Followers of the upcoming Azure Striker Gunvolt from Inti Creates and Mega Man co-creator Keiji Inafune noticed that the character went through a slight change for the game’s American release. The main protagonist, Gunvolt, had been redesigned without braids or a midriff as he was seen in the Japanese version.
Cries of censorship for an American audience immediately began surfacing throughout the net, and Siliconera approched CEO Takuya Aizu on the issue. He made a statement, saying that the change was made based solely on the company’s research of what young American males might want to see.
“During the development of Gunvolt, we researched what kind of design would appeal to boys between the ages of 10 and 14—who we assume will be the game’s main purchasers—in North America.
“As a result, we changed Gunvolt’s design, because braided hair and a bare midriff were unpopular among them. However, these changes are not final. We will continue to do research into the matter.”
No censorship at all, just marketing research. Japanese kids might not mind the midriff and braids, but it was just unpopular with Inti Create’s target audience in America. You thought Kirby’s angry eyes were bad, but fans have not been pleased with this change.
I’m fine with the change, and I get why it was done. Not so much for the sake of alleged censorship, but I prefer him with the braid because his design looks a little off balance without it. In that regards, I can also definitely see why fans might want the creator’s authentic vision.
Azure Striker Gunvolt will be released on the Nintendo 3DS later this summer.