The Annual Square Enix Survey
Square Enix is in a bad way. They were responsible for some [or even most] of the most cherished viya from our childhood and adolescence. Final Fantasy is one of the most enduring franchises in gaming based on the strength of early and mid entries in the series. While Final Fantasy was riding high, Squaresoft was also busy releasing high quality original JRPG projects, any one of which could have made for its own storied franchise. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenogears, and Vagrant Story all made for cherished experiences. Even Kingdom Hearts, which is a thoroughly milked series at this point, started life as a one shot original project back in 2002. That was pretty much the last time that Squaresoft would allocate a AAA budget to an untested franchise, and just a year later their merger with Enix was complete.
Following that merger Kingdom Hearts has remained just the same, while Final Fantasy has been altered beyond recognition. Square Enix decided that menu-based JRPGs were no longer any good, based on zero supporting information, and so they set about turning Final Fantasy into a mash-up between Kingdom Hearts and an armload of pilfered trends and tropes from mediocre Western vidya. Final Fantasy has an identity crisis. Final Fantasy XV was utterly ruined with turgid automated combat, an open world with nothing in it, and a story so incomplete that Square Enix will still be fixing it until the close of 2019. Now Square Enix want to do exactly the same thing to the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and have ruined that game’s combat system, while splitting the game into multiple parts.
Square Enix’s house is not entirely rotten though, as Lost Sphere was okay, and both Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI look really good. So let it not be said that The Day Tonight does not recognise the few meager things that Square Enix does right.
One mentions all this because it is once again time for Square Enix’s annual survey, and so it is highly encouraged that readers who care about the direction of the company make their voices heard. Whether readers commend Square Enix for the things they do right, or chastise them for the things they do wrong – all feedback is important. Especially given that the survey asks whether Chrono Trigger is one’s favourite series, and whether Square Enix fans care solely about Japanese content – which in the case of this author is ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. So make your voices heard by clicking right here.
Sony’s Waifu Pogrom
Bad news for avid connoisseurs [like this author] of anime trash vidya, with news that the Western release of Omega Labyrinth Z is now permanently cancelled. The lewd dungeon crawler was set for release on the PS4 and PS Vita, yet it would seem that its content is too spicy for leftist Western sensibilities, because anything that appeals to the male gaze is heresy and must be immediately crushed. The game had already been refused classification in nanny states like Australia and New Zealand, yet according to Destructoid Omega Labyrinth Z had already made it through the ESRB and PEGI rating processes, yet its release has ultimately been blocked by Sony.
“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.”
Good on PQube for sticking to their guns, and one is truly sorry for them that their plans did not work out for them in this instance. Omega Labyrinth Z involves the player placing objects between the bosoms of cute waifus, and apparently this was just too terrible for Sony of America to countenance! It feels as though ever since Nintendo got back their mojo with the Switch, Sony have been acting like complete knobheads to compensate. Fuck them! Sony always becomes arrogant Sony when they experience too much success.
A Dingo Et Me Vidya!
Now for some censorship that has absolutely nothing to do with Sony, and everything to do with an old repeat offender. We Happy Few has been banned in the land of the dingo. Actually, the game was banned back in May, but this week on on July 3 the Australian Classification Board will be meeting to review their initial decision – so this situation could still have a happy outcome. The Australian ratings system has a few very specific hang ups, one of which is that a game will be refused classification if illicit drug use within the game results in a positive gameplay outcome. As the National Classification Code puts it games that:
“depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
The official language on the matter is not quite so clear, but the way that it gets interpreted is that positive outcomes for drug use is strictly verboten:
“A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing though the game quickly.”
So this is all very straightforward, excluding one very important point. ‘Joy’ is not a real world drug. Fallout 3 was initially banned in Australia because the original name of ‘Med-X’ was actually ‘morphine’, which very clearly put the game in breach of the Australian guidelines. By changing the name to the fictional ‘Med-X’ Bethesda were able to once again get on the right side of the Aussie censors. We Happy Few features a fictional drug to begin with, so it is quite perplexing to discern what precisely separates We Happy Few from Fallout 3. Lusipurr has pointed out that possibly the name ‘joy’ is a bit too close to something like ‘ecstasy’, which is certainly possible. It could be something as simple as renaming ‘joy’ to ‘chem-pill’ that convinces the Australian censors to ease up on We Happy Few. Then again, it is possible that the initial ruling could be overturned without any changes required. ‘Joy’ may have positive gameplay outcomes, but it is also depicted in the world of the game as a substance that has allowed a dystopian government to control the populace like sheep. We Happy Few is so foundationally anti-drug that it could have been endorsed by Ronald Regan, making any possible drug related ban quite ironic. Ultimately, it is just impossible to tell what will happen in instances where the Australian Classification Board is concerned. If worst should come to worst, then at least all of the platforms involved are region free!