Epic on shipping Gears of War 2 in Japan

Stronger violence almost caused Gears of War 2 not to be released in Japan, Epic president says.

by

Who was there: Mike Capps president of Epic, speaking at a special session at the Tokyo Game Show.

What they talked about: The Gears of War franchise may be one of the biggest on the 360 in the US and other Western markets, but that's certainly not the case in Japan. While both games in the series have been released in the country (and reviewed favourably), Epic president Mike Capps said Gears of Wars 2 was close to not being available, thanks to concerns the developer had about some of the violent content in GOW2 making it past Japanese censors.

Capps said it was "difficult" for Epic to ship the first Gears, and it wasn't because of the language barrier. It was the game's violence which was the biggest hurdle, with Epic having to create a separate version of the game for Japan with objectionable content taken out (such as bloodspray). This meant the developer also had to create two versions of all DLC and updates, which was a heavy workload considering Japan accounted for only 1 percent of global sales for Gears of War.

So when it came to the sequel, Capps said Epic did not even initially plan for a Japanese release due to the game's more violent content, pointing out in particular the boss level which took place inside a giant wormlike creature. "We thought that we could never make a version for Japan that would fit our vision, that we would need too much work, and supporting two games would be too difficult," he said.

But thanks to the persistence of Microsoft in Japan--and calls from Japanese fans of the series--Epic relented and asked the local Microsoft to check out what content needed to be changed for Gears of War 2. As it turns out, recent changes to Japanese classification laws meant very little had to be changed, much to the suprise of Capps.

Quote: "We would have done this 10 months earlier if we knew you could cut up a boss monster's heart from the inside and would have no problem [with censors]."

Takeaway: With the room packed with Japanese journalists wanting to hear from the Epic president, it seems that the Gears of War franchise remains one of the leading Western ones within the nation.

Discussion

36 comments
lamprey263
lamprey263

With a country that loves their rape porn of underage schoolgirls and bloody movies like Battle Royale, I can't imagine their problem of gore in Gears of War was for anything other than completely arbitrary reasons, probably Japanese developers lobbied to have this game compromised because not doing so would undermine the Japanese game developers and by consequence effect their nations economy. If this game had been developed by a Japanese SCE studio for the PS3 then the censors probably would have excepted this with open arms.

XeonForce
XeonForce

With the exception of Horde mode, I enjoyed the online better on Gears1. Both are great games still, and yeah, Gears2 is probably the best 3rd person shooter to date. As much as I love their culture and their respect for art, like Anime, Manga, and Games, I think being so harsh on this game is just Japan being Japan, 'cause deep down they are weird as hell. lolz

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

Gears of War 2 is the most impressive third-person shooter in history. The "violence" and "gore" in the game are part of what make it fun to play and cool to watch. Does it really make that much of a difference if the Locust aliens have red blood or green blood. I have to agree with you guys that it's terrible the way the Japanese culture has absolutely no problem with nudity, but has a problem with the color red shooting from Locust aliens when they are torn apart with the chainsaw in the Lancer machine gun. When I saw that the color red was switched to green, I thought to myself "who cares." And why not let the Japanese people select what they want to see. We have Mature ratings here, and we can lock our Xbox 360 systems so kids don't see that stuff. Why shouldn't Japanese people be given that sort of freedom, too.

Excedra
Excedra

gow 2=total awesomeness

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

"This meant the developer also had to create two versions of all DLC and updates, which was a heavy workload considering Japan accounted for only 1 percent of global sales for Gears of War. " .......The things they would do 2 please their fans around the world, how nice. Funny thing is, i want to know how much copies of the game were sold across there as well how much revenue they managed to generate, i mean well.... as someone pointed out earlier (and not 2 sound a bit stereotypical), the Japan market is not exactly that excited for U.S games made and sent over there!! It wouldn't really make much sense for the team to got that extra mile to edit stuff particularly for their market if it doesn't yield that much results, it's like there'll be no means to the end (well with the exception that they'll be supplying some of their fans of the franchise over there with the game) but hey i could be wrong as well as they stated "With the room packed with Japanese journalists wanting to hear from the Epic president, it seems that the Gears of War franchise remains one of the leading Western ones within the nation."

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Trogeton
Trogeton

Gears of War was awesome. but the online was nothing new is 2

runefa
runefa

lets face it, they dont like U.S games and laugh in our faces, as simple as that, but i love their games. how they call gears violent?!, have you seen an anime called schooldays? its an anime about a teenage guy around 16 years having sex with all the girls, and then at the final episode the girls figthing for him chop his head, then one girl take the other girl and open she with a knife and take her fetus, and it is rated for teen, how can it be gears of war more violent than that?

x-wing20
x-wing20

I always thought japan had lower standards.

icedfacekilla57
icedfacekilla57

@atarigrad Exactly. I know exactly what you're saying and (@darkcomedian) even if you want to argue the fact that sex isn't worse than violence, its being hypocritical. Both violence and sex are bad things to expose to a young mind without first explaining how to interpret them. As for adults playing games on a hardcore level, i'd consider that sex is something that isnt needed when it comes to it being in a video game. No matter how much you want to preach the message, a country which is ranked almost the top perverted place on the planet could stomach a little blood and violence in their video games.

