Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NA version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin had features cut dropped for localization

When the PSP port of Persona 2: Innocent Sin was announced earlier this year, Andriasang unveiled a few new features added specifically to the port, including the Climax Theatre, complete with new subquests and the ability to download extra missions and create your own quests.

Sound kind of cool? Well, the subquests are still there, but Atlus removed the DLC and mission creation from the North American localization and neglected to tell anyone. The official explanation can be found at Atlus' forums, which includes these quotes:

"As has been the case with other similar games and their custom content features, a number of challenges—technical and otherwise—prevented the inclusion of the basic creation/customization functionality within the Climax Theatre for the North American release of Persona 2: Innocent Sin for PSP System."

"And, before people ask, no, we really can't go into the "why"s and "what happened"s here, but it was not a decision made lightly, and it was not a case of something being removed just because we're the Big Bad Publisher that hates fun."

"The only thing I want to add here is that this [quest creation being in the NA version] isn't true. At no point from the NA announcement to the release was the Quest Creation aspect mentioned in any press releases, Faithful blasts, or website updates."

This does little to clarify the matter. Functionally, it's probably not all that big of a deal, because many players probably wouldn't have used it anyway. (I know I wouldn't.) It's certainly nothing approaching the Snow Queen quest from the original Persona, which was a huge part of the game and was hacked out of the original English PSOne release, but included properly in the PSP version. As noted by them, technically the quest creation was never announced as being part of the NA version, but Atlus should probably realize that a good number of their fans read import blogs like Siliconera and Andriasang, heard about it there, and assumed that it would make it in (like the forum poster that brought up this issue!) But the biggest concern is that Atlus USA did nothing to say contrary up front, thereby committing the sin of omission. It's a no-win situation if they can't include it, but they preferred to go the skeezy route by letting people buy it and find it missing, rather than deal with a minor fan uprising before release and having them swear off purchasing it (though they likely still would've bought it anyway.)

It's especially frustrating in this particular case. Anyone with a bit of internet savvy can either hack their PSP or download ePSXe, patch an ISO and play the fan translated version of P2:IS for free. While this is technically illegal (unless you own the original Japanese PSOne disc), the availability of such an option should, in theory, have given Atlus an incentive to make any products superior to what you could download off the 'net. (And with less loading times, too!) Adding extra features is a good way to do this - silently removing them because fans should be grateful that they're getting it in the first place is not only disrespectful to their consumers but actually a little bit ignorant to the reality of the gaming world.

This hasn't been the first time this generation that this has happened. The DS port of Nippon Ichi's Rhapsody initially had a few extra scenarios taken from the later games, which were advertised on the English web site and would've been the first time English gamers would've gotten to play them. These were removed for the NA release and the web site quitely updated to remove those particular features. NISA was called out on it and eventually apologized. A similar thing happened with Yakuza 3 and its removal of its hostess bar simulation segments and other minigames, which caused something of a shitstorm. This was discovered before release, and Sega admitted to it, sparking calls for a boycott. That didn't work, which was actually good, because the sales were enough to convince the company to localize the sequel, albeit without any stupid cuts this time. The English DS version of Dragon Quest IV was inexplicably missing its party talk function, though it was included in the releases of V and VI. But the only real way for companies to stop this crap is to call them out on it, and here we are.


  1. Same thing with Disgaea 4's map editor (which when from full editing to lesser) - they had to change it because it would have been filled with phalluses and NISA/Atlus don't have the time/money to regulate it.

  2. Seriously? Was that announced before hand or was it also quietly dropped?

  3. It was announced beforehand, but the difference is that NISA sent out a notice in their email.

    Atlus did nothing of the sort. You'll notice I had that thread up weeks before the game's release. Atlus were dodging this issue like a mofo.

    It's not a deal breaker to me, to be honest, but it is pretty shady.

  4. Ironically, the controversy about Yakuza 3 appears to have helped its sales. The mostly intact (and superior installment) Yakuza 4 will be lucky to reach half of Y3's numbers.

    I guess what I'm saying is Atlus should have announced it before. More ethical, probably mo' money.

