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Overview

At times during the localization process, elements of a game may be altered or removed entirely in ways that alter the way the game plays or the story is presented compared to the original version released in its native territory. Sometimes, these differences can be as minor as changing the names of characters to make them fit the localization's target audience. However, the localization process may also result in the removal of character abilities, alter the storyline by toning certain elements of the story down, or even remove significant sections of the game entirely. As a result, such extreme localization measures are often frowned upon by those that desire to play the game as originally designed.

Examples

Streets of Rage 3

In the North American version of Streets of Rage 3 (known as Bare Knuckle 3 in Japan), a number of changes were made by Sega of America. Such alterations include a ramped up difficulty by adjusting the game's damage values, altered the plot, resulting in several noticeable holes, and completely removed the character Ash, who is portrayed as a homosexual stereotype.

Revelations: Persona

The original North American release of the first Persona, known as Revelations: Persona in the west, received numerous alterations intended to portray the originally Japanese characters and setting as American. Character names and appearances were anglicized, with the most extreme example being the changes made to Masao Inaba. Renamed Mark, his character sprites and portrait were edited to give him an African American appearance, while in contrast the rest of the characters received only slight changes limited to areas such as hair color. The game's difficulty was also reduced by increasing experience earned from encounters, and a major side quest referred to as the Snow Queen quest was removed from the game entirely.

A subsequent remake of the game released for the PSP and named Shin Megami Tensei: Persona in the west kept its Japanese setting and characters, has a difficulty on par with the Japanese release, and contains all content including the Snow Queen quest.

Devil Kings

The Devil Kings series, known in Japan as Sengoku Basara, is a series of action games set in feudal Japan centered around prominent historical figures of the era such as Nobunaga Oda. However, in localizing the series for the west, all references to Japanese history were removed and the storyline was changed dramatically. It wasn't until the release of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes in the west that the localization began to stay true to its Japanese counterpart.

Yakuza 3

The third main entry in the Yakuza series retains a number of prominent elements of its Japanese counterpart, and goes so far as to not include an English dub. However, the localizers still chose to remove several side activities from the game, such as a quiz game and the ability to visit hostess bars. Criticism of these decisions partially affected the localization of Yakuza 4, which retains much more of the Japanese version's content.

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