According to Gamespot, THQ, the publishers of upcoming first person shooter title Homefront, have removed all mentions of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il from the Japanese release of the game. They also removed mentions of “North Korea”, instead opting for the vague term of “a certain country to the north.”
The game itself is set in the near future, where a greater Korean republic has emerged from North Korea and invaded neighbouring countries as well as the United States itself (where the game takes place).
In promotional material for the game, Kim Jong-il has so far been portrayed a number of times in trailers and screenshots for the game, showing the reclusive leader saluting victorious troops for example.
However, Japan's video game ratings board, the Computer Entertainment Rating Organisation (CERO), has ruled that images of the dictator has to be removed. According to Japanese gaming site Andriasang
, CERO guidelines concerning living persons and existing countries have forced Spike (the publishers of the game in Japan), to do a bit of additional cutting and pasting on the side.
Luckily for Japanese gamers the changes aren't major, with Spike removing the image of Kim Jong-il from the opening movie sequence, referring to him as “Northern Leader” and also changed instances deemed malicious to an existing country, referring to North Korea instead as “a certain country to the north.”
Those are the only changes that have been reported, for all other intents and purposes the Japanese version of Homefront will be identical to the one the rest of the world receives when the game releases on the 11th of March. It will be interesting to see what kind of news emerges out of South Korea regarding the game as well as possible censorship issues given the precarious relationship between the two countries.