Shortly after the release of the 2D fighting game Guilty Gear Strive, it was fixed to remove references to knowledge entry in Taiwan, Tibet, Uyghur, and other regions. No mention was made of the change patch notes and neither Arc System Works developer nor publisher Bandai Namco gave any explanation, but it was supposed to occur in order to ensure that the game did not fall on Chinese censors.
Overall, it was a relatively minor change to just two sentences, but the perception of acquiescence to China’s pressure provoked a backlash, and now a “descending” mod that recovers the deleted content. The modification, available at Gamebanana, "restores the original Log 311 to the GG-World glossary, which restores mentions of Uyghur, Tibet, Mongolia, and Siberia related to the Chinese government, which was silently censored in a game."
It is not at all surprising that references to Taiwan, Tibet and the rest were cut. China’s massive audience of players is a lucrative market, but also difficult to navigate due to its occasionally arbitrary complex. content regulations. Content restrictions are not uncommon (Genshin Impact has a chat filter that automatically removes mention from Taiwan and Hong Kong) and even the powerful Steam giant is localized (and strictly restricted) to the Chinese market.
Games that break the rules, even in seemingly harmless ways, can be left completely closed: the cult horror game Devotion was removed from Steam in 2019 due to an image of Winnie the Pooh perceived as a mockery of the president Xi Jinping and was not allowed to return for two full years, a fate that Arc System Works is certainly looking forward to avoiding.
The existence of the modification may complicate this situation, but the reaction to it r / pcgaming the subreddit is generally positive overall. Presumably, this reflects the frustration of longtime players with the willingness of the Chinese authorities to curb the speech they find unpleasant, smaller-scale but similar to the reaction that followed the punishment of Hearthstone grand master Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai in 2019 after his Hong Kong liberation call.
It’s also interesting to see that modifications are used to restore content that developers prefer to see gone: the Guilty Gear Strive Decensor modification arrives less than a week after the release of a Mass Effect Legendary Edition modification that restores the infamous butt shots of the game.
I have contacted Bandai Namco for feedback and will update if I receive a response.