With Omega Labyrinth Z being the first game to be refused classification in the UK for a decade — the last was Rockstar’s ultra-violent Manhunt 2 — there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the title.
With that in mind, I felt it important to express my own feelings on the matter directly to the Video Standards Council (VSC), the body responsible for refusing to allow the game to be sold in the United Kingdom, despite it already having successfully attained a PEGI 18 rating elsewhere in Europe.
If you feel similarly, I encourage you to reach out to the VSC yourself using the contact details on their website. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway: if you choose to do so, please keep your messages polite and respectful, whatever you may think of the decision. And whether or not anything changes as a result of feedback from consumers like this, we can at least say we tried to get our voices heard.
The letter I sent directly to the VSC follows after the jump.
Continue reading An Open Letter to the Video Standards Council
It was announced earlier today that the upcoming dungeon crawler Omega Labyrinth Z would be refused classification by the Video Standards Council in the UK, despite the game already having successfully attained a PEGI 18 rating.
The VSC’s comments on the matter note that the game’s “style is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18” and that “there is a serious danger that impressionable people, i.e. children and young people viewing the game, would conclude that the sexual activity [in the game] represented normal sexual behaviour.” It concluded by noting that the game “has the potential to be significantly harmful in terms of social and moral development of younger people in particular”.
Okay. Omega Labyrinth Z is a game with a significant lewd component. And, as with many Japanese games, visual novels and anime — including those with lewd components — it is set in a school-like environment, which is where the majority of the VSC’s complaints come from. But, as ever, what essentially amounts to “ban this sick filth” represents an oversimplification of the issue.
Continue reading The Case for “Adults Only” Ratings
Yesterday, DRM-free digital distribution platform GOG.com posted a lengthy interview with localisation producer Tom Lipschultz and team leader Ken Berry from XSEED Games, whose most recent localisation project Zwei has recently been released on GOG’s storefront.
Lipschultz in particular has been known up until the time of writing as someone who claims to hold a “zero-tolerance” policy towards content edits made during localisation of Japanese titles for Western audiences, but a number of his comments throughout the interview gave a few people pause.
And it’s worth talking about those points in detail, because some of what Lipschultz says unfortunately appears to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of where his priorities should be as part of a successful and prolific localisation company that has brought a number of beloved franchises to the West.
Continue reading Altering Content and Self-Censorship Pleases No-One
A recent article published by PlayStation Lifestyle suggested that Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki has considered toning down the fanservice elements of his most famous series.
Speaking with the site, Takaki-san reportedly said that he had pondered this possibility “a little bit… the game started out very small and that was the big selling point in order to move units. Now that the franchise has grown and is getting more popular, it might be worth considering having features that differ depending on where it’s being sold. That way it might be able to sell better in certain regions where it would be problematic to have that kind of content.”
He did, however, also note that “there are also reviews that ignore the games due to the sexual content, and write it off from the start, so those aren’t very helpful. If you’re going to write it off due to a main component then that game just isn’t for you, and that review isn’t really useful as feedback.”
I’d like to take this opportunity to address Takaki-san, Marvelous Games and any other content creators who make fanservice part of their work, and reassure them that their work is welcome, enjoyed and appreciated by fans of all descriptions from across the world.
Continue reading An Open Letter to Kenichiro Takaki, Marvelous Games and All Producers of Games with Fanservice