Project Sense Devs Address Sony’s New Ps4 Censorship Policy

Suzaku and Top Hat Studios addressed the recent spat between mostly Japanese developers and Sony over the new censorship policy for the PS4. The developers addressed these concerns in relation to their game Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story, which is scheduled to release on the PS4 and PS Vita.

The news was rolled out over on the Kickstarter page for the game, where the developer and the publishing partner both had their say on Sony’s new policy. Ben Widdowson, one of the developers at Suzaku, explained in the post that they don’t support censorship of art (obviously, given the sexy nature of the game Sense) and that at the same time they understand the position of other developers who did choose to censor their art in order to keep their games on the PlayStation platform.

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Aura754132d ago

I would also like to bring attention to this:

- Allegedly, all communication and inspections with Sony must be in English only.
- Sony also supposedly scrapped their previous policy of following the 'local rating system' in favor of the 'western standard'. There are no such elaborations on what this 'western standard' exactly is.
- Visual novel porting to the PS4 is now prohibited outright when it previously was not.
- A Korean source alleges that Sony is pressuring developers into not disclosing which games get censored and citing Sony's policy as the reason. In addition, any complaints about the censorship can only go through Sony's channels.

Felix_Argyle_Catbro32d ago

Just what the fuck is going on with Sony? Did someone straight up insane become their leader or what?

Aura754132d ago

Who knows? Some people say it's because Sony centralized all of Playstation's operations in California, a state that leans quite to the left of the political spectrum. It has been around a month or so since we have heard about XSEED being forced by Sony to delay Senran Kagura Re:Newal to take out the intimacy feature that was present in previous games (without much backlash). Sony has been rather hush-hush about their policy in which they still have not make an official announcement regarding that.

There was actually one time where Sony did make a statement, albeit the PlayStation UK Twitter account. And this is what they had to say when someone pointed out why the intimacy mode of Senran Kagura Re:Newal was getting removed when previous games had it without problems:

"If every game released was the same, why buy the next? There may have been a change to said mode, and it doesn't meet our standards anymore. Please refer to the publisher of the game for more information."

Yeah... a rather condescending answer. Not to mention, the logic of the rhetorical question doesn't even follow with the person's question about the intimacy mode.

Shikoku32d ago

Its the new head guy he is taking a play from the Nintendo book of bullshittery.

rainslacker31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Most of their operations have been moved to their western offices in California or Europe. They're the ones that really run PS now. The Japanese side is mostly there for business related activities in the region, and to help the general logistics of financing and creation of content.

I'm hoping that all this back lash, which is probably the first real controversy they've faced this gen, will prompt the Japanese leadership to step in, because they are technically still in charge of PS, even if not completely. Unfortunately, this policy probably won't gain as much attention as the other stupid things that people have made controversies out of this gen. I'm surprised we aren't getting 10 articles a week about it, but hopefully the media picks up on it more, and hopefully more the Xbox fan boys stay out of it, because they'll just derail the conversation into something meaningless about the console war. That kind of crap we don't need, because this isn't console war related stuff, because its not like these games will go to Xbox instead, it'll make PS gamers more defensive, and ultimately, the more these kinds of policies are supported or defended the more kinds of censorship policies will come into place. And that's not a good thing after we've railed against this SJW tirade for so long now.

There are quite a few things in this policy which make no sense for the Japanese market to have to deal with. Like submitting in English for review by the western offices, for something releasing in Japan. Taking out apparent or implied inappropriate material for characters that may be underage is one thing, but this policy is rather wide in application, and deals with quite a few games which are both popular on PS, and have a world-wide audience. Maybe not as large as some of the other games out there, but certainly part of a fan base which helped build PS into what it is today.

What's ironic is Nintendo seems to be more open to this kind of content now, because they were pretty stodgy in keeping it off their system completely in the west, although it existed in japan to a lesser degree.

InKnight7s32d ago

But they are supporting LGBT in TLoU:II !!!! This westren stream is ruining gaming experience since HD become a thing in consoles.

Godmars29032d ago

Wow, been saying that since the PS3/360 days...

rainslacker31d ago

And how many people said this kind of crap would start to happen because of that SJW bullshit that started with Sarkeesian and Alexander?

I never expected Sony to be the first to capitulate though. If anything, I expected them to remain as hands off as possible until they just couldn't avoid it anymore....which I hoped it would never get to that point, and most of this nonsense would stay rather isolated to twitter and SJW leaning publications....with no real real world impact on the games themselves, which would just use the controversies for free publicity.

