D3 Publisher has been at the center of the discussion about the tightening censorship policies on PlayStation 4 with the cancellation of the western release of Omega Labyrinth Z.
Recently, Twinfinite visited the publisher’s headquarters in Tokyo to talk with Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain producer Nobuyuki Okajima, who is also in charge of the rather alluring hack & slash action game Onechanbara Origin.
While the upcoming EDF release doesn’t include content that would be affected by stricter censorship policies, a large portion of D3 Publisher’s games certainly features imagery that could be considered at risk. We asked Okajima-san whether this is affecting the publisher’s upcoming games or not.
Okajima-san mentioned that certain games are developed exclusively for the Japanese market, where certain imagery is accepted and in demand. Yet, the publisher is very careful with games developed for the west, and those most likely won’t cause issues.
“You might be looking at it from a different point of view as we are. At times we create a game exclusively for the Japanese market since it’s acceptable and there is a lot of demand for that here.
However, we hear voices encouraging us to release it in the west, which always makes us wonder if that’s ok, and whether it will be accepted by different cultures in different countries, some times even by the government.
We’re extra careful with the titles created specifically to be released in the west, and these are most likely fine. We understand why some displays or visuals aren’t acceptable in those countries.”
That being said, games developed exclusively for Japan are also running into problems. We mentioned to Okajima-san the example of Conception Plus by Spike Chunsoft, which had a feature removed despite not being announced for the west at all.
The producer mentioned that while there have been issues in the past when the publisher tried to push into the grey area around first-party policies. Now he believes that they have a clear idea of what is allowed and what isn’t. Thanks to that, they’ll be able to continue creating the games they have been making without running into further problems.
“I don’t think it’s going to get worse. In the past, we certainly had issues with first parties, but moving forward, I don’t think this kind of regulations is going to limit us that much. I think we can keep making what we have been making.
There is always a grey zone, even for the Japanese market. At times first parties say specifically “you can’t do that” in their guidelines. It’s very clear, and we’re not going to do it.
There have been times when we tried to get around it, and we entered that grey zone. That’s when occasionally we had issues. Yet, moving forward, I believe we have a pretty clear idea of what is allowed and what is not.”
Onechanbara Origin releases for PS4 in Japan in 2019. You can also read the rest of the interview, focused on the upcoming release of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain.