Zenless Zone Zero isn’t even close to release, yet some fans are throwing their toys out of the pram about things that really don’t matter. The issue in question is design changes brought about by potential official censorship.
The People’s Republic of China, where Hoyoverse’s studio is, has laws and regulations mandated by the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a very strict regime, and as such, it sometimes passes out censorship to IPs made in China. Look, I fully agree that overarching censorship shouldn’t affect a video game, especially its worldwide release, but the differences here are minimal.
This isn’t Hoyoverse’s first censorship rodeo. Early characters like Genshin Impact’s Jean, Genshin Impact’s Mona, and even Genshin Impact’s Amber had some changes, which we got as optional skins in the West, that cover them up a little more (though not by much). More recently, Honkai Star Rail’s Ruan Mei may also be subject to some changes upon release.
But what’s going on with Zenless Zone Zero? Is the violence getting removed? Can we still use guns? No, and yes. The real issue is, drum roll please, the length of certain clothing items on three female characters, and a little less jiggle. Fans are livid. It’s worth pointing out that most of these arguments are on Reddit and X, which I’ll admit isn’t the pinnacle of well-behaved humans.
While it would be great if people were only bothered that censorship is changing a worldwide release, let’s be honest here. That isn’t why people are mad, is it?
So what exactly is making people angry? Zenless Zone Zero’s Nicole, a female character that is, um, rather gifted in the chest department, has put on a bra. Shock and horror! Seriously, there’s a picture just below but the difference is negligible.
A tiny bit of black bra appears under her white shirt, her shorts got an adjustment so they don’t have awkward pocket squares underneath, and – hold onto your hats – her jiggle physics are toned down. Really now, they were ridiculous before. Her menu poses also got a change, but if you’ve played the beta, the new ones make more sense than her showing her bum to the camera.
But that’s not all, no no, Zenless Zone Zero’s Nekomata, a VERY YOUNG character, got a tiny bit of skin between her very short shorts and thigh holsters covered up. From my point of view, as someone who has worn shorts and thigh accouterments, this change makes sense from a design perspective as the longer (I use that term very loosely) shorts would reduce pinching in real life. In the game, it just covers approximately an inch of skin. If you really find yourself getting angry at this, please take a moment and focus on something else. Some of you are very weird.
Soldier 11 also has a costume change – she no longer wears thigh highs, and has full tights under her – what I assume is a – dress, though arguably could be a coat. Again, why is this an issue, and why do some fans seem to need to see a handful of pixels of skin? There are sites you can go to for that sort of thing, you know. Soldier 11 isn’t going to flash you no matter how uncensored Zenless Zone Zero is.
That’s the crux of the issue, isn’t it – people are, for some reason, expecting titillation from a game marketed as a cyberpunk hack and slash, filled with combat, cool music, and cities to explore. This game is also rated 16+. 16 is still very young. Sure, Tears of Themis lets you romance characters, but no other Hoyoverse title does. Genshin? Open-world RPG. Honkai Star Rail? Turn-based space adventure. Zenless? Urban adventure with no conjugal potential.
Reddit user Piggstein sarcastically commented on a thread saying “oh no, my character just has [bleep] huge tits rather than absolutely [bleep] gigantic comedy water balloon tits, my immersion is ruined”. That’s how all the people complaining sound.
To appease those of you that absolutely must have boobs jiggling at every moment they’re on screen, good news, Zenless Zone Zero’s Grace and Zenless Zone Zero’s Rina have ridiculous jiggle physics you can ogle. Hoyoverse’s titles all have pretty ladies flaunting some fabulous curves, but let’s be honest – Nicole and Grace’s designs are much larger than most other characters across the franchises.
There’s also a cutscene showing Grace’s bare feet close up and you can imagine the reactions people have. Just, do yourself a favor and stay away from the OkBuddyZenlessZero sub.
This whole thing just feels sour. To coin one of the terms that the kids use these days, the community’s reaction to this ‘major redesign’ gives me the ick. It brings back the feeling of comic-book artists making absolutely unrealistic women pose with their chests flung almost out of frame, just to catch the eye of the male gaze. As a female player of these games, it makes me wonder how other players see real-life women, too.
By the way, some of the more graphic comic-book scenes have had a little tone down, like this one showing someone’s jaw exploding. Though there wasn’t any blood, it still had a change. Not that anyone cares, because there are no tits in the picture.
I just really wonder, why on earth do an animated character’s breasts matter this much to the community? The real issue the community should be coming together to overturn is the godforsaken energy system – please Hoyoverse, why do main quests cost energy to do along with every other mission in the game?!