The president of SCEJA has seemingly provided the first official comment on the censorship row that has affected multiple PlayStation games over the past few months. Posted on Japanese website Ebitsu.net – but without official translation or verification just yet – Atsushi Morita purportedly told attendees at a Japan Studio event that “expression restrictions [have been] adjusted to the global standards”. He apparently concluded: “Considering the balance between freedom of expression and safety to children, I think that it is a difficult problem.”
Sony has controversially requested changes to a number of games now, many of which depicting underage children in compromising positions. In some games you’re able to touch and fondle the minors against their will; others merely place them in highly sexualised situations. Sometimes the characters are attributed adult ages in the fiction, despite their appearance suggesting otherwise.
One such franchise that’s been affected is Senran Kagura, and the producer of the latest game Kenichiro Takaki has told Akiba Souken that the next title in the series is going to take time as it deals with these new regulations. “We have to make games in a way that they aren’t misunderstood,” he said, as translated by Gematsu. “Certain things are harder than they’ve ever been before. Given that, I think [the game] is going to take some time.”
This is a story that’s going to rumble and rumble, and it’s become such a hot topic because fans are divided over it. Many feel that the ratings boards exist to filter content, and game creators should be able to release whatever they like as long as it abides those guidelines. Others argue that Sony, as the platform holder, has a right to restrict the release of highly sexual content involving minors. Some may counter that murder and violence is accepted, so how is this any different?
As Morita himself put it: it’s a difficult problem.