A stealthy Guilty Gear Strive patch removed reference to Uighurs, Tibet, and Taiwan in a lore related to China.
The change was highlighted on the ResetEra forum on June 21 after it appeared on Strive’s Steam forum following a patch released on June 18 that brought Strive to version 1.03.
Neither Guilty Gear Strive publisher Bandai Namco nor developer Arc System Works have commented, despite repeated requests from Eurogamer after the change appeared.
Strive includes an in-game glossary, which itself includes a large number of lore entries to help players understand its convoluted backstory.
The legendary entry in question, “International Affairs after the Crusades,” originally mentioned Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and the Uyghurs, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Siberia in its text.
Two sentences were changed. Here’s the first in its original form:
“Countries with a high population density and which tended to import their food, such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, could not solve their nation’s problems with the availability of energy alone.”
It has become :
“Countries that had a high population density and tended to import their food could not solve their nation’s problems with the availability of energy alone.”
The second sentence in question was originally:
“China has further expanded its borders to encompass the Uyghurs, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Siberia – areas sparsely populated but rich in natural resources.”
It has now become:
“The Federation of China has further expanded its borders to include neighboring regions with a smaller population but plenty of natural resources.”
Without comment from the publisher or developer, it is impossible to know the real reason for the change, but many have suggested that it was influenced by the Chinese market.
As Chris Tapsell reported in Eurogamer’s investigation, Video Games in China: Beyond the Great Firewall, under Chinese law, video games cannot contain anything that “threatens the world.” ‘national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity of China, “harms reputation, security or interests” or include anything that “undermines public ethics” or the “culture and traditions” of the China.
Why these countries specifically? China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population. China has also been accused of “forcing” hundreds of thousands of people in Tibet into military-style training centers. And the Chinese government sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually become part of the country again, when many Taiwanese disagree.
– Nabil #BLM #StopAsianHate (@ Neoxon619) June 30, 2021
It is the latest in a series of recent events that have highlighted the growing influence of the Chinese market on video games.
The stunning horror game Devotion, from Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, only recently returned for sale digitally after being delisted in 2019 when it turned out to contain an unflattering reference to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
In October 2019, Blizzard Entertainment came under heavy criticism after suspending pro Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for expressing support for Hong Kong during a competition.
In 2020, Animal Crossing New Horizons was banned in China after it became a haven for protesters in Hong Kong. Players used it to host pro-Hong Kong placards and share anti-Chinese protest clothing designs.
In October of last year, Chinese megahit Genshin Impact censored a number of words, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, in his chat.
And in February, Capcom replaced a Hong Kong flag with the China flag in Capcom Arcade Stadium’s version of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.