.
Ground Zeroes ended with a brutal scene involving a bomb being removed from Paz's intestines. When she wakes up, she reveals that they put two bombs inside her, which causes her to leap from the helicopter and sacrifice her life to save Snake.
In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Snake can undergo a hallucination where he sees Paz in his base. She pulls the bomb from her intestines once more and it explodes.
The scenes where you see Paz's inner organs were edited in the Japanese versions of both Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain. The camera pans in as much as possible, so you don't see any of her intestines sticking out of her body.
1 Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia - The Lost 7-Eleven Promo Items
Do you know what the best thing about shows like Game of Thrones and Vikings is? They have no product placement. You can't have Tyrion Lannister showing off his mystical iPad to his friends while making sure that the Apple logo is on-screen at all times. It just wouldn't work to include product placement in a show that has a medieval setting.
This didn't stop Nintendo from doing it with the Fire Emblem series, as the mystical realm of Valentia has several 7-Eleven stores that produce mystical items.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia had a cross-promotion with 7-Eleven in Japan. If you attended events held in 7-Eleven stores, then you could download exclusive items into the game.
These include the mystical Seven Sword and Eleven Shield, which is needed for those who play the "Sell Out" and "Corporate Shill" character classes.
This promotion hasn't been repeated outside of Japan, which means that these items are inaccessible to American/European owners of the game.
Did you know about all of this censorship? Can you think of any other new games which have been censored? Let us know in the comment section!