Censoring Crysis – Defeating the Potty Mouth

I promised you all I’d keep you updated on my clean-up progress. While I was procrastinating, another group of guys got together and blasted through the work in a manner to which only teens fueled by pizza and soda can accomplish.

I’ve actually tried their patches, and they seem to work well, making playing Crysis with the volume it deserves a much less cringy experience.

I’d recommend heading over to http://www.gamesoap.net. If their files give you any problems, just send me (or them) an e-mail. (Mine is {myfirstname}@wilcoxfamily.net.)

Thanks, guys from GameSoap. (And I’d add Company of Heroes to my wishlist for cleaned up games. I’ve looked into it, and even know how to edit the files; putting them back into the game is what I never finished.)

Blessings to you all.

Crysis rules!


This in-game screen shot shows some of the visuals that make Crysis so amazing.

Crysis is, without a doubt, completely deserving of the 98% score awarded to it by PC Gamer. Crytek built so well upon the immersive environment and storytelling that they had nearly perfected in Far Cry, that my kids and I have spent hours playing it, wearing out the demo mission, and then losing our lives for several weeks when the full version arrived.

Unfortunately, it has one small problem beyond the currently high hardware requirements. True to its military nature, the characters suffer from a severe case of potty-mouth. This really wasn’t acceptable to me, and Crytek didn’t provide a language filter or switch, so I decided to do something about it. And now you can, too!

Are you as smart as my kids?

There are a few assumptions here. I assume that you are reasonably proficient in a windows file system, and can do basic things like rename files, work with compressed folders (Zip archives), and know the difference between a file and folder.

Finding your starting point

First, find your Crysis folder. It’s probably c:Program FilesElectronic ArtsCrytekCrysis. Then drop down to GameLocalized.

Showing file extensions … step one toward becoming a power-user

For the folders in which we will be working, you will want to show file extensions for known file types via the Folder … Options dialog (see image below), unchecking the box marked “Hide file extensions for known file types.”


This is how to show those oh-so-useful file extensions.

Begin by making a backup

The english.pak file is the one you’re going to extract and modify, so we’ll make a backup of it first. Copy the english.pak file, and name the copy english.pak.original. You should end up with something like this:

The key here is, that the english.pak file is really just a pkZip-compatible archive with a different name. We can, using the wonders of Windows XP, extract it, modify its contents, and repackage it. (We could directly modify its contents just like any other folder, but there would be delays while the operating system uncompresses files that would soon become frustrating.)

Rename your english.pak file to english.pak.censored.zip.

Extraction

Right-click on english.pak.censored.zip, and choose Extract All ... from the context menu, which will open the Extraction Wizard. Click Next several times, watch the Extracting ... meter for a bit, and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Clearing the read-only attributes

To avoid possible repeated annoyances, you need to clear any read-only attributes on the exacted files. Right click on the newly-created extracted folder (which should be named english.pak.censored), and choose Properties. Click on the box marked Read-only until it is empty, and click OK. At the prompt that appears, choose Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files. This will allow you to do the renaming or editing you need, without having to answer 7,439 prompts.


Clearing the read-only attribute for a bunch of files.

In the newly-created extracted folder (which should be named english.pak.censored), open up the Languages folder, then the dialog folder. From here you are going to have to search for text within files. Ah, but wait! Windows XP, by default, won’t find text within files that don’t have file types it knows about. So, you’re going to have to tweak your system in one more way to find what we need within the .fsq files (to be explained momentarily) that Crysis uses.

Fixing the darned Find Text within Files feature in Windows XP

Find your My Computer icon, right-click on it, and choose Manage. In the Computer Management console, click the plus sign next to Services and Applications, and then right-click on Indexing Service and choose Properties. (We won’t actually be activating the CPU-wasting Indexing Service, but the setting to fix the Find Text within Files feature is part of that service.) Be sure the box marked Index files with unknown extensions has a check mark in it, click OK, and then close the Computer Management console. (See the image below.)


Fixing the Find Text within Files feature in Windows XP.

Search and destroy the #!%#!$#!@$ bad language

Now we can find and eliminate any language you might find offensive. You should have a folder open to something like english.pakLanguagesdialog. Press F3 or click the Search button at the top of the window to open the Search Companion. Click All Files or Folders, and enter *.fsq in the All or part of the file name: box, and the word you want to eliminate from the dialog in the A word or phrase in the file: box. In the example pictured below, I’ve entered nomad, which can hardly be considered profane, but you get the idea.


