Bethesda Softworks' localization team has undoubtedly been walking on eggshells with the Japanese release of the critical and commercial hit Fallout 3. Nuclear warfare remains a touchy subject in the island nation, which is the sole country that has been subjected to a nuclear attack. A postapocalyptic role-playing game where players wander irradiated wastelands and can atomize an entire town could be construed as culturally insensitive, to say the least.
Today, Bethesda issued a Japanese announcement saying that Fallout 3 has been tweaked for release in Japan. Translated by GameSpot, the announcement says the ability to destroy Megaton City with a nuclear weapon has been removed in the territory. According to the release, the non-player character Mr. Burke, who urges the character to detonate the bomb, has also been removed.
The game maker noted that it also changed the name of one of the weapons in the game. Presumably this is the "Fat Man" grenade launcher, which is named after the plutonium-based bomb which incinerated the city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The game makes no mention of the first atomic bomb, the uranium-based "Little Boy," which was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Bethesda also said certain human and ghoul animations have been deleted to conform with the standards of the Japanese game-rating body, Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO). However, the release notes that the majority of animations, including those for insects, monsters, animals, and robots, remain unchanged from the US version, as does the amount of bleeding, number of corpses, and the gore bag.
For more on Fallout 3, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.