With its update on April 8, the Chinese version of Azur Lane made several ship girls unobtainable in the game, meanwhile Girls’ Frontline removed its damaged clothing character artwork in its latest update – both games seemingly censored due to new rules in China – what happened?
What happened with Azur Lane, was it censored?
The latest update of Azur Lane, only in the China server version, made several ship girls, including iconic characters such as Taihou, Illustrious or Akagi, unobtainable in the game.
18 boat girls were affected in total : Whichita, Portland, Rodney, South Dakota, Belfast, Sirius, Exeter, Ark Royal, Illustrious, Akagi, Kaga, Yuudachi, Yuubari, Taihou, Hyuuga, Fusou, Scharnhorst, and Graf Zeppelin.
It’s important to note that the character weren’t “removed” from the game but temporarily made unobtainable. Players on the Chinese server of Azur Lane who already obtained these characters in the past can still use them in-game.
Moreover, while I cannot read Chinese, Japanese Azur Lane fans on Twitter, who translated the official announcement, mentioned developer Yostar stated all the shipgirls will be made available again at some point. The new methods to obtain them will be published at a later date.
Why is this censorship happening?
According to Japanese Azur Lane fans on anonymous message boards, and English fans on Reddit such as Baroness_Ayesha, this is due to a new crackdown by the CCP on “soft pornography” and “salacious” content in products such as video games.
MICA, the developer of Girls’ Frontline supposedly decided to temporarily remove all damaged clothes artwork from the game as a preemptive move. While Azur Lane temporarily removed some of the ship girls.
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At the end of the day, there are two most likely scenarios possible now.
First, it’s possible all the characters and artwork in every game will be back at some point, unchanged.
Next, the other scenario is that some changes and censors to the characters’ artworks will be made.
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that there are still ton of ship girls showing cleavage and the like, obtainable in Azur Lane, and how arbitrary and devoid of logic this censorship is.
Will other Chinese games such as Genshin Impact be affected outside China?
First off, Genshin Impact has yet to be affected in China. Looking at the reasons behind this censorship, even if it does get censored, it’s unlikely to ripple outside China. There are absolutely no reasons to believe so as of now.
Moreover, if you’re actually playing Genshin Impact, you’d also know Genshin is by far one of the tamest gacha games. Personally speaking, I think it’s very unlikely for it to be censored.
Lastly, note some Japanese fans are blaming this CCP crackdown for the Rosaria change in Genshin Impact 1.4. But I’d personally say that’s too farfetched. As of now, we don’t know if it could be related or not. And in the first place, we still don’t know why miHoYo decided to change Rosaria’s model. In any case, this is all we know so far. Rather than doomposting, like Goldman would say in House the Dead 2, the only thing we can do is wait.