The U.K. isn’t known for banning media. It’s rare to hear about a piece of content being denied sale in the United Kingdom, and even rare that a video game is banned from sale in the country. Well, the U.K., just banned a game for the first time in over a decade.
What was the name of the game? Omega Labyrinth Z, a JRPG from PQube and Matrix Software. IGN is reporting that the U.K’s Video Standards Council has denied the game a rating, citing that its content could prove to have a negative influence on younger gamers. Specifically, it’s noted in the article that the provisional rating of PEGI 16 would not be honored. The last game to get banned was Manhunt 2 for the Wii, which came out a decade ago.
The rating board’s decision is based on the fact that the game takes place in a high school and the rating board noted that one of the characters appears to be a first-year student. While this doesn’t sound like anything too special given that plenty of games take place during the turbulent time of kids being in school, such as the Persona series or other Shin Megami Tensei titles, or the Danganronpa games, the issue that the VSC has is that Omega Labyrinth Z has sexually themed content, specifically with the ability to proceed through dungeons and make the female characters’ breasts grow larger with their stats being increased.
The game also allows players to fondle the girls in mini-games and collect items like swords, shields, and clothing attire that was deemed “sexually explicit” by the VSC, and the sexually-themed mini-games to arouse the female characters were also considered “ultimately problematic” by the ratings board.
Some of the mini-games include shame-breaking the girls, by arousing them to the point where the girls experience heightened pleasure. This mechanic in Omega Labyrinth Z is very similar to Marvelous Entertainment’s Senran Kagura Bon Appetit. Interestingly enough, Senran Kagura games have all been approved and rated 16+ by PEGI, according to the PEGI website.
The Senran Kagura games have been made available since 2014 for PlayStation and PC devices, and the last game to come out, Peach Beach Splash, released last year in the summer of 2017. It, too, was rated PEGI 16.
Nevertheless, the VGC decided to deny Omega Labyrinth Z a rating because it felt that if the game had been released it would affect children in a negative way.
The big issue is that the setting of the game is in a school, and the VSC believes this could cause harm to children or young people.
PQube will still publish the game in Europe, just not in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Australia or New Zealand, all of which have banned the game from release. While the VSC mentioned in its summary that it only supplies ratings for physical releases, PQube mentioned that the game would not be released digitally or physically in the aforementioned territories. Omega Labyrinth Z is still scheduled to launch for PS4 and PS Vita.