Idea Factory, the Japanese developer behind the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and many other titles, has stated in no uncertain terms that it has no plans to change its company policies in light of reported censorship of its games by Sony.
Sony has its own policies for what it deems acceptable to put on its PlayStation platforms, which has seen many games from Japan either heavily censored or not launch at all in the West.
However, the censorship appears to have now crossed over into Japan and China with Sony apparently enforcing what’s been referred to as a worldwide policy on what themes it deems acceptable.
This has sparked debate across the internet on forums and social media from Japanese, Chinese and players from the West.
In a Reddit thread, one user claims that Sony are enforcing ‘Western standards’ to the rating system in Japan rather than the ‘local rating system’.
This ties in with an interesting post on Korean website, “Game Focus.co.kr” which (via Google Translate), tells of the writer’s trip to the Tokyo Game Show last year where he met with Japanese developers.
One of the hot topics were Sony’s policy changes in Japan. He states that until last year standards for submission to Sony’s QA team were delegated by the standard for each country, but “now it is necessary to limit the expression of the game to a level that can be released to global standards.”
The writer continues:
One Japanese game maker who asked for anonymity said, “In the past, Sony did not restrict regional release if it meets national scrutiny standards. Nintendo was a stance that it would be fine for Sony to release it. “Nintendo has become more generous in terms of expression,” he said.
Another company official said, “We wanted to play the PlayStation 4 and the switch at the same time, but we had to negotiate with Sony to solve the problem,” he said. “In Japan, it seems that there are quite a few cases where the switch is released first or only the switch and PC are released. “he said.
Idea Factory Stands Firm On Its Own Policy
Criticism has started to pour in from gamers, seemingly sparked by a tweet made by Idea Factory.
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your love and support for our upcoming 2019 titles! Please know that our company policies have not changed and we have plans in place to make sure that we can bring all future titles to the West in their full entirety.
— Idea Factory Intl (@IdeaFactoryIntl) November 9, 2018
There’s various views on the matter from gamers in reply to this thread and various Reddit posts on the subject. One is from those who oppose all forms of censorship, while others aren’t happy that Sony are inflicting global standards on Japanese games which may deter developers from releasing them on PlayStation platforms.
One of the most recent examples is that of 18+ rated Dungeon RPG, Mary Skelter 2. This was reported to have been censored in China post-launch with a patch that removed the game’s Purification system, which allowed players to virtually touch the naked bodies of young females in order to clean away their impurities to receive a buff.
It’s suggested that other entries in the series in Japan will also not be able to feature ‘Purification’.
Treat this one as a rumour but Mary Skelter 2 might be affected. The Chinese version had to remove the purification system – and the devs are reported as saying due to Sony interference future Japanese entries in the series can’t have that feature either. https://t.co/0BqsR4Rqje
— Haris (@EvilFiek) October 31, 2018
Idea Factory has received a lot of support from gamers on social media. Here’s some of the responses.
The new Sony policy came out of nowhere. For most(If not all) Japanese company had contracts with them and plans for the near future. So they had no choice but to eather cancel everything and not get any money for a while and do these edits in the last minute.
— Duska Richárd (@Dicsi07) November 9, 2018
The new Sony policy came out of nowhere. For most(If not all) Japanese company had contracts with them and plans for the near future. So they had no choice but to eather cancell everything and not get any money for a while and do these edits in the last minute.
— Duska Richárd (@Dicsi07) November 9, 2018
I’ve bought almost all the CE’s of iffy/nisa games over the years, I have a shelf dedicated to Neptunia games! Sony has lost my confidence. I can’t preorder games since they can be censored right before release with no warning. I’m buying multi-plats on Xbox and Switch now.
— CatCouch/NSFW (@CatCouchArt) November 10, 2018
There seems enough evidence online (though we’ve heard nothing official) to suggest that Sony HQ are planning to implement or have already implemented a stricter policy on the type of content that appear on their platforms, choosing a global approach rather than a local one. This is either going to force some Japanese developers to think twice before including certain content if they want their games on PlayStation platforms, or continue producing what they want and go elsewhere.
Sounds from Idea Factory’s tweet that they’ve made their decision.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.