UPDATE 6 - YouTube clip of cuts side by side.
Thanks to YouTuber ‘topaxx101’ we can show you the cut and uncut clips from Beyond: Two Souls.
It may seem minor, but it is still another example of SCE cutting the entire PAL region to cater for a highly sensitive minority of countries.
UPDATE 5 - 09/10/13 Sony confirm that the US version of Beyond is Uncensored.
In a comment on the US Playstation Blog, Sony’s Derek Osgood has confirmed that the US version of Beyond: Two Souls is uncensored, and clarifies that the cuts to the EU release consisted of:
"…all that was adjusted is 2 camera angles so that a touch of the more graphic content is shown from a different angle and not visible."
We can’t wait to see for ourselves ;)
UPDATE 4 - 02/10/13: US version uncensored according to Russian news site.
Russian site Lenta.ru has reported that the US release of Beyond: Two Souls will be uncensored, and will be the same version on sale in Russia as well, rated 18+. Google translate provides us the following quote:
"As stated by the "Lente.ru" representatives of Sony, the game will be released in Russia unchanged. There will be available the same version as in the United States. She, however, assign a rating of "18 +", that is, the game will be designed only for adult players."
However, the translation could also be read as meaning that Russia will just be receiving the US version, and not the version with the EU changes. This leaves it open as to whether the US version is cut or not, as previously a German games retailer were reportedly told by Sony that the US would receive separate cuts.
UPDATE 3 - 01/10/13: Sony make statement to Videogamer.com.
Videogamer.com picked up the story today and subsequently received an official statement from SCEE:
"We can confirm that three minor aesthetic changes were made to the PAL version of BEYOND: Two Souls. These changes are purely cosmetic and do not affect gameplay or the overall story. The modifications were made in order to meet the requirements of regional ratings boards in the PAL region, and with the full support of the development team who do not feel that the title has been compromised in any way."
As with Ross Alexander’s response below, we recommend taking the feelings of SCEE and the development team with a healthy amount of cynicism until the game is released and the cuts can be judged for ourselves.
UPDATE 2 - 01/10/13: SCEE responds, changes apparently only affect “5-10” seconds of gameplay”.
We have just been directed to a rare (but very welcome) comment on the EU Playstation Blog from Beyond’s European Product Manager at SCEE, Ross Alexander:
“I can fill you in with more detail on this.
There are only two amends between the EU and US versions of the game, amounting to about 5-10 seconds of gameplay that’s not been removed, just edited slightly to be in line with a PEGI 16 rating.
For BEYOND we wanted to make the game available to as many people as possible, hence applying for a PEGI 16 rating. The 5-10 seconds I mention above would have upped our rating to a PEGI 18, so it made perfect sense to make these two VERY minimal changes to get our planned 16 rating.
I can assure you that this does not affect the game’s story at all, and that if you didn’t know these scenes had been amended, you wouldn’t even notice.
Hope the above helps to allay your concern.
So it looks like the changes weren’t made to satisfy Germany’s draconian standards, but to ensure a lower PEGI rating, which is believable seeing as it’s rated as PEGI 16. It’s interesting to note that in the US the ESRB has classed it as “M” which equates to 17+, presumably enough of a difference to allow the scenes to pass unaltered.
While we very much appreciate this response (as maybe it’s a sign the wall of silence is starting to come down at SCEE) we advise all our supporters to take this news with a pinch of salt until the game is released and the differences can be directly compared by the community. Remember, it was only recently that SCEE deliberately mislead gamers by stating that The Last Of Us was ‘uncensored in Germany compared to the EU’, when that actually meant the entire EU was cut to begin with.
We’ve asked for clarification that the US version doesn’t contain it’s own, separate cuts as we’d previously heard a report from a retailer who said they had been told there were by Sony.
Watch this space.
UPDATE 1 - 29/09/13: Separate cuts to be made to US version too?
PSN user Keiyuu88 has again been scouring German websites and pointed us to the Beyond: Two Souls page of games retailer SpieleGrotte.de. Highlighted in a news post on the listing is the following message (helpfully translated for us by Keiyuu88):
”According to our information, in the European version of Beyond: Two Souls two scenes will be slightly cut. This affects all European versions (UK, AT and so on), as always with Sony. Reportedly, the US version will be slightly cut in erotic scenes. This means, according to Sony, that there won’t be a real uncut version at all.”
A final sentence following that explains that they are unable to offer the US version for sale on their site due to legal issues.
To be honest we really weren’t expecting this, and it now means that there is no clear course of action for gamers to take to receive a fully uncut version - as one won’t exist - and instead it throws up a ridiculous situation in which gamers might have to decide which version of censorship insults them the least.
We are still waiting for official comment on this matter. Original post follows:
ORIGINAL POST - 27/09/13
We’ve feared for a while now that Beyond: Two Souls would receive the same treatment SCE has given their last 3 mature releases, and now we have discovered that Beyond will indeed be cut for the EU.
PSN user Keiyuu88 directed us to this video from german games publication ‘Bluplay.net’. It is a video preview showing gameplay footage, and features a German voiceover detailing their recent hands-on time as well as some key pieces of information they were told by Sony.
We sourced a German translator to help with the transcription (and you can find the original German in the ‘Sources & Links’ section at the bottom of this post), this is the translation they provided for the section at around the 5:13 mark:
"By the way the German USK version will be unfortunately published shortened. As Sony told us, two scenes of the game were extenuated/weakened. One of those scenes did we play during our demo session."
Now, seeing as Sony have made it policy to only release one version of their games for the entire EU (see our 'home' or 'case studies' pages for more information), and not provide individually censored versions for the countries that require them (usually Germany and Australia), it can be safely assumed that the EU version will be the same censored, ‘lite’, version of Beyond: Two Souls.
As sad as we are to learn that SCE’s poor treatment of their EU customers is continuing, it is excellent news that this has come to light prior to release, unlike their other recent titles which had left gamers unknowingly purchasing incomplete products at full price.
So, you still have the option to cancel that pre-order, and import the full version from the US, watch this space as we try to get comment from SCE/SCEE and Quantic Dream.
Sources & Links:
- Bluplay.net Beyond: Two Souls preview video (German language, key information is at 5:13).
- SpieleGrotte.de listing featuring the remarks about US censorship
- Ross Alexander’s reply on the EU Playstation Blog clarifying changes
- Videogamer.com article featuring official statement from Sony
- Lenta.ru article reporting US version is uncensored
- Derek Osgood from Sony’s comment on US PS Blog
- YouTube clip of side-by-side comparisons of the cuts
- Original German transcription from the Bluplay.net Youtube video: ”Apropos deutsche Fassung: Die kommt in der USK-Version leider nur gekürzt auf den Markt. Wie Sony uns mitteilte, wurden zwei Szenen im Spiel abgeschwächt. Eine davon spielten wir während unserer Session.”