After supposed issues with the voice work for Chinese Dota2 thus far, we have another, perhaps more predictable problem potentially on our hands…
After we entered 2013, rumors and leaks from various sources have all pointed towards a March debut of Perfect World Dota2 servers in China. And, two waves of beta codes sent out from Perfect World also hint at this.
However, now the longstanding practice of ‘harmonization’ of Western games for the Chinese market has now come to rest its shadow upon Dota2 in China — it has been revealed that, due to the game’s content being deemed overly violent and bloody, it has stalled in the Chinese censor approval process, and thus it remains uncertain whether this will delay the debut of Dota2 Chinese servers.
above: Steam chat suggesting that Skeleton King will be one to be ‘harmonized’, as his current model has no flesh, and thus violates the government’s ban of depicting skeletons in media
And in reality, there have been quite a few big-name Western games that met varying degrees of censorship after coming to China, such as the famous World of Warcraft changing its skeletons to much ‘meatier’ models, so here are our guesses for Dota2’s changes before it can go live in China:
1. Skeletons ‘harmonized’ — Skeleton King, Clinkz, etc
2. Names ‘harmonized’ — various hero names
3. Blood color changed — change the color of blood splashes, for example Phantom Assassin’s effect
4. Icons altered — seems like there are many places for this in Dota2
So if this news is true, then it looks like Dota2’s eventual debut in China may be a bumpy ride. And what will Dota2 look like after it undergoes these changes, will players still identify with it? We can only wait and see.
Dotaland note: Heroes such as Undying are unlikely to get through unscathed either, as zombies are also taboo territory. Online reactions from fans to all this have been overwhelmingly negative, with widespread criticism of this practice, which is by now standard in China, yet widely hated. Comments of “our taxes go to waste on such bullshit”, “harmonize my ass”, etc.