It's been more than a week since the first wave of reports that Dead Space had been banned in Japan, China and Germany hit the web, yet publisher Electronic Arts has failed to provide a definitive answer as to exactly what's going on with the supposed censorship of the game.
That's unfortunate, since EA itself launched the story. The original report was set in motion by a pair of EA community managers for the sci-fi survival-horror game. Here at GamePolitics I have pointed out a number of reasons why the original ban report seemed questionable.
GameCyte now has a post in which Dead Space executive producer Glen Schofield (see him hyping the game's violence level at E3) says that the game has indeed been banned in Japan and "hints at difficulties in Germany and Korea as well..."
With all due respect to Schofield, I still have difficulty believing that the game has been banned in Japan, home of Resident Evil. I'd like to see an official announcement from EA and/or CERO, the Japanese rating organization. Moreover, as GP reported earlier this week, EA doesn't distribute console games in Japan, so only the PC version of Dead Space would potentially be at risk of a ban there.
Also in regard to Schofield's comments, what happened to the original claim of a Dead Space ban in China? Schofield doesn't even mention China. As in Japan, EA distributes no console games there, so at worst there might be a ban on the PC version. But we don't know. Does China even have a game content rating board? Doubtful. Previous bans have been handed down by government agencies such as the Ministry of Culture and the State General Administration of Press and Publication.
And now Germany has morphed from a ban to a hint of difficulties? As to Schofield's comment about a potential ban in Korea, that's a completely new one. Here's the quote from Schofield:
Glen Schofield: Australia is getting the full, complete version. No cuts. We’re not softening it for anybody. You know, I think a part of it was – he’s not a killer. He’s killing aliens and that’s why we thought for a while we’d get it through in Germany. And they were like ‘well, the fact that he can get dismembered pretty grotesquely is bad, so…’ We thought it was cool.
IGN: And Japan banned it?
Glen Schofield: Japan too. Korea thought they would get it, but we haven’t heard back yet.
As I see it, here are the possibilities:
- Dead Space has been banned in Japan, China & Germany, as per original report
- Dead Space has been banned in Japan and has "difficulties" in Germany & Korea, as per EA's Glen Schofield
- Dead Space hasn't been banned anywhere; it's all hype
It's important to remember that EA could clear all of this up with a simple press release. If I spoke Japanese I'd contact CERO myself and ask about the supposed Japanese ban. Any volunteers?