Apparently JAST USA’s Family Project has still some rough sailing ahead of it. It was discovered that some images of nudity in the game were covered up with lingerie instead of being demosaiced. There was some quite vocal outrage over this, including on their own forums. Owner Peter Payne has now issued an official statement on the forums.
The events today started with a post on the No Name Losers website describing changes they’ve found in the localized release of Family Project. The post opened with a mention of NNL’s fansub of the opening movie from back in the day, expressing humility at what may possibly be inaccurate translations in the subtitles. This was followed by a statement saying that JAST USA had claimed that the game would be “fully uncensored,” with a link [via the Wayback Machine since the site has now changed] to the Peach Princess (one of the member brands of JAST USA) website showing that indeed the sales page says “fully uncensored.” Then, to invalidate this claim, two sets of images were posted comparing the original Japanese version of the game with the JAST USA release. One is from a scene in the bathroom, where Matsuri, one of the characters in the game, has no underwear on in the original version of the game but has pink panties in the JAST USA release. The other is from a scene where Matsuri is fully naked under a blanket in the original version and wearing a bra and panties in the JAST USA version. This post was updated later during the day with a pair of images indicating that Matsuri had a rolled up tanktop with a bare chest in a scene, which was covered up with a bra in the JAST USA version.
This post soon spread like wildfire over various Internet communities, eventually leading to a long thread of complaints on the company’s official BBS. A lot of the anger seemed to have been focused towards JAST USA’s not having notified the public of the changes to the game before the game was released, pointing to the statement on the Peach Princess site that the game was “fully uncensored.” Furthermore, one forum poster noted that when it was found that X-Change 3 had a lot of changes made to it, Peter Payne had promised to inform people of changes next time. Some wondered if these changes would mark the beginning of a slippery slope that end up with games in the future being modified as well, such as games from Nitro+.
After talking with some staff from JAST USA, it appears that the “fully uncensored” line on the Peach Princess website was left in by mistake after the game description template was copied from a previous game. In fact, neither the G-Collections site nor the J-List site from when preorders started for the game ever indicated that the game was 100% uncensored, although other games were marked as such. RightStuf’s listing also does not have this line, and even still lists the release date as the end of the month. The game packaging, the mini-poster insert, and the included JAST USA Dating-Sim Game Catalog 2009-2010 did not contain any mention of “uncensored.” As of this writing, the line on the Peach Princess site has now been changed from “Fully Uncensored” to “Fully Uncensored (update: 3 images slightly altered for content clarity).”
Peter Payne finally issued a statement on the company BBS, apologizing for not notifying buyers of the changes that were applied to the game. According to Peter, “a few sections were changed in the English version of the game, to make it clear that all characters engaged in any sexual activity or nudity were 18 or older,” which he said were necessary due to “the world in which we live.” The story of Matsuri in the game directly involves her being clearly underaged in the beginning of the game, and Peter states this as the reason they needed to add clothes to her. He says the alternative was to perform a lot of changes to the story in order to dispel the notion that she could possibly be underaged. Peter felt that changes like that would have really affected the story and that the decision to simply add some clothes to her and make some minor modifications to the script was the best way to retain the integrity of the story.
In closing, Peter vowed to properly inform potential customers of any changes like this to a game once the game hits golden master status. It is not clear if he views this situation as being very different from the situation with X-Change 3. Peter also offers to unconditionally refund any one who feels that they have been wronged by these changes and for requests like this and also private feedback to be posted through J-List’s website feedback system.