EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

December 17, 2008 -

From the Told Ya So Dept:

In the January issue of Game Informer there is an interview with EA's Glen Schofield, executive producer of Dead Space. Since the game shipped, Schofield has been upped to general manager of EA Redwood Shores.

The interview is worth reading for a couple of reasons. First, because Dead Space is a terrific game (although not selling especially well, unfortunately).

But what really caught our eye were Schofield's comments regarding supposed censorship of the game. GamePolitics readers may recall that we created a bit of a flap in September by calling B.S. on an EA community manager's claim that Dead Space had been banned in Germany, Japan and China (see: Dead Space Ban in Three Countries? We're Not Buying It).

That was then. This is now. Here's what Schofield told GI:

Game Informer: You had some problems with the game being banned in Germany, Japan and Korea.

Schofield: Germany finally came around, because the bottom line is that the take it into a whole context... At the end of the day, Germany said they would take the game untouched, which is fantastic. I was very surprised with Japan. In finding out exactly the reasons why, it kind of makes sense. There is a cultural difference dealing with the dead. They just had something that we could not overcome and we didn't want to compromise the game. Hell, [Takashi] Miike is the king of horror over there, and if you watch any of his films they are frickin' insane. So, for us to get banned, I was a bit surprised.

GP: So, as we speculated in September, there was never a Dead Space ban in Germany. As to the other countries, EA doesn't even sell boxed product in China due to piracy concerns. Note that the original EA claim involving China somehow morphed into a Korean ban, with no explanation. And, unfortunately, Schofield doesn't address Korea (or China) in his response to Game Informer's question.

Regarding Japan, as we reported in September, EA only sells PC titles there, not console games. There is a PC version of Dead Space, of course, so a Japanese ban is theoretically possible. But we question Schofield's sketchy explanation of "a cultural difference dealing with the dead." Lotsa dead people in the Resident Evil series, after all. Unfortunately, Game Informer did not push Schofield to elaborate.

What's most troubling in all of this is the suspicion that EA may have leaked the three-country ban rumor simply to create some pre-release buzz around Dead Space. As I have noted before, from his opening remarks at E3, Schofield hyped the game's level of violence. Sitting in the cheap seats, it seemed like the touting of the blood and gore was part of the Dead Space marketing plan. That's EA's choice, of course, and Dead Space surely wouldn't be the first game sold that way. But if the publisher - or its minions - then proceeded to put out an apocryphal story that the game had been banned, that's something entirely different. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in September, a pair of in-the-know types at EA failed to respond to my requests for clarification on the supposed Dead Space censorship.

Three months later we find out that there was no German ban, Schofield doesn't address China/Korea at all, and the explanation for the alleged Japanese ban doesn't make a great deal of sense. What's a newsie to think?

Hey, don't get me wrong. Dead Space is a good game. It's the media manipulation expansion pack that we could do without.

UPDATE: In comments to this story, GP reader fug4z1 writes that Dead Space is not banned in Japan, either:

Just want to say that from personal experience, there was no Dead Space ban whatsoever in Japan, either official or "indirect" due to refusal to rate the game or whatever; both console and PC versions could be found in shops [in Akihabara, Tokyo] on the release day. There were even displays where you could play the game, both in-store and also just outside the store on the street (so potentially children could get their hands on this murder simulator -- the horror the horror, won't someone think of them etc). My PC version is labeled as "Asia-Pacific Edition" and there is no rating label or icons anywhere on the box. Last week in one of the imported game shops [again in Akiba] I noticed a printed [in English] label that was added on the display copy on the shelf, warning about the violence and blood in the game etc -- the game is still on sale as before. (Yawn.) By the way, on the weekend of the release, the game was even sold out in one of the shops. Now you can find it all over.


Comments

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

Well to be fair: At first nobody expected the game to release here in Germany as the developers always stated they would not make any changes to the game and usually - at least for a game that bloody - this would have meant no release. EA Germany even told us for quite some time that the game would most likely not be available for distribution (meaning they did not know themselves until the USK finally gave clearance), thus speaking for Germany I doubt that this was some sort of marketing stunt (at least not more than highlighting that you game is going to be very bloody and full of gore is in general).

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

This is old news. As I already posted in some comments section back then, Dead Space got USK clearance almost two months ago.

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

Now we can have a undead game with crotch zombies(michigan:report from hell PS2) Binki clad zombie slahers(Onechanbara) but not a space driven horrow flick?

There has to be a deeper issue with CERO perhaps they did not want to let the game in just because it was not japan made? In some circles JP is ratching up the national fascism so I would not be surprised if it was that or just  bad blood between the staff and EA or the devs, theres a udnerliying story thats far more intresting than the ban itself here...

