Following their announcement of Monster Monpiece which is set to hit the international market in the coming months, Idea Factory International announced that they had to omit some content in the English release due to its “sexual nature”. While I haven’t played the Japanese release and cannot confirm if the content is more age-friendly or less age friendly than the bathing scenes in Mugen Souls, some people may be rightfully pissed that content is being censored in this game to appease what I assume would be a minority of the target audience for this game.
In order to at least somewhat deal with players disappointment, the publisher / localized issued the following statement to the gaming public:
Idea Factory International is fully aware of the concerns expressed by fans, so we would like to inform everyone about the censored images in greater detail.
Monster Monpiece is a card battle game, in which players summon various “Monster Girls” onto the game’s battlefields and then fight their opponents. These cards—meaning the “Monster Girls”—are able to be powered up by exposing themselves (taking off their clothes) via the level-up features called First Crush Rub and Extreme Love. We kept the same number of cards in the game as the original Japanese version, but replaced some of the higher level Monster Girl images with the “less exposed” lower level versions of the corresponding Monster Girls due to some intense sexual imagery. The number of censored cards is about 40 out of the approximately 350 card images available in the game. This means that over 300 cards are left untouched from the original images. That said, each card that has had its image removed will still have the same number of levels for the player to increase, but the higher level card images will be the same as the lower level, even though they have leveled up and have become more powerful. We would like to emphasize that the game’s playtime, the game’s system, and the game’s features are all the same as the original Japanese release, and players can level up their Monster Girls to the highest levels as well, again, matching the Japanese release.
This was a very difficult decision since we work very hard to satisfy our fans and want to bring the same content being offered in Japan. However, Western society is not as lenient as that of Japan when sexual images are involved—especially images of humanoids that appear to be younger than a socially acceptable age. The borderline of what is “acceptable” will always be extremely gray and vary from person to person, but as a responsible company working in the U.S., we had to make the difficult decision that we did. We sincerely apologize for those who do not agree with any level of censorship, but we greatly appreciate your understanding with the decision we have made.
About the rating differences between North America (ESRB, Mature) and Europe (PEGI, 12):
The reason for the difference in these ratings is simply the difference in the rating system between ESRB and PEGI. We received a Mature rating for Monster Monpiece from the ESRB with the censored material we submitted. However, for PEGI, and with the same material assets for their review, they rated it 12+ because of the minimal amount of violence shown in the game. We appreciate your understanding with these rating differences.
But who knows, maybe it is for the best as over here in Australia, Atelier Totori Plus was rated R18+ for “References to Sexual Violence” (Conundrum of the Year 2013). If that is the standard the Australian market is set by I don’t see it walking away with anything better despite being cards.