Personally, I hate the silly dog, and have hacked my account with TweakUI so it doesn’t show up. This screen shot is from my youngest son’s account.

Click Search Now to start the search. It will take a few moments to find the files for which you are looking, but you can start with the first one it finds. You will know the search is complete when the Search Now button becomes active again.

Right-click on the first file in the list, and choose Open Containing Folder. That will open the folder containing that file, and highlight the file, as shown below.

In my example, greets_02.fsq is highlighted. It isn’t necessary to do so, but you can open the file and view it if you like. (Windows will ask you how you want to open it. Tell it to Select the program from a list, and have it opened in Notepad or WordPad.) The .fsq files actually contain the XML that drives the facial animation when the in-game characters are speaking, and I found it fascinating. The files also contain the “real” text for the spoken dialog, which is why we can use them to find offensive language.

As I said, it isn’t necessary to examine the .fsq files, unless you want to verify exactly what the dialog is that they describe. Notice that the folder you’ve opened contains two files with the same file name, but different suffixes. The one that ends in .mp2 is an MPEG layer 2 audio file that contains the actual dialog audio. To eliminate it from being spoken in the game, just rename it .mp2_ (or anything else you like; putting underscores in file names is kind of a Geeky programming thing to do). I do recommend keeping the name the same and modifying the 3-letter extension, though, because you may wish to get at these files again later.


Renaming a file.

Once you’ve done that, close the folder that contains these files (the one that opened when you chose Open Containing Folder). Then go to the next file the search found, right-click on it, and choose Open Containing Folder again. Repeat as necessary, and run new searches as necessary, until the game reaches the language level you’re comfortable with. (My target was somewhere between rated G and rated PG.)

(Rather than just rename the files, one could use an audio editor like Audacity to remove the offensive words. It is my intention to do this with some of the longer dialog clips, but I have not taken the time to do so yet.)

Packing it all back up

Once you are done running all your searches and renaming all the files you wish to change (and this may take a while), as there are quite a few, the last step is to recompress all the files into a new compressed folder named english.pak, and be sure that file is in the correct location. Go back to your C:Program FilesEA GamesCrytekCrysisGameLocalized folder, right-click on the english.pak.censored folder, and choose Send To then Compressed (zipped) folder. This will create a new file called english.pak.zip, and will probably take a couple of minutes.


Recompressing the modified folder into a .zip file.

Lastly, delete english.pak (you should have it backed up as a file named english.pak.original), and rename english.pak.zip to english.pak. You should then be ready to play Crysis and not feel the need to wash out the character’s mouths (especially Psycho’s) with virtual soap.

Other possibilities

Now, if you don’t want to go to all this trouble, if you send me a really nice e-mail (or a 512 MB NVIDIA 8800 GT), I just might point you to a place you can download my modified .pak file. (Mine is {myfirstname}@wilcoxfamily.net.)

Next on my list of games to fix: Company of Heroes.

39 Replies to “Censoring Crysis – Defeating the Potty Mouth”

  1. Nice Geekery, Doug! I’m impressed.

    I just hope the author doesn’t try to sue you for changing their game like the movie industry tries to sue people who try to filter the foul language out of their movies.

  2. The computer gaming industry is really different than the movie industry. What I’ve done is considered modding, which is generally encouraged by game companies, as it tends to increase sales and dramatically extend the lifespan of a particular game. Most games (Crysis included) now come with world editors to make some such tasks even easier.

    Ironically, I hadn’t even considering using Sandbox (the Crysis world editor) to accomplish my censoring goals. I’ll have to see if it would have been easier!

  3. I’m glad to hear the gaming industry is more reasonable.

    The movie industry is more adamant about the fact that you will hear our vulgarities and watch our perversions and if you try to filter them out we’ll sue you!

  4. OMG this is SWEET! You know what would be even SWEETER? COMPANY OF HEROES! I was so mad that they had cussing in that RTS game, the ESRB rating probably moved from T to M because of bad language. (pre-release I saw multiple places saying it was going to be T) PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ do this for CoH!

  5. You can spend $43 at any Wal-Mart and get a DVD player with TVGuardian to do language filtering based on the captions.

    If you’re watching our perversions, you’re probably watching the wrong movies. Based on what I’ve read, the primary argument about third-party editing is that there are issues around having someone other than those who own it change the actual presentation of an entire film.

