Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Thorgarth
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Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Thorgarth » Fri May 27, 2016 2:26 pm

Since this subject came into question today, and it has been superficially, tangentially, acknowledged by Ulisses in the KickStarter page, and since so many of us Europeans who have been waiting for an english translation of the GERMAN classic, I reckon an Official statement from Ulisses regarding this the scope and breath of this censorship as applied to TDE products, both the Core book and any future supplement. Will it be felt in the text, the content (equipment, profession options, fluff text) besides art (which is, in itself already a concession I´m still pondering if it´s acceptable) and if there is any chance for us europeans to get the "original" and "full" content as created and idealized by the authors in an English european edition? It´s a shame that integrity of the original product needs to be compromised, especially if you actually look at what is at stake.

I must say that i was NOT expecting such an issue taking into account that this is a German classic, "sold" to english speaking audience as a fantasy rpg with German/european touch. I must say I find this, so say the least, almost offensive, having an European product censored by North American values and culture and then presented back to us as a European product.

I call for a Oficial Ulisses statement on this.

Thank you in advance

PS: It´s a shame this is my first post here, when TDE deserved so much more...

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Lambert
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Lambert » Fri May 27, 2016 2:56 pm

Of course this can only fully be answered when people can compare both versions but I think that this is blowing out of proportion.

I doubt that that a few "airbrushed" pictures covering up some nipples make any difference to the enjoyment of the game, but avoiding some bad press or classification as mature / adult might mean a far wider distribution.

Lambert

Eric USNA
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Eric USNA » Fri May 27, 2016 3:08 pm

As the social media manager/forum admin, I have not been privy to all of the discussions that have occurred around this issue over the last year. However, I will do my best to offer some discussion and perspective.

First of all, I do understand that there can be some puzzlement and even frustration when looking at art or entertainment through the lens of different cultural expectations. The discussion about what is considered acceptable in entertainment is a very old one. American markets do tend to be more accepting of violence, and European markets do tend to be more accepting of nudity and sexuality. These aren't the only differences, but they're classic examples. For example, an American audience might be confused and call it "censorship" when a movie scene is edited to remove a headbutt so as not raise the film's rating in England. (This has happened.) And here we have the converse with regard to the changes in The Dark Eye.

This is a fine conversation to have, and it's absolutely acceptable to raise awareness of cultural differences and speculate on the various reasons that such differences exist. It's even fine to wish that others shared your particular view. However, it's also important to understand that those others may have a view that is just as grounded in their own upbringing as your view is in your upbringing. Neither is inherently right or wrong, they are merely different.

Now, with regard to the approach that Ulisses is taking in this instance, let me say this: This release is extremely important in terms of opening up a brand new market. And yes, a large portion of that market is indeed in the United States. Our publishing partner is Paizo, our team is in the US, and we're trying to build a community here as well as in other English-speaking communities all over the world. We want The Dark Eye to be prominently featured on the shelves of game stores across the country and around the world, and frankly we are not going to be able to do that with the original art that appears in the German edition. Yes, nudity appears in American movies and art museums, and even other RPGs, but we want the broadest audience and the largest saturation we can get. Achieving that means something different here than it does in Europe. Many people might wish that were otherwise, but we have to deal with the market realities.

I can't speak to future releases, but I can say that the changes to the Core Rules are very minimal. And if there are adventures or novels with mature content, those are more likely to be released with fewer adjustments because they are not the Core Rules. A supplement can have a content warning without impacting the entire line's sales, but the main book needs to feel accessible and welcoming to everyone. Our primary goal is to bring in as many new players as we can, and we believe that this will indeed help with that.

I know that this isn't a perfect answer, but I hope that this helps you see it from our perspective. I hope that you can see why we made this decision, even if you don't agree with it.

-Eric

Uriel718
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Uriel718 » Fri May 27, 2016 3:51 pm

I agree that TDE has to make some sacrificies to appeal to as large an audience as possible. Luckily in this situation a compromise can be easily reached. I wish to see the original content, especially if professions or something like that are censored, but also the original European artworks. So either release those few image and lines (hopefully not pages) of text that had to be censored online, or as a $1.99 pdf supplement. I don't think a whole lot of people are going to turn their backs to TDE if they don't get an uncensored core rule book, if they get the individual censored parts.

Making and selling a European English or uncensored version, would be highly inpractical and expensive, due to layout concerns. And, realisticly speaking, I don't believe that could ever happen.

Thorgarth
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Thorgarth » Fri May 27, 2016 4:22 pm

Thanks for your reply Eric, on behalf of Ulisses. It raises some questions but it´s a very frank, candid answer, that, unashamedly, recognizes it´s a comercial/marketing strategy to sell as much as possible, relegating to second place any consideration about the integrity of the original work. Yes, yes, Ulisses claims that the changes are minimal, but then, continuing imbued with the spirit of openness and with complete disclosure, I´m sure Ulisses will clearly state what was censored to make the work more american friendly, on all of the book´s dimensions and elements. You must agree, of that I´m sure, that that is the only correct and honest course of action.