 


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Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

You forgot the bubble head nurses from Silent Hill 2.

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

I know it's been a while since I've followed the story closely, but aren't the "zombies" in Resident Evil actually humans (or other assorted creatures) who have been infected by a virus? Regardless, his BS about the Japanese "treating the dead differently" is such BS that I'm actually insulted. Japanese consumers are just as accepting of ghosts and zombies as Americans and to imply otherwise ignores decades of cinematic and gaming evidence to the contrary. If he wants to play make-believe and paint another country as weird or timid for not "accepting" Dead Space, that's a pretty ugly marketing decision. But to play that card against Japan is just stupid.

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Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

Just want to say that from personal experience, there was no Dead Space ban whatsoever in Japan, either official or "indirect" due to refusal to rate the game or whatever; both console and PC versions could be found in shops [in Akihabara, Tokyo] on the release day. There were even displays where you could play the game, both in-store and also just outside the store on the street (so potentially children could get their hands on this murder simulator -- the horror the horror, won't someone think of them etc). My PC version is labeled as "Asia-Pacific Edition" and there is no rating label or icons anywhere on the box. Last week in one of the imported game shops [again in Akiba] I noticed a printed [in English] label that was added on the display copy on the shelf, warning about the violence and blood in the game etc -- the game is still on sale as before. (Yawn.) By the way, on the weekend of the release, the game was even sold out in one of the shops. Now you can find it all over.

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

 

I knew about the Germany not banning Dead Space from another website (it's Dead Space's official website that I got the info from).  But Japan, wow it never ban.  Good, that game is too awesome for that game to be ban.  EA, why did you say that Japan, and Germany ban the game even though they didn't.

 

But anyway, I'm glad for Japan to have this game unofficially.  This game has surpassed Resident Evil, and Silent Hill (well, Fatal Frame and clock tower outdid every other game).  But after you told us that Dead Space is not ban in Japan, I felt relived.  This game deserved a Japanese release. 

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

Thanks for posting that.

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

I highly doubt that EA would deliberatly spread lies about Dead Space being banned for marketing publicity. Their marketing strength is already over the top and rediculous for Dead Space and Mirror's Edge. Animated comics, virtual world website, huge marketing, tie-in movie. And saying it's banned creates a huge headace for the publisher (EA) since people start to import games, and region sales get all messed up, and I think saying it's banned would cause many of the gamers in these other countries to not consider or no longer care about buying the game. Spreading rumurs like this hurt the sales more than they help.

 

 

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

In that case, what is your explanation for what happened here with Dead Space?

As I see it, the story was either "leaked" to create buzz or the community manager simply misspoke and EA for some reason chose not to correct his misstatement.

But why did the game's assigned PR person and a very high-up PR exec not provide a very simple response to my inquiries?

The corporate behavior here is odd, at best.

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

EA community managers arn't always that percise, or good with handling news like this. Remember the EA fourm banning=game banning and EA had to do a bunch of damage control with that?

This could have been just like a "I know someone, who knows someone who knows someone, that it sounds like Dead Space is banned in 3 countries." after all, it was just a flyby night rumor on a twitter feed or something that turned into the press saying it was true. More or less, this is a demonstration that the press sometimes throw out something like "Dead Space banned in 3 countries" without a rumor tab or a question mark, then everyone else runs it off of Kotaku, Joystiq, Gamespot, and other sites to make it fly everywhere. And this doesn't exactly help EA since it makes the whole economic retail landscape.... messy... It is such a headace to deal with all this crap on EA's side that I doubt that they did this intentionally..  

Re: EA: Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

Unfortunately, I am banned in Germany.


Re: So Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

I see EA still isn't above spreading lies to sell their stuff.

While I liked the look of Dead Space, I didn't really like the way they essentially just created a "scare" game rather than survival horror. There's no real tension building, you know the instant anything odd happens that something is going to jump out at you, sure it gets you the first few times but after that it just becomes annoying. There's absolutely no feeling of being alone, no desperation, just badly timed scare moments.

It's not horror, it's just a shoot-'em-up with a weird interface disguised as a horror game. It's also criminally short, I spent weeks on System Shock and System Shock 2 (also because they scared the crap out of me) , this I had finished in a couple of days.

Re: So Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

My one problem with Dead Space, and the main reason i haven't bought it even though i'm a survival-horror junkie, is that i didn't like how much EA was throwing the gore in my face.  They were a little too excited about it. I was thinking about picking it up for christmas but there are other games and in the face of Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, and others, this might just knock it out of the running.

On a side note, anyone know someone in japan who could confirm a ban or not?

Re: So Dead Space Wasn't Banned in Germany, After All

LOL, Gamepolitics Wins!

 
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