I wish more people would come down hard on Sony over this. It's too slippery slope for my tastes, and there is no need for them to go to such an extreme. Especially in the scope, and rather sudden implementation of it. Particularly in relation to global markets, where the western sensibilities don't usually have much influence on their feelings on this kind of content.

FinalFantasyFanatic32d ago

If this is really the cases, I'm buying the majority of my games on PC or Switch and just the must have exclusives on Playstation. This is complete dickery.

rainslacker31d ago

The fact they implemented this policy so suddenly is really baffling. For the life of me I can't figure out what prompted them to do that. I can see why they may want to "westernize" the content over a set period of time, even if I completely disagree and think they shouldn't, but to just suddenly start turning away games well into development, one that was actually just sent in for certification with no idea it was about to happen, is really a bad way to conduct business with publishers and developers. So much of their time and resources wasted, which could have been better suited towards making other features in the game if they knew it wouldn't be included.

On top of that, since none of these projects that are well along are likely to just be outright cancelled, because it would mean they'd lose too much of investors funds, and the producer wouldn't allow it, it means these companies run the risk of looking like they're censoring the games themselves, which they tend to get a lot of grief over. So it's nice to see they're getting ahead of that now....although I do think some of these features or scenes may have been censored for the west anyhow. But the Japanese gamer obviously would have more reason to be upset about it.

I don't think visual novel porting itself is prohibited, just that which features eroge content. So things like Steins gate should still be safe.

I'm dubious on that last claim you list. Sony enacts policies, and while they do have NDA's pertaining to those things, that NDA only extends to the specific relay of the policy, not its enforcement, or what a dev may have to do because of said policies, or how it relates to their own product. In other words, it states that you can't expressly cite Sony just to cite the policy for no reason, but a generalized comment isn't prohibited. Sony can only go so far to piss off its publishers and developers, and generally, they don't concern themselves with that kind of media attention except in the cases of potential to reveal sensitive information or security risks.

that being said, I guess this is what we get when PS is run through its western offices, instead of through Japan, but it baffles me why Japan's head offices were so complacent with it. Its even more baffling why they enacted the policy so suddenly, instead of their typical route of giving devs and pubs plenty of time to adjust their work outside of extreme cases.

I'd really like to know what prompted Sony to make this change, because outside of some vocal SJW crap we've been seeing for years now, nothing new or big has come down the line which made it seem like anything had to be done about it by the console makers, as they already outright prohibited things that went too far, or were just soft/hard core porn(NSFW type articles we see around here type games).

This censorship policy by Sony just doesn't make sense, and it needs to end, and Sony needs to make an official comment about it so we know better how to tell them why they're wrong for doing it....unless they have a damn good reason for implementing it....which is doubtful since most of these games were fairly tame to begin with.

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gamer780432d ago

I wonder what xbox's policy is, I know they don't get many Japanese games period but they are starting to get more recently.

Felix_Argyle_Catbro32d ago

Like Nintendo, they don't do censorship. At least not as much.

Yeah, that's right. Even Nintendo doesn't support censorship.

CarlDechance32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Really? So you've read their policies? At least not as much? So where do they draw the line?

parris32d ago

You know they censored Conan right?

Their censorship is not having any small Japanese publishers, at least Sony has the games.

annoyedgamer32d ago

They will follow suit. I got alot of emails from them and the wording in it was very SJW friendly. Im an Xbox fan but I will not make excuses for M$.

DJK1NG_Gaming32d ago

Nintendo doesn't censor third party games and that is a fact. They haven't since Mortal Kombat.

parris31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

That's not true, they censored a bunch of games on WiIU, i don't remember all of them but I remember Tokyo Mirage Sessions and Xenoblade.

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Silly gameAr32d ago

Whatever it is, it wouldn't be talked about or handled like this. It would probably go unnoticed like it was no big deal.

DJK1NG_Gaming32d ago

Its because Phil Spencer been going to Japan.
All the recent good move Xbox been making is because of him.

rainslacker31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

As of right now, its what PS policies have always been up until recently. Some rather extreme cases may be asked to censor on a case by case basis. Certain kinds of obviously inappropriate content is not allowed. AO ratings are not allowed. Certain explicit representations aren't allowed. But other than that, it's pretty hands off, and more handled by local ratings boards for where the game might release...which makes an M or equivalent rating about as far as the games would ever go.

Publishers and devs would censor based on regions, but do that on their own accord, not by the hands of the console maker themselves.


