Controversial North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has been removed from the Japanese version of Homefront, regional publisher Spike has revealed.

Japan doesn't support the North Korean regime, but as the three countries are neighbours - Japan, North Korea and South Korea - tensions run high.

Japanese ratings board CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organisation) enforced a few alterations on Homefront before approving sale, Andriasang reports.

In the Western version of a rousing video for Homefront, a newspaper clipping shows a picture Kim Jong-Il and then cuts to a funeral procession and a voice declaring that "the Great Leader's hearse is approaching".

The Japanese trailer shows only the funeral procession; there is no subtitled voice over or picture of Kim Jong-Il.

For Japan, Jong-Il becomes "Northern Leader" and North Korea becomes "A Certain Country to the North". To use their real names would have been "malicious" to an "existing person" and an "existing country", Spike explained.

Aside from those changes, Japan will play the same Homefront game.

Homefront poses the question of what if North Korea went unchecked, spreading its rule to South Korea, Japan and eventually America. Homefront is a first-person shooter built by Kaos Studios that THQ hopes can one day become a mega-IP, much in the same way Call of Duty has for Activision.

Eurogamer editor Tom Bramwell dived into Homefront multiplayer at the end of January. Coupled with a "bold" single-player campaign, he wrote, Homefront "could make for a game that injects much-needed new energy into a polished but increasingly homogenised modern combat genre".

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

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Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.