Our friends at PQube have confirmed something which we have had some suspicions about for some time, their release of Omega Labyrinth Z, a rather risque rogue-like dungeon crawler where the main battle mechanic causes the character's breasts to increase in size when she defeated enemies, has been denied a UK Classification by the Video Standards Council. It was due to be released this Spring on PS4 with digital and physical versions.
This effectively means that the game will not be made available for sale within the UK in any physical or digital forms until it is able to be classified.
The grounds for the decision are detailed on the VSC website and summarised below and focusses mainly on the age of the girls within the game and the potential for harm to those players likely to play under the PEGI rated age of 18.
"The game is explicit in its setting within a “school” environment and the majority of the characters are young girls - one child is referred to as being a “first year” student and is seen holding a teddy bear. The game clearly promotes the sexualisation of children via the sexual interaction between the game player and the female characters. The style of the game is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18.
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."
In particular the Council highlighted the specific minigames which featured highly sexualised and explicit content, giving the following examples:
"The player touches certain points on a female character’s body to arouse them. A successful action will activate a “shame break” where parts of their clothing come off revealing more of their bodies. The female characters respond with varying degrees of sexual innuendo and arousal.
The player places honey on the girls’ bodies. A fantastical dog-like creature then proceeds to lick the honey off their bodies which causes them to become aroused. Like the previous mini-game, when they reach a certain level of arousal parts of their clothing fall off or vanish. As the dog licks at the honey, the girls respond with sexualised language. In both this mini-game and the previous one, if their breasts or thighs are touched a jiggle animation will be shown. Selecting the correct area on their body during a “shame break” will also result in the ‘E-spot’ being activated and the character will respond with heightened pleasure."
Given the nature of the game, this rating isn't unexpected given that the German and Australian standards boards have also denied a rating for this game and while PQube have not mentioned whether they are going to be appealing the decision, the wording from the council suggests that the game would only be made available with substantial cuts to the content, which I expect most players would balk at.
Given that we have had other rather risque games released previously, such as GalGun, Monster Monpiece, and these have gotten through with minor edits, does this signal a tightening of standards at the VSC? Time will tell.
For now though, unfortunately for those of you who were looking forward to this game, it is no longer available for order within the UK.