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Developer Blizzard Censors ‘Heroes of the Storm’ Character over Ratings Concerns

Heroes of the Storm, developed by Blizzard Entertainment, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that is set to be released June 2, 2015, but questions have been raised as to why the developer is censoring one of the characters in the game.

On Reddit, a user created a comment thread insisting that Blizzard bring back the cigar that was removed from the model of one of the game’s characters, Tychus Findlay. Blizzard developer Phill Gonzales weighed in on why such an iconic element of the stogie-chomping space marine’s appearance had been removed.

Gonzales stated that the ratings requirements in different markets would have pushed Heroes of the Storm from the desired “Teen” rating to a more age-restricted rating if they showed the character smoking. He explained that “from a development standpoint we prioritize making Heroes and Skins as utilitarian as possible, if a single model can be used in all regions, that’s a huge win for development. In the case of Tychus’ cigar there were regions where he wouldn’t be allowed to smoke.”

The developer stated that they could either “make two versions [of the character], one smoking, one non-smoking,” or just “remove the cigar” altogether. He said that “making 2 versions means more data management, multiple duplicates of the asset,” and rationalized removing the cigar as “a decision based on productivity. The appeal of Tychus should not hinge on a cigar anyways.”

But there was some dissent on the thread. A commenter replied that he’s “pretty sure there are some regions that also frown upon cleavage, legs shown above the knee and even some that forbid women to show their faces in public. When should we expect [game characters] to be edited to appease these regions?”

Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter @Xylyntial.

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