Blue Archive has come under heavy scrutiny and criticism ever since its global release. Blue Archive functioned as a localized Korean gacha game for the longest time, but soon grew in popularity worldwide, a lot of which can be owed to the game’s risqué art style and character design choices.
Once the topic of the game’s globalization came into question, an obvious doubt to fans everywhere would be the eventual censorship of the game in terms of its artwork and characters, some of which tend to come off as quite sexual in their depiction.
When asked in an interview, prior to the global launch of the game: Are there any changes to the illustrations or the characters themselves for the global and Korean version?
The response from Nexon was as follows: I would say that the illustrations are the most important. Blue Archive is a very positive and light-hearted game, but some people seem concerned that the game’s artwork will be altered. Some of you may have noticed that we’ve been previewing the artwork on Twitter, so you can hope that what’s seen there is also in-game. That is, we ourselves have not made any changes to the illustrations at the moment. And we don’t plan to do it in the future either.
This statement was met with relief and approval from fans of the game who were awaiting the global release, only to be met with great disappointment and anger when Blue Archive did launch globally.
The game was indeed censored heavily upon the global release, which left fans feeling betrayed and agitated. One major controversy involved a scene from the original game with Alice (aka Aris), a character that certainly appears to be a minor, where she is seen to be shown topless, with only her hair barely covering her chest.
In the censored global release, this scene is completely zoomed in to only display her face, while cropping out the rest of her body.
While such censorship may have been the right decision due to the character in question being a minor, combined with other scenarios when the game has been censored, fans say that it was still wrong for Nexon to claim they would not censor the game upon its global release, only to go back on their word and do it anyways.
Blue Archive Producer, Kim Yong-Ha, proceeded to release a statement on behalf of Nexon’s decisions to censor the game despite promising otherwise, mentioning that the decision had to be made due to “external requests” without fully going into which organizations or individuals made such requests.
Hello, this is Blue Archive Chief PD YongHa Kim.
First of all, I would like to deeply apologize for the revision of the Aris scenario production in the global version. Before the release, we couldn’t fully consider the different regional situations that could occur in future updates. As a result, I couldn’t keep my word in the last interview, which resulted disappointment for Senseis who confirmed certain changes through this update. In addition, I would like to share you the official stance for future ‘censorships’.
I would like to inform you that the scenario difference between regions is not due to the policy of development studios and publishers favoring or neglecting certain regions. In this case, we had no choice but to respond to external requests. There were choices to be made among options such as removing the entire content, modifying images, or changing the production, and we considered the best choice was to change the production as it would minimize the damage to the content. We are fully aware of the importance of preserving the original contents, but we believed providing stable service of the game was more important.
We, the development studio, share the same wish as all Senseis – to be able to offer same service in all regions with original contents. However, it is also true that because every region has different service circumstances, inevitable modification requests can occur. In the future, we will update such modifications to preserve the original intention as much as possible. Also, we will include certain changes in future update notifications.
Once again, I would like to express sincere apology to all Senseis enjoying Blue Archive. I hope you all have a healthy end of year, and we will take steps to ensure that we don’t disappoint you in future updates.
Chief PD YongHa Kim
The apology was certainly not enough, and neither was it received too well. Blue Archive was review bombed by players on the Play Store, making it drop below two stars on its rating. Hell hath no fury like a Blue Archive player scorned, apparently.
What do you think about the Blue Archive censorship scandal? Do you feel Nexon made the right call? Let us know in the comments below!