The developers of Nier had to create a different character for the game's western release, because Square Enix felt the North American audience needed a macho protagonist.
The original version of the character, used in the Japanese release, was described as "slender and girly" by the publisher according to the game's executive producer Yosuke Saito and director Taro Yoko.
"A heated discussion ensued once the American and European staff were gathered to discuss it," said Yoko.
"It was said that 'A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn't possibly swing a huge sword like that, it's ridiculous.' Certainly, if you look at American games it's always muscle bound mains who look like they play American football."
"We thought that as it's a new IP, it really must sell," said Saito. "We opted to leave the Japanese version with the girly character, and instead make two different versions."
"That meeting was pretty amazing," he continued.
"A lot of people were arguing for making only the macho old guy version for cost reasons, and we were saying "But if we don't make a girly version we'll lose heart and it'll take even longer."
"As a result, the Japanese PS3 version only became the girly version, and both PS3 and Xbox 360 international version were the macho old guy versions," said Saito.
The Japanese market at least seemed to respond to the 'slender and girly' version of the character when Nier topped Japanese charts in April. We thought it was a bit rubbish.