The Callisto Protocol is so gory it can’t be released in Japan

The Callisto Protocol is so gory it can’t be released in Japan

10/27/2022

The developer of survival horror The Callisto Protocol has refused to make the censorship changes necessary to release the game in Japan.

Although some countries, such as Australia, are infamous for having surprisingly strict rules about video game content it’s often not realised that Japan is also very restrictive, with almost all violent games being censored before release.

It’s rare for a game to be outright banned but that’s not what’s happened with The Callisto Protocol, as rather than censor it, developer Striking Distance Studios has decided to just not release the game in the country.

‘As of now, the CERO rating cannot be passed,’ reads the tweet below. ‘We have decided that we would no longer be able to provide you with the experience you need. We hope everyone in Japan will understand. If you have already per-ordered, we will refund you.’

There’s no indication of what the precise problem was but we noted how gory the game was ourselves, when we played it last week, with heads being bitten in half and human bodies being bisected by giant fan blades.

Some fans have already suggested that the problem might be dismemberment, which has always been a big no-no in Japan but is at the heart of the game’s spiritual predecessor Dead Space (which is getting a big budget remake next year).

Although it didn’t used to be, Japan became more strict about games content when it established local age rating board CERO in 2002.

Both nudity and violence are censored and while Japanese developers know to avoid anything too extreme that’s meant Western games such as The Last Of Us, Cyberpunk 2077, and GTA 5 having to be released in edited versions.

According to analyst Dr Serkan Toto though, some Japanese-made games, such as Resident Evil, also fall foul of the system and that even when a more gory edition is released in Japan it’s still censored, just not as much as the standard release.

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