It seems Tales of Arise is going to have a handful of changes on its PS4/PS5 versions due to Sony’s censoring policy. According to a leaker on 4Chan who confirmed that Tales of Arise was also going to be hit by Sony’s censor hammer. The changes that have been confirmed are as follows:
1. Multiple costumes (all female characters) have been made less risque.
2. There is a hot springs scene which is completely removed from the game on Sony platforms. It is not plot significant, but it is still removed. The area still exists but one scene from there is gone.
3. Associated costumes (bath towels) that are earned by seeing the hot springs scene in question are completely removed.
4. The gender symbols (in the ingame language) on said hot spring’s doors have been removed.
5. There is an optional scene where the female characters make sexual remarks towards each other. This entire scene is removed.
6. There is a scene where one of the male characters walks in on one of the female characters, and it is implied that he sees her naked, though nothing is shown in any version. In the Playstation versions however, the dialog is different and the sexual implications are removed.
7. A weapon carried by one of the NPCs has had it’s design changed. I’m not entirely sure what the reasoning is behind this one.
8. There is a scene where an enemy punches one of your female characters. In the PS version, she dodges out of the way but still falls down.
9. A dialog choice has been altered. There is a flamboyant character (I don’t think it’s ever specified that he’s gay, but it’s heavily implied) who in other versions, you have the option of questioning his flirting towards you. But in the PS versions, this dialog is changed to you just calling him annoying.
Tales of Arise is certainly not the first game to be hit by Sony’s censoring policy, a huge amount of Japanese games have been hit by this sort of censoring, including various anime JRPGS and even 2019’s Devil May Cry 5. The censored content usually involves removing traces of nudity or direct hints or references towards sexual connotations. The most infamous of these was in Devil May Cry 5 where there are scenes where certain female characters can be seen naked, in the PlayStation version however the nudity is censored by an omnipresent ray of light shining from the heavens to shield your eyes from Lady’s buttcrack. Such censoring has even been noticed in their previous title Tales of Berseria, a particular example is of a scene where a boy is impaled with a sword that was removed in the game due to censorship.
The reason for this absurd censorship can very likely be attributed to Japan’s CERO ratings board that are known to have some very inane requirements for censorship on their titles. Masahiro Sakurai, the man behind the Super Smash Bros series, has also commented on CERO’s absurd requests in order to allow products, mentioning that “They were being ridiculous and frankly quite juvenile” when discussing Mai Shiranui’s absence from the Smash series and the hurdles it took for them to accept Palutena and Wonder Pink’s designs.
Tales of Arise comes out next month on September 21st on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows.
Take this leak with a grain of salt for now, but all markers point to the same direction.