Sony does not seem to be backing down from their new policy which has prohibited titles featuring aggressive fan service from launching on the PS4 in Western countries. As Sony of Japan is now donning a similar policy prohibiting sexual imagery in primarily fan service titles and Visual Novels.
Before we get into the latest news it’s best if we take a trip down memory lane with other instances of games on the PS4 being censored.
It all started on June 25th where PQube announced that Sony had prevented them from a western release of Omega Labyrinth Z on the PS4 and PlayStation Vita.
Please see below the statement on the situation of #OmegaLabyrinthZ in the West. It is with sadness that we announce that the game is cancelled on both platforms and all Western regions permanently. We will not comment further on this matter. Thank you for your support. pic.twitter.com/ePmmiWSTAY
— PQube (@PQubeGames) June 25, 2018
This was a quite a blow to PQube who subsequently canceled all pre-orders on Omega Labyrinth Z.
The reasoning behind the refusal of a Western release was that it “failed” to meet with Sony of America’s quality assurance. The game was already refused classification in Australia prior to this, effectively banning the game from sale within the country.
Annoyed weeaboos were quick to blame PQube for making pre-orders available, promising the western release of a title without having it go through any rating processes.
PQube responded to such criticism that Omega Labyrinth Z was already rated by PEGI and the ESRB meaning that the title was ready to be released until Sony cockblocked them completely.
Omega Labyrinth Z received ESRB ratings of “M” for Mature for both the PS4 and PlayStation Vita.
Prohibition of Intimacy Mode on Senran Kagura Games
Earlier in the month XSeed Games and Marvelous Entertainment Confirmed that the Intimacy Mode on Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal had to be removed for North American and European versions of the game.
Intimacy Mode allowed users to ‘interact’ with the character on-screen by using a set of virtual hands in order to ignite a response from the character. This feature will not be present in the European and North American PlayStation 4 versions of SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal; but it will remain in the Windows PC (via Steam) version of the game.
When questioned why the Intimacy Mode had to be removed a localization producer at XSeed Games responded that it was due to a brand new policy incorporated by Sony of America.
Because this is a brand new policy.
— Tom Lipschultz (@wyrdwad_tom) October 13, 2018
People outraged by such bullshit policies moved on to question Sony UK on Twitter about the removal of the Intimacy Mode from the western release on a Mature rated title when other “M” rated titles are perfectly fine with graphical sexual content and were met with the blanket answer that the game simply did not meet standards.
Hello! I'm afraid that if content doesn't meet our standards, games do sometimes need to be revised. In this case, you'll need to refer to the publisher statement for more info about this particular change to this particular game, and the reasoning. ^DB
— Ask PlayStation UK (@AskPS_UK) October 15, 2018
While Senran and Labyrinth may not meet standards, one title that sure does is Dream Daddy, a gay dad dating sim featuring a lot of sexual content revolving around gay sex with hunky men. Such a pure title like this easily met guidelines yet Omega Labyrinth Z failed.
Sony of Japan Forces Censorship Policies on Japanese Devs
And finally it appears the land of the rising sun has caved in much like their western branches as they have implemented a new policy that forbids titles on the PlayStation 4 from featuring ecchi or adult sexual content.
It’s bad enough that they are censoring these sorts of games in western countries but now it’s affecting games released in Japan also.
The tweet from uitachibana showcases comparative screenshots of a recently released Visual Novel title, Nora to Ouko to Noraneko Heart. The title recently released in Japan and features numerous lewd and sexual imagery. The comparison includes the PlayStation 4 as the first image while the second and third are taken from the Switch version of the game and on the PC.
— 誠也さん＠がんばらない (@uitachibana) October 25, 2018
The Switch and PC versions are unaffected meanwhile the PS4 suffers from censorship, it must be sad knowing Nintendo care less about this than Sony themselves.
Further comparisons between the PS4 and PlayStation Vita clearly show that the PS4 version is being heavily censored. Don’t think for a second that the developers did this themselves in order to achieve a lower rating as all versions of Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart are rated CERO D in Japan, meaning that the game is intended for those above the age of 17 meanwhile just the PS4 version of the game goes this far when it comes to censorship.
— 誠也さん＠がんばらない (@uitachibana) October 25, 2018
Following the creation of this article Sony’s absurd censorship policies has affected more developers and their work.
Japanese Developer “Light” have expressed during a live broadcast that Sony have confirmed and are standing by their new policies against sexual content in primary fan-service titles.
The game being developed by “Light” is Silverio Trinity (pictured), a visual novel featuring suggestive and sexual content. The developers planned to release Silverio Trinity on the PlayStation 4 early next year as development for the game is complete.
But Sony is really playing hard to get by demanding Japanese developers to present their approvals in English only, a ridiculous requirement making it even more difficult for them.
“Light” mentioned that if they wanted to release the game on the PC via Steam that the game could be released the following week.
This is a sad thing indeed, sad to see how far Sony has fallen. Sony are really cracking down on sexual content or fan-service in games launching on the PlayStation 4.
Bouncing physics are not welcomed either in the eyes of Sony even if such games were rated appropriately, I wouldn’t be surprised if these titles or any other games down the road end up as exclusives to the Nintendo Switch.
An affiliate of Marvelous Entertainment has started a petition after Omega Labyrinth Z was refused release and Senran forced to remove the Intimacy Mode of their game. You can find a link to the petition directly here.