Idea Factory International launched a patch to remove swearing from Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters, despite being rated T for Teen.
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Publisher Idea Factory International made the announcement in their latest blog post, revealing that “patch update (Patch 1.01) that will change several text and audio lines. To ensure parity across regions for the Western release of Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters, the European PS4 and PS5 versions will receive Patch 1.01, due to go live later this month. Patch 1.01 for Steam will launch at a later date.”
The patch went live the same day for North American PlayStation users. Idea Factory International even provided a changelog of what text and audio had been changed, omitting the context and which characters were saying it to avoid spoilers. Overall, it seems many instances of swearing had been cut, with audio needing to be revised in some cases.
[Editor’s Note: Potentially harsh language will be found beyond this point.]
Some merely cut the swear word from a line, such as “Yep. A member of the very organization of shitty Arfoire evangelists that gave you all that trouble way back when.” Others required changing the line, such as “Hey, those monsters were trying to kick our asses too” becoming “Hey, those monsters were trying to beat us up too.”
While some lines were slightly tweaked (“Piss me off” became “tick me off,” “bullshit” became “bull”), others were entirely re-written. “Now you’ve pissed me off,” became “Let’s end this,” while “Allow me to kindly kick your ass,” became “You chose the wrong opponent.”
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There were other changes that could be deemed a far departure from the original line. Another instance of a brutish “Now you’ve really pissed me off!” was changed to a haughty and ominous “Lament and suffer!”
Two instances of “Bastard!” were also changed to “Die!” and “What?!” Even the term Bastard Sword, as an item in Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters, was changed to “Brute Sword.” In real life, bastard swords earned their name as their longer handles betrayed categorization as one or two handed sword, becoming “hand and a half” swords. They had no “family” in a sense, like a bastard; term historically used to refer to an illegitimate child.
Bastard can also mean “something that is spurious, irregular, inferior, or of questionable origin.”
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According to the ESRB, practically every game in the Neptunia series has had a T for Teen rating, along with Language or Mild Language content warning. The only exception is Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, which earned a Mature 17+ rating. This marks Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters as the first game in the series without a language content warning that is still rated T for Teen due to other content.
To make matters stranger, the game launched January 24th in the west, meaning the game’s “offending” content lasted until April 7th on some platforms. Typically, the ESRB and other ratings boards demand an accurate impression of the final game that will be sold.
Though pure speculation, the post-launch patch suggests the ESRB either changed its mind, somehow didn’t know the game had bad language, or a different version of the game was shipped to what was shown to the ESRB. Regardless, the ESRB wouldn’t only have to change their website, but physical boxes for Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters would require the new content warning.
This in turn would require a recall, or shipping new covers to stores selling the game for employees to change- both likely to be costly. A post-launch update would therefore be the most cost-effective and logical recourse. As there have been no reports of legal action against anyone involved, it can be assumed this came about through human error rather than malicious deception, and all are satisfied with the outcome.
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