    What would be interesting is a dual-version release system, using Wal-Mart or online stores that would offer edited, family-friendly versions of films like the movie studios do for airlines. This way the studios would retain control, while offering a way to view some of the more borderline films.

    Thinking about TVGuardian got me thinking about games. As all the dialog in modern games is subtitled, a very easy way to filter dialog would be the same way TVGuardian works.

  6. The article that I was reading that linked me to this was on the PC Gamer website, and it referred to a story the published about a teenager whose parents would not let him buy the game because of the profanity. I appreciate you publishing this way to remove some of the profanity (which can be overdone at times) but we have to remember that this is an M-rated game (For Blood, Strong Language, and Violence) by the ESRB. It’s not like the profanity is the only element of Crysis that earns it an M-rating, but you have to expect some of these things in a game intended for Adults age 17 and over. The blood in the game can be turned off, as can the language we now find. Maybe the ESRB could create a rating levels system for different versions of the same game, if manufacturers were willing to retail a “clean” and “explicit” copy that would receive different ratings. Retailers are cracking down all over the world on selling games to minors and these guidelines will probably only be enforced even more in the future. Not that this is stopping minors from getting M-rated games, but the rating system really is put into place for a reason.

  7. I love Company of Heroes (got it free from XFX with my new nVidia 8600)! But I’m dismayed that my kids can’t play it (until I successfully hack it). In fact, this is keeping me from buying a second copy so we can play via our LAN.

    I had read that the audio files (I’ve at least narrowed down the file) for CoH could be edited with the scenario editor, but I haven’t been able to make it happen. Maybe this weekend I’ll have more time to dig into it.

    I understand Crysis getting an “M” rating. And I understand the irony of allowing my kids to play games that are violent while trying to protect them from swearing. (We also make them disable the blood.) It just seems to me that a language filter, like the blood filter, would be very easy for developers to build in, especially now that I’ve seen how the speech system works. (As a software developer, I also understand that releasing two different versions of the game would be prohibitive.) Parents wouldn’t mind purchasing such M-rated games for their children, if they could be assured that parental controls gave them a finer grain of control over the content.

    And there are games we wouldn’t purchase at all. Grand Theft Auto, for example, even if it didn’t have bad language or the infamous “hot coffee” issues, wouldn’t be something I would play or let my kids play, because the whole premise of the game is committing violent crime. I would play (and have played) Max Payne, but wouldn’t let my kids play it even with a language filter due to the “adult” characters and environments.

    Crysis doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t glorify committing evil deeds, rather one is clearly fighting “the bad guys.” Children especially love being heroes, and games like Far Cry and Crysis let us all experience, in an increasingly realistic first-person way, things that previously we could only dream about.

  8. I wish COD had a censored version as well. The key difference for the kids is that while they are unlikely to drive a Sherman to school and wreak havoc, they WILL have the F-Bomb coming out of their mouth, usually while at Sunday School.

  9. Hey, im the guy who got my letter posted in pc gamer mag about my parents not letting me get crysis because of the profanity. i ended up getting the game anyway, and its a great game! (despite the profanity) this stuff is a little to techy for me, but its great for all those others who had the same problem as me! nice work!

  10. You da man Doug. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for weeks now. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to modify the .pak file to no avail. Finally I got desperate and posted up on a popular forum that I would Paypal anyone $7 to modify the file for me. A guy responded with your blog site. Never even thought to look for something like you’ve done.

    I went through and modified the .mp2 files but I still get some profanity for some reason. Would you mind terribly if I got your modified .pak file from you?

    Thanks,
    Jason Walker

  11. Wow, I would love to know how to mod the CoH game. I love that game, but the potty mouth factor is wearing on me. If you find anything out, please email me. Thank you.

  12. Company of Heroes is next on my list. It seems to be possible using some mod tools, but it’s not as straightforward as Crysis was, as the sound files use a weird binary header that needs to be chopped off with a hex editor. The only “help” here is that there aren’t as many files to fix.

    I also need to go back and get at least one expletive I missed in my Crysis edits, and do microedits to the longer dialog pieces in Crysis.

    1. Hey Doug, did you ever finish editing Company of Heroes? It’s one I’ve wanted to buy, but didn’t want to put up with the language. Can you do a blog about how to edit the audio? I’ve been curious about trying some modding myself. If nothing else, those who’d read it might get the the end result we’re all looking for. Thanks

      1. No, I never did.

        There was a pretty big process to editing CoH. A special editor needed to be used to extract the files (check the Web, it was free, at least).

