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Box Art: Lost in Translation

Article: US, UK and Japan packshots side-by-side

It's no secret that there's a massive difference in taste between the Japanese, North Americans and us here in Europe. The marketing bods of publishers all have to take this into account when creating the box art. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. Very wrong...

A burly space marine with an assault rifle might get your game of the shelves in the US, but put the same box in front of a Japanese kid and he'll probably leave it alone. And Europe? We usually end up with Japanese boxes because, y'know, we're all arty and stuff.

We've picked ten recent(ish) games that have had packaging shuffled around for regional tastes. Argue over who got it right in the comments below.

The Boxes

Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm
Tom Clancy box art has always been a good example of regional tastes (in the marketing departments, anyway) and Jungle Storm isn't any different; big borders for Americans, pink sunsets for the Far East and ONLINE INCLUIDO for Europe. Nice.

Dark Sector
And here's the first rule they teach you in games packaging school; only Japanese and PAL box arts can be artistic/moody - American box art must be to the point and ALWAYS facing forwards. Also, the Dark Sector bloke looks like he needs to go to the toilet here.

Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
As with the GameCube version's original box art, Capcom has gone for a wicked moody piece on the PAL cover, and a 'Leon and his village friends' picture for the rest of the world. Perhaps the Japanese don't find trees scary?

Ratchet & Clank 3
Insomniac's platforming series exhibits an even deeper Europe/US/Japan box art rule; the usual 'Americans get angry, Europe gets slightly less angry' idea applies, except that the Japanese theory says mental and bonkers anime will help shift Ratchet from the shops a bit faster. Just look at those pupils.

Crackdown
... and here's another example of the same rule. Got an overly-Western free-roaming shooter to sell in Japan? Stick some bloody massive anime blokes on the box. Oh, and give a name that makes no sense what-so-ever.

No More Heroes
A lot of thought went into accommodating Suda 51's no-holds-barred Wii actioner to the West, including protecting us from the horrible red blood of the US version. But that's another matter. In short; US box good, Japan box rubbish screenshots, PAL box rubbish Photoshop skills.

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