In all honesty I reckon I would not raise this question if this was an American product, and as such a product of it´s culture and limitations, it´s idiosyncrasies. The problem, as I see it, is that this IS an european product translated to English to offer it to a larger audience of english speaking people, and not just to the American public. As it stands I really have a hard time accepting it, though I will reserve my final decision as to wether or not I will continue to back the KS campaign till I get a full picture of what this censorship really entails.

In any case IF Ulisses actually makes the uncensored digital files available to european, or better, non-american audience, I reckon that would end the discussion. I understand that implementing such a policy on the physical edition raises too much problems, but at the digital level I see no reason not to do it, and technically it wouldn´t be a challenge.

PS: Just to be totally frank about this. I´m totally against the idea of paying more, be it 1.99 or 50cents to get the original, uncensored, content of the original work.
Last edited by Thorgarth on Fri May 27, 2016 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

james
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby james » Fri May 27, 2016 4:24 pm

Eric USNA wrote:A supplement can have a content warning without impacting the entire line's sales, but the main book needs to feel accessible and welcoming to everyone.

I am reminded of the D&D 3.5 supplement the Book of Vile Darkness. It was a supplement that clearly pointed out that it was mature content.

On a personal note: I find that my (I'm an American) sensibilities more reflect European ones- less comfortable with higher levels of violent content in media than higher levels of sexual content. I'm curious to know if that is something that is more likely to be pervasive among the consumers who play tabletop RPGs. I doubt there is an easy way to know.

Curima
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Curima » Fri May 27, 2016 5:12 pm

Hi guys,

so I'm the one who wrote the arcicle on the campaignmastery site (this one, in case you did not know where the information came from: http://www.campaignmastery.com/blog/loo ... -dark-eye/)

At first a big sorry to the Ulisses North America-team. I NEVER would have guessed a side note on my article (written to explain my love for the game to English-speaking gamers and maybe get some players interested in it) would course such a reaction.

As you can see in the article, I mentioned the fact of altered illustrations for the US version as just a random funny sidenote, which is all it seemed to me. I was referring to a German post on facebook posted some time ago (this one: https://de-de.facebook.com/DasSchwarzeA ... 63/?type=3), which translates: "Did you know? Since The Dark Eye is planned for the American market now, some illustrations will be painted in two versions. For example, this nymph will have a leaf covering her n*pple and wearing a tendril trouser for the The Dark Eye version."

So basically the won't be any black tapes in the books, as far as this post tells us, but the artists will paint different version of certain pictures.

This is really all I know about this. I have no futher information about anything being altered for the English version and I can, of course, not provide any official information. Just to make that clear.

I own the PDF of the core rule book and let me assure you, there are no boobs on every second page that will have to be covered up. I think the really nice artwork will still be nice if there are a few small changes.

In my opinion, it is totally understandable that Ulisses plans to sell the books in every possible way and does not want to deal with restrictions because a handvoll of pictures in a book of more than 300 pages. Pen-and-paper-books are not selling themselves, as I think all of you know.

And last but not least: For me The Dark Eye has a lot of things I love about it (if you want to read more, see the article linked above) and there are many reasons I have been playing it for 13 years. And pictures showing a lot of half-nude women are not one of them (meaning: I don't mind them, but seriously, you don't choose your game for the amount of naked breast you can find in the rule book, are you?).

I hope you enjoy the game and the kickstarter campaign. :)

colm33
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby colm33 » Fri May 27, 2016 5:31 pm

As I stated in the Kickstarter comments, I understand the marketing perspective behind the changes, I simply find it ridiculous that they are necessary in the first place. Hasn't influenced my decision to back it, but it's something that will annoy me now that I've been made aware of it.

I would second releasing the original artwork as an add-on, even a digital one. No-one has to pay for it if they don't want to, or get it forced on them through stretch goals.

Eric USNA
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Eric USNA » Fri May 27, 2016 6:00 pm

Again, I would point out that what seems ridiculous to one person or one group may seem normal for another, and vice versa. I understand that there's frustration, but please try to avoid being too judgmental just because another country or culture has different expectations than what you believe to be reasonable.

Nborys
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Re: Censorship - The "Blue Pencil" or "Black Tape" in TDE

Postby Nborys » Fri May 27, 2016 9:34 pm

Thorgarth wrote:In any case IF Ulisses actually makes the uncensored digital files available to european, or better, non-american audience, I reckon that would end the discussion.



And why shouldn't those of us in the US that are more open minded or just want the unaltered version not be given the same access to this if it was offered?


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