        I think I got as far as verifying the files could be extracted, but I don’t think I found a way (in my limited research) to put them back in.

        In the mean time, my own kids got older, and learned to self-filter, so the language hasn’t really been an issue for us … but I know a lot of people would love this.

        See what you can find, and let me know.

  13. I really wish more publishers would have “no cussin’ versions of games. I don’t tend to use such language myself and I love to computer game. Four-mouthed games mean you can’t play them with anyone easily offended withing earshot (to include kids, one’s parents. etc.).

    I am 48 years old, build my own systems to game, and actually installed an alternate language pack for FEAR to delete the f-bombs. The non-stop potty-mouth language is one reason I avoided its sequels and it is strike I hold against Crysis. Common games developers, let us have games where we can dial down the gore and cut the cussing so we don’t have to wash out ears out with soap after playing them.

  14. Turning off blood in a game really troubles me. Not because I love seeing blood as a result of violence but because it changes the experience. You should not worry that your kids will become desensitized to language or violence–>(which you don’t, saying that you see the irony. Do you?) but that they can keep experiencing bloodless violence and become desensitized to the true brutal consequences of it.

    Many years ago I purchased the original Medal of Honor game and its expansion packs. I was most disappointed not by that it was a crappy, linear, predictable shooter but that there was absolutely no blood. Killing Nazis in that game (and you would kill HUNDREDS like a super-Rambo) felt like shooting that little row of ducks at the carnival with an air gun. It was all so clean and neat. Your enemies and downed buddies would just fall over. Totally inhuman.. Made me sick. And they did that for a T rating? Should be the other way. There should be a harsh rating for portraying something so unrealistically and desensitizing young people to the unpleasantness of mowing down hundreds of human beings a few at a time.

    I should add that the first game that I really got super involved and obsessed with was Doom II (there were no ratings back then and anyhow, my parents didn’t get involved in my computer activities). I was 8 years old then and well, I turned out just fine.

    What’s really important is to talk to your children honestly and assess their maturity level (basically their level-headedness and knowing right from wrong). This is often quite different from their chronological age. Some, even older, kids are ADD-blitzing monkeys who burn ants with magnifying glasses. Most kids, however, are rational, calm and reasonable. They know that hurting people and spilling blood is wrong.

    What do you think censoring your kids from language, sex and violence will do for them? Do you think they’ll never learn about these ‘bad’ things? They will. Much sooner than you think. (Think your kids have never seen porn? Ha.) They go to school. They interact with other people and kids. They live in THIS world, the real world. The world in which shooting people spills blood, people in stressful situations curse and sex sells. You can’t protect them from this. If they’re constantly exposed to unrealistic virtual versions of this world then THAT can set up false expectations for them and give them wrong ideas. Is there such a thing as too young? Of course there is. Little tots can’t be expected to know right from wrong and so they shouldn’t be playing Crysis. One cannot talk to them anyhow. Will your 12 year old turn rotten if he plays GTA? Almost certainly not because he knows his right from wrong, especially if you’ve talked to him. He’s probably smarter than you give him credit for.

    Can’t show your kid Saving Private Ryan because it’s too violent? War movies are violent because they aim to show you the horrific and sad images that result from war. They show you how horrible war is and why we want to avoid it! As long as you talk to your children, they will learn positive lessons from things that you may consider inappropriate. Instead of censoring your children and avoiding issues, talk to them and explain how and why things are they way they are in this world! Tell them how you feel about issues and justify your positions with reason. They will listen and respect you for it and you will have reinforced their sense of right and wrong!

  15. I don’t want to get into the discussion of whether or not it is right to censor language etc from your children. I believe you are correct to do so Doug. Some people are simply educated beyond their intelligence.

    At any rate, thanks for the great work you are doing on pulling this stuff out. I am anxiously awaiting your company of heroes edits.

    Thanks.

  16. Strange how there is an option to turn off the blood but not the foul language. While the blood aspect looks cartoonish and because of that may be questionable as far as being called offensive, there is no mistaking foul language as being offensive to many and I think it adds nothing to the game. You can’t keep games out of younger children’s hands and I would not want to but as a parent I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids to hear it. Whereas blood is only seen by the player of the game, others who are not playing the game will hear the foul language. There is no reason not to have the option to turn off the language. This way if you want it it’s there and those of us with kids, even in high school, can turn it off. It’s a great game and a lot of fun but the language is so unnecessary. I wonder how many of the people involved with the creation of the game would care if their kids or families were using that kind of language? Kids will get enough of the language when they grow up. They don’t need the exposure earlier than that.

