Persona 5 Royal, the latest game in the Persona series, which adds quite a bit of new content to the previously released Persona 5, will censor multiple scenes featuring two gay men.
In an interview with GameSpot, Sega/Atlus senior project manager Yu Namba confirmed the scene would be censored.
When asked if Namba had any control over what content makes it into localized games, Namba initially responded indicating he didn’t have much control over it.
“There were certain things in Persona 3, 4 and 5, especially now in 2020, where there would be a lot of talk about the things in those games. As a localization manager, I really cannot do too much about what has already made it into the game.”
Related: Persona 5: The Royal Under Attack For Character Design of New Character and Gymnast Kasumi Yoshizawa
However, Namba would go on to detail that he and his team specifically altered a conversation between Ryuji and two gay men in Persona 5 Royal.
“But in Persona 5 there were a few NPCs that, while we were doing the localization, our team members felt a little bit of awkwardness about when working on it. And with Royal, we were determined to see if we could do something about it at least localization-wise. On our end, it took a lot of effort consulting not just the production department, but talking with our marketing, and how they would feel about it if we changed how things were in Persona 5 to this new way–what would the public reception be, what the company would think, whether it would be okay if we do make the change.”
“Ultimately for Royal, we did go with it and I think we’re pretty happy with what it is. It’s not a significant change, but I think there’s enough of a change that people who weren’t comfortable going through that part in Persona 5 would feel better this time around.”
When pressed for specifics Namba would eventually reveal it was a scene where two gay men aggressively approach Ryuji and take him for a night on the town.
Namba stated, “So basically, I’m just going to say it right now there are these two gay men who hit on Ryuji. I think the community had a very strong response to that, and you saw that, and that was definitely altered for Royal.”
He elaborated, “Unfortunately, those characters were portrayed [as] more like predatory. In Royal–I don’t want to say we made it mild–but we made it [as if they’re] being very strong enthusiasts for something they like doing. But it’s not like they’re on the hunt for some young boys or anything.”
Related: Kotaku UK Accused of Racism After Trying to Accuse Nintendo, Super Smash Bros., and Persona 5 of Insulting Disabled People
Here is the sequence that Namba referenced from Persona 5.
Atlus Communications Manager Ari Advincula would also confirm these scene would be changed. She told IGN, “We actually were able to go through some of the lines that players may not have received as well, look at that feedback, and then [update it] for the current generation.”
In fact IGN reports Advincula advocated for the scene to be changed, “Advincula said asking if they would be addressed was one of the first things she did when joining the team.” Advincula stated, “That’s really important to me, and I think it’s really important to the community as well.”
She even detailed that changing the scene was “a chance to make it right.”
Related: Review: Persona 5 The Manga: Should You Seal A Pact with This Adaptation?
IGN revealed it’s not just the scene shown above that will be changed, but also the beach scene featuring the two gay men as well.
Cosplay of the Day: Enji Night as Persona 5’s Ann Takamaki
YouTuber Yellow Flash details that the changes come after users of the ResetEra forum “whined and cried about it and went on a huge Twitter campaign, smeared developers, and I’m sure they were doing a lot of other nasty stuff to them.”
Atlus announced back in December that Persona 5 had sold over 3.2 million copies worldwide and that the Japanese version of Persona 5 Royal had already shipped 400,000 units.
Persona 5 has an 8.7 User Score on Metacritic with over 4000 reviews. Critics gave the game a 93.
What do you make of this decision to censor these scenes? Should this game have been altered for western audiences?
Join the discussion below.