Omega Labyrinth Z has officially been canceled in North America, which makes the U.S. the sixth country from which the game has been banned. Publisher PQube put out the following statement this morning, solidifying the cancellation that we all saw coming, saying:
"PQube strives to release Japanese content for its fans as close to the source material as possible. In the case of Omega Labyrinth Z, while PQube has worked with all relevant age rating bodies in their respective territories, PQube must respectfully comply with the wishes of the platform holder and have therefore withdrawn any future plans for Omega Labyrinth Z’s European and North American release on PS4 and PS Vita."
PQube doesn't mention the reason for cancellation explicitly, but we all know what happened. With zero irony, and we imagine very sober self-awareness, the very first image from Omega Labyrinth Z posted below the company's statement was this in-game screenshot:
And perhaps now you're starting to see why this game was banned. The sexual themes and presentation are very often over-the-top, and players are often asked to "stimulate" the female leads by physically touching their breasts or other bits and bobs through a touch-screen, or by using the analogue sticks. A few of these characters appear, and sound, very young, which is pretty gross.
When the game was banned in the UK, the Video Standards Council pointed out that the game was even more troubling since it will very likely appeal to younger gamers. It's hyper-colorful, it looks bubbly and friendly, but it is absolutely unrelenting in presenting very mature gameplay opportunities for the player. The council said in a statement:
“There is a serious danger that impressionable people, i.e. children and young people viewing the game would conclude that the sexual activity represented normal sexual behaviour. There is a constant theme of sexual innuendo and activity throughout the game that suggests behaviour likely to normalise sexual activity towards children. As a means of reward gained by successfully navigating the game, the player has the means to sexually stimulate the female characters by using either a hand held remote device or touch screen software.
“The VSC Rating Board believes this content in a game, which would have strong appeal to non-adult players, is an issue which would be unacceptable to the majority of UK consumers and, more importantly, has the potential to be significantly harmful in terms of the social and moral development of younger people in particular.”
We can't say we disagree. We thought about embedding a trailer in this story as a point of reference, but it was just too creepy. If you decide to go look up some gameplay footage for yourself to see what all the fuss is about, just make sure you open that bad boy in an incognito tab.7comments
So what do you guys think? Is this a game that deserves to be banned, or is this another case of the West proving that it despises sexuality, while relishing realistic violence? Are we being too prudish, or does this game actually cross a line? Let us know what you think in the comments below!