  17. I know this is for the XBox but I have 2 questions: 1. Does this work for other systems as well 2. What about a game with voice acting? Is there a way to silence it?

  18. Actually, this is for the PC computer, not the Xbox. Generally for voice acting on other systems, we just use the volume control.

    It is possible to hack the games on Xbox and other console systems, but it’s usually harder, and it’s not a technical area I’ve ever explored.

  19. Hey thanks for the info it was really nice, after 4 hours of deleting and editing the language i have come up with a sweet version with very little cursing and still keeps the audio but the words are refrazed with out the bad words thanks again! XD

  20. thank you for this information now do you think we can also download it from a website?

    and can we use the same proces be available for gears of war?

  21. Doug,

    Thanks so much for posting this blog. I got this last last Christmas (2007) and just got around to playing it. I been dealing with some personal convictions regarding my intake of foul language (especially the Lord’s name in vain) and was hesitant to start playing. When I did I was hooked almost immediately to the game play, beautiful graphics and storyline and blasted with foul language quicker then I could unload a clip from my SCAR. I was bummed as I knew that I wouldn’t be playing this game if I couldn’t get rid of the potty-mouthed AI. The I found your site.

    I spent 5 hours last night with your instructions and a trial version of FX Audio Editor 4 (the only one I could find for MP2 files) and I edited about 100 files down to what I would consider a PG-rating (no s-, f-bombs, Lord’s name in vain, b- or even a–h—).

    So thanks again for writing this blog. I am excited to hear that there are others out there that feel the same way that I do. I am also excited that the gaming industry is taking that into account and the newer games are coming with “potty mouth” filters.

    I am more than willing to share my english.pak file (its about 165MB) with anyone that would like it. Shoot me an email and I will provide it for you and you can distribute it from your site.

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide this gamer an alternative to the status quo.

  22. I have been looking for a mod that tones down the language for my little brother. Is it possible that I could get a copy of the .pak file?

  23. I would like a the .pak file also as my parents (mom) my dad couldn’t care less don’t like to hear dirty language in video games movies are fine just not video games. I don’t like speakers because I paid $50 for my altec lansing 2.1 speaker system. Even on the demo it sounds amazing.
    Sorry Doug but I just got my evga 9800gt 512mb and I would never give it up lol GO NEWEGG! AND DOUG!

  24. Thank you so much for posting how to do this! If it hadn’t been for this, I wouldn’t even have bought the game, and now that I’ve started playing it, I’ve realized how much I would have been missing out haha. The graphics are unbelievable, and the game is even better without having to hear the language.

    You mentioned that you were going to try to remove the language from the longer dialogue clips using Audacity, and I was wondering if you had ever done that? I would really appreciate it if you would send me the file so I could get even more of the language out. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  25. Thanks man, I’m 13 and I hate that every time the industry makes a good game, it’s rated M, crysis was mainly for the “Strong Language”, my mom might actually let me get crysis now! 🙂

  26. Could someone please upload the english.pak file to mediafire.com or email it to me? i seem to be missing it, coz my game is in german as i bought it as a birthday present when i was travelling through germany

  27. Doug,
    From one concerned parent to another: Thanks! My fourteen year old son asked for this game for Christmas. Because of trying to hurry up and finish Christmas shopping I didn’t do my homework. By the time I stopped to look at the game I had already bought this one and another game named Wolfenstein. I woke up this morning thinking I would need to take these games back as I simply can’t condone giving them to my son. With this information and perhaps by downloading the patch from game soap I may actually be able to give them to him after all. Again, thanks! You mentioned the possibility of acquiring some kind of modified .pak file. How would I go about doing that?

  28. Thanks for the kind words and yes we are fueled by soda and pizza. By the way we just finished our third mod, Crysis 2. Also for those of you who are wondering it took us around 34 cans of Dr. Pepper to pull this one off.

  29. Did you ever do COH or COH2 Mod for language? My son really wants to play and he just is not there for the language yet.

    1. Hey, this is ages old, and for that I apologize. I’m sorry. Essentially, my kids all got old enough that I was no longer concerned about the language. I did look at doing COH, once, but the file formats, etc., were more complicated.

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