Nintendo of America recently published Fatal Frame V in North America. For those who don't know, it's a survival horror game who's main mechanics deal with a mystical camera used to combat spirits.
For those who don't know the big issues surrounding it, I will sum it up.
Special Zero Suit Samus and Zelda costumes have been added into the game, but they have replaced the original bonus costumes that consisted of two lingerie outfits.
It has been revealed that a cutscene has been censored. A character, age 17, is working as a Gravure model, and is dressed in a bikini. The scene is mildly disturbing, which is the intended effect. The character is supposed to feel violated and unhappy, it apparently directly relates to her story arc. The scene in the US version has been changed to have a designer sleeveless shirt and skirt.
Not too big a deal for the cutscene, that's my specific opinion. Hell, I'll admit I'd like to have the lingerie costumes. My issue is I like to play games how the creators intended them to be. That's my specific issue with Nintendo censoring this release. But...
The Fatal Frame series has a trend of having alluring costumes as unlockables for characters in most entries of the series. Some are more fetish-based, such as a bondage suit, or are just atmospheric, like a kimono.
The game is already a niche title, and was not heavily marketed by Nintendo in the first place. It is additionally rated M, and contains gruesome scenes of violence.
An article on Destructoid called the situation a lose-lose for Nintendo, stating they'd receive backlash for publishing a game with such skimpy outfits, but why? Who is going to make a huge deal about this? The people who would be listening to that sort of negative press usually already have a negative opinion. You might get a few new haters, but this game is such a small blip on the radar for the Big N it'd hardly have any sort of long-lasting effect. Nintendo has more pressing issues, such as their online infrastructure, or the lackluster sales of the WiiU, to worry about creating negative press. An M-rated game featuring skimpy outfits is hardly new in this day and age.
I understand we present the issue of "localisation" but that practice has died down largely. This is also not an in-house Nintendo project, this is a separate team. Localisation is more of an inapplicable excuse. So many gamers, especially the ones attracted to this sort of game, do not require that sort of localisation in their games. They understand cultural differences, and many enjoy those differences. It just seems to contradict the target audience to remove the original costumes.
Maybe Nintendo is counting on a bit of controversy to fuel sales, who knows? The game has already been the subject of scrutiny for not even having a physical release in the U.S. Maybe Nintendo thinks that costumes of much loved Ninty properties will sell games, but really, that's a far reach. Digital costumes unfortunately are not amiibos. Maybe Nintendo thought such a niche title wouldn't be met with the same sort of backlash like a Bayonetta game would, (and it probably hasn't reached those levels, could you imagine if the censored Bayonetta 2 in any form?) Perhaps they want to advertise to a broader audience? Considering how little advertising has gone into this, I just can't see that in the realm of possibility.
I just cannot find a good solid reason why Nintendo would do this, especially in the age of indies. Indie developers have had a tumultuous relationship with Nintendo, and any sign of going back to the situation pre-Binding of Issac could scare some off. That's just my speculation though.
All in all, I don't get it, I've been given the variables and the result just doesn't seem to add up. If you have your own theories, maybe even some crazy X-Files theories, feel free to share them in the comments. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful evening!