**Warning: early story spoilers below**
Yesterday, Bandai Namco released a new trailer for the highly anticipated Tales of Berseria. In it, a pivotal moment takes place that acts as Velvet's motivation against Arthur Collbrande, the main antagonist of the game. Due to the violent nature of that scene, the publisher made the decision to cut away for a brief moment in order to avoid backlash from PEGI, the European ratings board. It's almost certain the same issue would have arose from the ESRB because of the content.
Note that the left column's scenes are from the Japanese version and the right column's scenes are from the English version of Tales of Berseria.
People who have played the Japanese version of the game have noted how integral this scene is with later points in the story, so we will have to see whether this is the only change that has been made. You can bet the entire game will be scrutinized when it's released.
For now, you can read Bandai Namco's Facebook message in full, along with the latest trailer below.
Dear Tales of Community,
We read about your concerns regarding some changes between the Japanese and the Western versions of Tales of Berseria, the next game from the Tales Of series to be released on January 27th 2017 on Playstation 4 and PC.
In the western game footage released on December 8th (https://youtu.be/TLbdbwjtxZ8), you discovered a scene that has been reworked compared to the original Japanese game.
As a company, Bandai Namco Entertainment has to follow the regional regulations regarding video games content to allow the games to be released with appropriate rating. The violence depicted in the original Japanese scene in Tales of Berseria would not allow us to keep our current 16 rating. A major change in our rating wouldn’t have allowed to share the game with as many fans as we’d like and it would have prevented us many opportunities to show the game on social networks, websites and even during events. Therefore, instead of deleting the sequence, we decided to rework a portion of the scene to keep its importance in the story. We’ve ensured its impact in the story is the same. Even if the exact actions are different, their consequences are exactly the same: the defining moment changing Velvet’s Story and opposing her to Arthur Collbrande, the moment it becomes a tale of emotions versus reason. We made this modification out of necessity, be sure of that.
You may have read in an interview that we had promised not to censor the game in the West. The statement applied only to the Velvet’s outfit at the time, and we did our best to keep the game as close to the Japanese version as possible.
This is the only scene which has been altered from the Japanese version of the game. Everything else is exactly the same as the Japanese version including costume designs which you will be able to see for yourself once we release the demo on January 10th.
UPDATE: We have received a response from Bandai Namco Entertainment America. Here is their comment regarding the edit as noted above:
As some of you noticed from a Tales of Berseria video posted to BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe’s YouTube channel earlier this week, a scene involving violence against a young child has been edited in the Western version of the game. As a company we strive to deliver a consistent experience between all versions of our games whenever possible. However, a few occasions deem it necessary to alter the original content in order to work within different markets around the world. The level of violence depicted in an early cutscene has been slightly edited to keep the game in a rating category as to not prohibit younger fans of the Tales of series from playing the game while keeping the original dramatic intent intact. Outside of small changes to text and speech, which is standard when localizing a product to territories around the world, no other content has been edited from the original Japanese release of Tales of Berseria.We are excited for fans to experience Velvet Crowe’s journey in Tales of Berseria and hope you are looking forward to its release on January 24, 2017 for PlayStation 4 and January 26, 2017 for PC via Steam.
Tales of Berseria is set to be released for the PlayStation 4 on January 24 in America and January 27 in Europe. It will also be released on PC via Steam on January 26.