While us poor North Americans have to wait all the way until February 7 to get our hands on the 3DS title Bravely Default, both Japanese and European gamers have had their hands on it for some time now. Everyone seems to agree that it is the best thing for RPGs since bread sliced by a +1 sword of bread slicing and we here at Hardcore Gamer have been counting down the days until we can get our hands on it. Someone over at the IGN forums did a side by side comparison of the Japanese and European version and noticed a few differences in some of the female characters. The changes are minor, and mostly done to make shocking and disgustingly gratuitous young teenager cleavage into totally normal and acceptably gratuitous slightly older teenager cleavage.
The changes are all cosmetic including, as you can see from the above images, some minor alterations were made to the costumes. The European version of the game is on the left, and the Japanese version is on the right. It isn’t as if the European version of the characters are ready to head into the office, as I’m pretty sure cat ears and thigh high boots are not acceptable on even the casualest of casual Fridays. You can definitely see a bit of a change, however, as the woman on the bottom doesn’t seem to be wearing four belts held together by all the magic an RPG mage can muster. The other major change was inflating some of the characters’ ages to make sure they didn’t need their parents to sign a permission slip before they went out adventuring. The youngest character had her aged move from 15 to 18 with other characters also being aged a couple of years.
How much should this affect your anticipating for Bravely Default? Absolutely none. You should still be psyched out of your mind if you have any love for the genre at all. Still, while I’m all for making things the least bit creepy as possible, cultural differences mean things like this are fairly commonplace in certain Japanese games that get brought to Western audiences. Adjusting the age is all well and good, but honestly if you were bothered by this before you should still be bothered by it now. I’m pretty sure, “uh…actually I think she is 18” is the excuse used by everyone that ever appeared on To Catch a Predator and I don’t think that excuse ever worked on that show. If Nintendo was really worried about how this looks, maybe next time they should do something besides handing the characters a fake ID.