  5. I'm glad I haven't bought the game yet. I was planning on it, but it looks like I won't after all.

    This kind of behavior is unacceptable.

  6. Actually, it's not that "shady" at all. As noted, had Atlus told fans they weren't including the content earlier, they would have been hit with insane complaints, maybe some online petitions and yes, threats of boycotts from the usual suspects which would have probably had a negative impact on the game's sales.

    Generally, publishers don't take these sorts of protests lightly, no matter how small. But I have to give Atlus a pass here because they still localized P2:IS without removing anything from the main storyline. Perhaps the company didn't want to spend too much time answering the same questions from the small pack of upset ones who probably still wouldn't cut them some slack even if they heard the whole story? Who knows?

    Also, cj - you had your thread up a few weeks before the release, but I'd gather Atlus had decided as soon as they started the localization process (what, last year?) that they were going to save time/money any only translate the main quest and Climax Theater sub quests. I'll gather that they decided then that the mission edit function and DLC were things they deemed extraneous for a few other reasons, but that's for them to say, not me.

    Still, as Disco says, the missing DLC really isn't THAT important at the end of the day. I wouldn't have used it either and I'm a big SMT fan. Hell, I still want to see stuff like the original SMT and offshoots like Spiral Nemesis and Last Bible get localized/updated one of these days (but I'm not holding my breath).

    Also, Atlus knows that the amount of people who want to hack their PSP's already have (and probably have that fan translation). Their job isn't to compete with those folks at all because they know they're not going to buy the game. They're getting the game out to new players and old gleeps like me who want to play it who aren't going to get bent out of shape over stuff we wouldn't touch after spending over 100 hours with the main game.

    Also, I think DLC for PSP games in NA is something that most publishers avoid anyway. Get the game out in a single package and move on. This could be due to any number of reasons - most financial(not enough sales potential for DLC in NA, publishers wanting to cut costs, etc.)...

    Amusingly enough, I think the only PSP games I have where I downloaded new (and free) content were Battlezone (new arena maps) and a ton of new mini-games for Hot Pixel (oddly enough, both from Atari a few years back). Anyway, it's not as if this is something Atlus does ALL the time. 3D Dot Game Heroes benefited from a ton of user-created content that helped make the game a lot more fun in the end and Catherine ended up quite well in terms of its localization.

    That said, I bet they'll be giving fans a better heads up in the future just so they can avoid this sort of stuff. Of course, they COULD just tell those who are REALLY irate to go learn Japanese and import the games they want when they're released. That would be pretty damn funny, I say...

  7. I was going to mention the Disg 4 map editor issue too.

    Seeing that quest creation has been dropped, I'm wondering if there isn't some kind of archaic law governing these decisions, or if publishers are worried about the creative content being offensive and therefore needing regulating.

    Like with Little Big Planet, they monitored that and deleted a lot of suer created content. To the point where I didn't even bother downloading stuff any more.

    It seems we have a mystery to uncover...

  8. Level moderation in LBP never bothered me, because 90% of what they did get rid of was levels full of dongs and knobs. I mean, it is kinda marketed as family friendly.

    Though, as for P2IS.. well, I was going to make a joke about Mara or Arioch, but neither of them appear to be in P2. Dangit.

  9. lol, this is why I stopped playing NA ports altogether.

    Can't make multiple language features because of syntax issues and other technical hoo-haa despite having enough free space and memory, Certain minigames had to be removed because they were hard to translate, etc, etc.

    LLCs have been upholding the same old stance (be grateful that we're even porting it and give us your money, sheep gamers!!) and excuses since the olden days.

    "The more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to mind...

  10. Removing dongs and knobs from LBP is fair enough - it's a family game. But I'm kinda pissed they started removing the Mario themed levels and such-like. I mean, so what if the level structure is the same? The Great Giana sisters was released recently, and that's an SMB rip-off.

    Likewise the trillions of various clones various places make.

    And, before someone says it, the reason why I would want to play these "derivative" levels is because I'd be curious to see how, if at all, they've been subverted.

    I'm essentially diverging from the topic here, but ultimately no one should be happy about cuts or drastic changes made to anything - unless it's something which requires legitimate altering as part of the localisation (for example a cultural joke).

