Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story is a 2.5D horror game inspired by the likes of Clock Tower. It aims to tell a dark and gritty story, and it also has its fair share of "adult" content. That includes character designs, attributes, and story beats that some would consider hyper-sexualized. This has caused a bit of controversy for the game, even moreso now that a Jan. 7th, 2021 launch date is locked in for Switch.
The extra attention the game has gotten made for troublesome times for developer Top Hat Studios. The company has been inundated with complaints and attacks on social media, with some going so far as to send death threats. In response to the backlash, Top Hat Studios has put out a statement saying they have no plans to censor the game. You can find their full statement on the matter below.
“With the recent news of Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story coming to Nintendo Switch, we are aware of a large amount of messages and demands aimed toward the games’ console platform release based on lies (claims that it is explicitly “pornographic” or somehow “encourages violence” or, most ridiculously, somehow “breaks the law”). Furthermore, voices have attempted to advocate making sale of the game untenable through demanding harsh censorship aimed towards the developer’s artstyle, with threats to “review-bomb” the game and/or harass its distributors. In addition, we have received death threats from those who feel threatened by what essentially boils down to an aesthetic decision of how pixels are arranged on a screen. While disappointed at these behaviors, we are certainly not surprised.
Let us be clear on this – we will not censor the game because of self-centered crowds who care solely about grandstanding. We categorically and absolutely refuse to restrict creative expression. Creators should be allowed freedom to express themselves, particularly when it is an expression of the subcultures they have been immersed in. As a cyberpunk game, Sense uses imagery and themes relating to a future of hyper-commercialised, over-commodified imagery as part of its cyberpunk theme and inspiration; this is reflected in ALL character designs. With that said, we expert that this is lost on those attacking the developer for being “harmful” and somehow inflicting “violence and pain”. Those who believe words or images inflict “violence” should perhaps stop spurting their own hateful, false rhetoric and also cease condoning death threats to those they disagree with.
We reject any and all of the aforementioned, brazen characterizations of the game, and would like to reiterate our principles against tampering with creator’s expressions. We would also like to reiterate this game is rated ESRB M (17+) / PEGI 18. This is not an AO game, not have any “laws been broken”, as some social media commenters have ridiculously claimed out of their biases. The game’s rating reflects the target audience, and yet this fact is lost on those who have been lead by a will to blindly crusade against their false perceptions.
Once again, Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story is rated ESRB M (17+) / PEGI 18. The game will release as planned, and without censorship, on the 7th of January, 2021 for Nintendo Switch. It can be preordered and pre-loaded now on the Nintendo E-Shop. The game has passed QA on other platforms, and release dates are being decided.
The game will not be censored. We categorically refuse.”