Flesseck214
Flesseck214

I agree with all the comments about the irony of Japan's complaints. This almost seems like borderline childish considering the content that is released in Japanese media compared to the violence in Gears of War 2.

darkcomedian
darkcomedian

@ atarigrad ummmm no, violence is definitely worse than sex. I have been preaching this message for years.

tony2077ca
tony2077ca

wow that's messed up look at some of the anime series that are out there worse then this game

klusps
klusps

They let Hentai games out in the streets in Japan with ease but not Gears of War 2?

rkelly1
rkelly1

whats wrong with LA blue girl? i never saw it but whats so bad about it?

Ghost_Thumbs
Ghost_Thumbs

Has anyone ever seen LA Blue Girl (if you havnt, dont) or played Ninja Gaiden 2? and theyre worried about some extra blood spray? Im missing something here.

I_Pwn_U_n00bs
I_Pwn_U_n00bs

Cole speaking japanese would just be amazing :)

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

I thought it was going to say... Epic on shipping Gears of War 2 in Japan - Don't bother. haha! Anyway, I don't think Japanese gamers like any western games really. Most of the sales from GOW2 will come from foreigners in Japan.

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

NG2 is made in Japan... that's why :p

_Elite_Bushido_
_Elite_Bushido_

they will allow Takashi Miike to make movies but they censor games? pfft >__________________________>

Dante2710
Dante2710

am i the only one who finds this ironic? specially in Japan

atarigrad
atarigrad

So Japanese games can have homosexual content and borderline kiddie porn elements but not Violence? I would agree with 142.... how is Ninja Gaiden 2 any less violent than Gears 2? Especially when you are slicing off limbs of human beings in NG2.

1425678786655
1425678786655

umm yea ninja gaiden is like the most violent game ive ever played and im pretty sure its more violent than gears of war 2.. lol

method115
method115

@ nintendokid well please educate us on American violence cause I don't understand the difference.

nintendokid
nintendokid

I don't like how GameSpot worded this article. It's not the violence or the amount of. It's the style of (American) violence that Japanese folks do not like. Uh, hello, Ninja Gaiden did come from a Japanese game maker. It's not that they can't handle it - that's an insult. Ryuhei Kitamura is a very famous Japanese movie director. His movie, "Versus" (2000), was pretty darn violent. See clip HERE Yes, this is the same guy that directed all of the cutscenes in MGS Twin Snakes. Kojima is good friends with this guy and the MGS series has always been full of blood, dismemberment, and head shots. So you guys can the whining about "Why can't these people just handle it?"

mtgallet
mtgallet

so the "human language" consists of english only?

ThaDirtySouth
ThaDirtySouth

You don't understand the human language very well either.

runefa
runefa

lets face it, they dont like U.S games and laugh in our faces, as simple as that, but i love their games. how they call gears violent?!, have you seen an anime called schooldays? its an anime about a teenage guy around 16 years having sex with all the girls, and then at the final episode the girsl figthing for him cho his head, the one girl take the other girl and open she with a knife and take her fetus, and it is rated for teen, how can it be gears of war more violent than that?

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

I wouldn't sayGears 2 is particularly violent, but I can see how slicing a guy in half with a chainsaw and having blood splatter all over the camera would be a problem in some countries. Also that one part in the game where you're pratically swimming in blood.

shadowlord123
shadowlord123

Wow, this is an unexpected suprise coming from Japan. I mean look at all their games with violence. Theres blood,blood, and lots more blood all over the F'n place, and they worry about the violence in Gears of war 2? C'mon now. Get real Japan.

Ced_Quijote
Ced_Quijote

This is the western world giving the Japs the finger for all the times we've had to wait for RPGs!

Fed__X
Fed__X

No really. Resident Evil is censored there. No head shots. You really think gears would pass that easily. Gimmie a break.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

gears 2 so violent? what crappy joke is that? yeah it has chainsaws in it blood gore and so one but that doesn't make it an absolutely violent game that couldn't be released in japan,i mean here's god of war it's so violent (even more than gears) but it had no probs =_=

okassar
okassar

It ALMOST led to it not being shipped but that's not an issue anymore:) Japanese people get to experience an awesome game now,but wow why did it take so long?