Censorship and outright banning of material are two different things. Sony is banning certain kinds of content, and they're saying that if a game contains certain kinds of content that it has to be removed to publish on the system. Sony isn't forcing censorship, just forcing what is acceptable to meet compliance....which all games face because certain kinds of content aren't allowed. All games have to be designed within those confines. All console makers have those kinds of policies.

Sony's policy here is just the most extreme case of it, and had the policies been enacted to happen further down the road, instead of just suddenly for games well into development, this probably never would have been much of an issue, because the games would have been designed around those policies. It's just highlighted now, because we suddenly have all these games that will have to be changed or censored to release on PS.

As far as Nintendo goes, they do have things they didn't allow on the systems from time to time. Copious depictions of blood was a thing in the Wii days....although I think they changed that. Funny thing is though, most of the changes are to get support from western games which depict certain things, whereas this policy will actually remove support because its being implemented.

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Godmars29032d ago

And now you have my attention as well as my disgust.

Maybe there was argument were pandering fan service was involved, but not something involving actual adult themes. nevermind that Sony's maybe getting the nerve to strong arm other markets to fall in line with one.

ShockUltraslash32d ago

We need to fight back against this oppression.

Godmars29032d ago

The only real way to fight back is not buy the PS4/5, making it clear that's why, then buying a platform that one. Then many, many, others following suit.

So, just get a gaming PC.

rainslacker31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

My problem is that while I like these games, I'm not ready to swear off PS just yet. I'll buy those games on my Switch, or some other console if they exist. I'd rather give that support to PS for those games, since it's currently my preferred way to game. Beyond that, my reasons for buying PS range to many games with these particular games being fairly low on the list.

However, I am 100% against this policy, and think it needs to be changed immediately.

I'm just curious if Sony will feel the effects of the lost licensing revenue they lose from the sale of these games. While any individual game isn't that much in itself, a wide sweeping policy like this will add up to millions of games a year. Given the average licensing cost, that's probably a few hundred million over the course of a generation. not to mention the prospect that they may lose customers for their hardware, because I've always been a firm believer that Sony's success is because they cater to every market, and not just those that are more narrowly based on the mainstream. A few thousand here, a few thousand users there, has always served them well, because the otaku gamer tends to have a rather varied taste in games.

But I just don't know how this will all play out in the long run, and it seems like a policy that is really unnecessary, because I haven't seen any undue pressure placed on the console makers to rectify a situation that was only a problem to a small vocal group of social media whiners. If Sony is going to capitulate to a group of people who don't even use their products or services, then that means they could start capitulating to any number of stupid agendas that come along in the future. It wasn't really that long ago that the entire industry fought against this kind of stuff, and they still fight it today with the violence in gaming being seen as needing censoring. In fact, more people say that needs to be censored than I've seen people saying provocative sexy content needs to be.

The policies just make no damn sense. I could maybe understand if it was just the apparently underage stuff, but not as wide sweeping as this particular policy is.

Godmars29031d ago (Edited 31d ago )

We're talking about select minority of titles that represent a fraction what's available on the PS4. What "millions" you're talking about losing likely doesn't constitute a drop in the bucket versus a AAA like Spiderman. And then that's if the dev does put their T&A fan service title on the console sans T&A.

And hell, I want to make a real argument regarding adult themes and narrative, of which many-many of the games effected here don't qualify, but then that possible era's long and gone.

Aura754132d ago

Well, even though I don't believe petitions do much and serve more as a tally for how many people are willing to support a cause, here's the link to the petition:

It's close to eclipsing 7,500 signatures, but as Godmars said, you voting with your wallet is the best option. Almost every Japanese game is on the PC anyways and Nintendo has been more supportive of the niche Japanese developers/publishers.

rainslacker31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Couple weeks ago it was at about 2500, so it's getting up there. Hopefully if enough people complain, and the developers keep putting pressure on them, they'll change their mind. The topic needs to get more traction, but with today's media being all up SJW ass, I just don't see it happening. If anything, the'll probably praise Sony over this, and use it as a reason to cast shame on gamers.

However, I do believe your right, the petition itself won't do much on its own. I've seen more signatures for a NISA Gust game, and it didn't do anything, and that represented about 10% of the people who brought the game.

Felix_Argyle_Catbro32d ago

Gay dating simulator Dream Daddy was released on the PS4 with even more content than the PC version, and there have been no announcements about the game having to be censored. This also came shortly after Omega Labyrinth Z and Super Seducer were both banned from being released in the West on the PS4, despite the fact that Super Seducer has no nudity in it.

What does Sony have against straight male gamers?

drpepperdude32d ago

PlayStation's headquarters is in California, what do you expect?

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