    I want to know the nitty gritty of this. Why can't they explain it? That to me sounds like it wasn't a decision entirely in their hands. Where are our corporate spies when we need them?

    I don't actually enjoy the Persona games, so I'm only bothered by this in principle - but still, Persona fans should totally be annoyed by this.

  11. 2 small publishers have both their UGC cut back to back? Seems like a Sony issue to me. I wouldn't say that Atlus is too small to deal with this like I would of NISA. I think there is a surcharge on this content in the form of monitoring that is forcing developers to just blow it all off completely. I also don't think this surcharge is applicable for Japan.

  12. Well, I'm pissed. Persona and Persona 2 always had a hard time in US.

    Persona: Revelations? Content cut and altered.
    Persona 2: IS? Didn't make it.
    Persona PSP? Original soundtrack has been deleted, the new one didn't fit the atmosphere. (Well, this is something Japanese had to deal with too).
    Persona 2 PSP? Hitler has shades so no one can recognize him and swastikas are gone. I swallowed this bitter pill, but now the new mode I've been hyped for is gone, too. I have already played Innocent Sin with Tom's translation and, to be frank, I prefer his one to the official one. The quest maker was the only thing that could make me buy the PSP version.

    I wanted to pay for this game - it is my all-time favorite game and it's miles above P3&4 in my book. But now I have to study Japanese to play definitive versions of P2P and P1.

    This is just sad, I remember Atlus USA bragging how "no content is cut or altered in P1P". And now they tell me to automatically assume that some content is cut, and their fans tell me that I'm making a fuss out of nothing.

    Well, say goodbye to my money, Atlus, I will take it to publishers like Rising Star Games, because they know how to treat customers right.

  13. Since I played the fan translated version, I felt it was my obligation to buy the official PSP port. I want to support companies that do the right thing and listen to the fan, in this case it would be Atlus finally releasing an English version of Innocent Sin. However, it still strikes a nerve that Atlus didn't mention the cuts being made at all. As it stands, I have very little incentive to play my US copy besides an arranged soundtrack and three new side quests.
    Thanks for writing a blog post on this issue! I would seriously like a better response on why these features were not included. I can't be the only one who wanted to make their own quests.

  14. I've played that Great Giana Sisters game, and while its original incarnation was unquestionably a rip-off of SMB, the new one is just a generic (but good) platformer. It feels much, much different.

    As for losing the DLC for IS, I'm not overly concerned. I know it's probably not a good tack to take, and I should probably be more incensed about it, but it's content I probably wasn't going to touch, anyway. It's not too dissimilar to my reaction the lack of Party Talk in Dragon Quest IV. It wasn't a huge loss in my mind.

    Now, I'm not advocating lazy ports, or cutting out features on everything, but if the choice is having something cut to actually _get_ the game, or leave it in and not get it at all, I know which one I'm going to pick, everytime.

  15. As someone who's beaten the fan translation, I honestly prefer the Atlus one. It's a localization, not just a direct translation. The script has moer personality.

    As for the dub, uh... Maya's voice is awesome.

  16. ^Well, as someone who also beat the fan translation, I am going to disagree with that completely. Tom's translation had just as much "personality." To be honest, for some odd reason I have always felt that you tend to harbor more than a few unwarranted criticisms towards Tom's translation in the past (dissing his use of "curse words" for instance) - not sure if it is some weird jealousy thing or what. Not too sure I would totally trust your opinion.

  17. "no, we really can't go into the "why"s and "what happened"s here, but it was not a decision made lightly, and it was not a case of something being removed just because we're the Big Bad Publisher that hates fun"
    sounds like something corporate, probably Sony as the BBPTHF.

  18. Meh,I'll take the game any way they give it to me. If I really cared about missing features, I'd learn Japanese.

  19. Don't get me wrong, I respect and admire Tom's work on the fan translation. I was there on day one, and I'm religiously following the Soul Hackers effort. Him and Gemini are saints in my eyes.

    But if you ask which I prefer, I will go with the official translation.

  20. they remove all the dlc from the first psp game of the monster hunter series, i downloaded the japanese game and the dlc can still be downloaded >.>