If you’re a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, then perhaps you’ve seen a silly controversy surrounding changes for a Final Fantasy 7 Remake character design. Tifa, some concerned fans say, now has smaller breasts. Why does this matter? Well, there’s an ongoing conversation happening around Japanese games, with some fearing that titles are getting “censored” in America, especially after a report claimed that Sony was tightening up its rules about sexual content in the West.
I’m not here to tell you that worries over Tifa’s breast size are a sound discussion, because they aren’t — if the Mortal Kombat 11 debacle surrounding breasts taught us anything, it’s that people are really attached to big boobs no matter what the context. But the Final Fantasy 7 discourse did happen, which might explain why in a recent interview with Famitsu, Square Enix went on the record regarding Tifa’s changes. Tetsuya Nomura, director on the remake, says that “it was necessary to restrict her chest,” as the developers wanted her to have more of an athletic feel. She’s a fighter, after all, and that likely means she has abs and is generally very fit.
Curiously, the translation floating around right now mentions that an ethics department determined that “restricting” Tifa’s chest was done to make sure that she didn’t look “unnatural” during fight sequences. Without context, this probably sounds absurd; there’s a section of Square Enix that determines what breasts should look like?
A representative from Square Enix clarified to Polygon that the department exists to help ensure games follow certain standards.
“In the Square Enix Japan studios, the Ethics Department is actually a group within the company that evaluates game content to make sure it is aligned with the anticipated age ratings standards across the globe (CERO, ESRB, PEGI, etc),” the representative said.
“In this case, we want a new generation of gamers to experience Final Fantasy VII Remake and are working very closely with the company’s internal experts to make sure all of the game’s content is appropriate.”
It’s unclear whether or not Tifa’s breasts could have truly tipped the scales when it comes to the game’s rating.
The ESRB rating for the re-release of the original Final Fantasy 7 says it is T for Teen thanks to the inclusion of blood, fantasy violence, language, and mild suggestive themes. The ESRB website notes, “During the course of the game, a goddess-like character is dressed in a low-cut top that displays moderate amounts of cleavage.”
Tifa isn’t the only one changing in the remake: Every character has a number of tweaks and added flourishes.