Guilty Gear Strive quietly removed references to Uyghur, Tibet and Taiwan

a dolphin interrupts a guilty gear fight
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
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To help you understand its convoluted, globe-spanning story, Guilty Gear Strive comes with an extensive in-game glossary. But late last month, players discovered that one entry had been altered to remove references to less fantastical elements of Chinese history.

Arriving shortly after launch, patch 1.03 (opens in new tab) was largely unremarkable. But users on ResetEra (opens in new tab) (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab)) have since spotted an unmentioned change in the update, rewording two sentences on a lore entry concerning "International affairs after the Crusades" to remove references to countries including Taiwan, Tibet and Uyghur.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco, via Aak)

The first altered sentence omitted mention of Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, originally reading: "Countries that had high population density and tended to import their foods, such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore could not solve their nation's problems with the availability of energy alone."

The second similarly cut mention of specific region names from the following: "China has further expanded their borders to encompass Uygher, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Siberia - regions with lower populations but a lot of natural resources."

At time of writing, neither Bandai Namco nor Arc System Works have explained the change (Eurogamer notes that it was unable to get response from either, and I've since sent my own request for comment). But whether directly or not, there's a strong suggestion that these changes were made to ensure the game's acceptance in China—a country with strict regulations (opens in new tab) on games publishing.

Other countries, like Australia and China itself, retain their names in the copy. But considering accusations of genocide (opens in new tab) against the Uyghur people, reports of mass labour camps in Tibet (opens in new tab) and increased tensions between China and Taiwan (opens in new tab), Bandai Namco may be choosing to play it safe.

Chinese-developed games like Genshin Impact already filter out (opens in new tab) mentions of regions like Hong Kong or Taiwan. But pressure to access China's massive games market has also pressured international developers, whether it's Blizzard banning a Hearthstone pro (opens in new tab) for protest comments or Taiwanese indie horror Devotion (opens in new tab) spending two years shut out of Steam (opens in new tab)

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.