Allow me introduce you to Agony. It’s a game where you are trying to literally escape from Hell by making your way to a mysterious entity known only as the Red Goddess. It looks awesome and gross and at its core, it seems to be a mix of the absurdly over the top mythology of Dante’s Inferno and the mysterious first-person plodding and atmospheric horror of Resident Evil 7. It is a survival horror game meant to simultaneously entice and repulse and now, since the eve of its release, people have been starting to freak out, but not because of its extreme instances of violence and sex but because of supposedly unacceptable levels of censorship.
It really baffles the mind. As someone who is supposedly a member of this community I can only sit and watch as my fellow “gamers” tear this indie developer apart for things seemingly beyond their control, a behavior that further confuses me since in three separate posts on the games Kickstarter as well in various places all over the internet they have reassured fans and backers that almost NOTHING was actually cut, just a few seconds from two of the games SEVEN endings. They even have a list saying that the game still has those brutal sex scenes (both gay and straight), drugs, children’s heads exploding, settings living beings on fire, and of course GENITAL PHYSICS! And yet it seems like they are getting review-bombed on Steam and every third comment on all of their socials is a tirade about the indecencies that they have caused to their fans in self-censoring several seconds from endings of the game and post-game content, all of which the studio has promised to release shortly in a video so that it will become clear exactly what had to be cut. For Christ’s sake, there is an NPC in the game who uses deformed children as the cement for a stone flesh wall he is building, how is that not enough?
Like..... just look at it. That is IN THIS GAME!
And it is not like the studio wanted to cut anything AT ALL but they promised their Kickstarter backers that they would have versions out on both Xbox One and PS4 and in order to be able to do that they needed to go through the worlds rating boards, an exhaustive process that the games studio, Madmind, has been working on for months. So please, give them a break. Unless some evidence comes to light that the studio is lying and actually made massive cuts you should be happy that this was allowed to be put out on consoles at all considering just how much wilder this is then a lot of other games out there.
If we, as a collective group, wish to stop being blamed for every school shooting, and if we want to make it easier for games like this to make it out of production then this propensity to freak out over every little niggling detail needs to stop. If we ever hope for our favourite medium to be considered an art form for all to appreciate that should not be censored due to its own inherent value, then we should treat it as such and not try and tear down the people who create these things with a sea of unwarranted vitriol.