Image: Top Hat Studios

Top Hat Studios, the New York-based developer behind the recently released and well-reviewed Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story, has shared a statement noting that it has no intention of censoring the 2.5D horror game despite receiving death threats over its art and visual style. The controversy seems to stem from the fact that many of the female characters feature huge breasts, which has prompted a bevy of heated exchanges over social media and the developer’s own inboxes.

“[…] 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’),” Top Hat Studios wrote. “Furthermore, voices have attempted to advocate making sale of the game untenable through demanding harsh censorship aimed towards the developer’s artystyle, 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.”

Top Hat Studios goes on to confirm that Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story will not be censored or changed in any way to appease its critics. Arguing that creators should have the freedom to release their work as they see fit, the developer explained that the imagery and themes that were chosen are perfectly justifiable based on the cyberpunk genre.

“Let us be clear on this – we will not censor the game because of self-centred crowds who care solely about grandstanding,” the studio stated. “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 expect 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.”

Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story will be released on the Nintendo Switch on January 7, 2021 as planned without any censorship. According to a warning posted on the store page for the Steam version, the game doesn’t contain any adult or explicit content (e.g., nudity) but does feature characters with skimpy/semi-revealing outfits and mature themes. Players can also expect references to alcohol, drugs, and potentially distressing topics such as murder, suicide, and abuse.

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13 Comments

  1. I’m confused as there are way more explicit things on Steam that are way ‘worse’ than this game.

    Dunno why this one is getting attention specifically.

    Edit — I wouldn’t put it past the dev to have manufactured this as the game doesn’t even have full nudity or sex (per the Steam page). I am really missing something here.

  2. The irony of sending death threats because the game supposedly encourages violence.

    Public outrage is usually a sign of hypocrisy. You couldn’t make that clearer than this.

  3. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 26595, member: 1298″]
    The irony of sending death threats because the game supposedly encourages violence.

    Public outrage is usually a sign of hypocrisy. You couldn’t make that clearer than this.
    [/QUOTE]

    Exactly. Good for these guys. I’m sick of seeing all these companies bending to the irrational vocal minority.

  4. Ms. Croft will have to get a breast reduction too. Let’s be fair to all games now.

    Got to be hard on the back….

  5. Ms PacMan better lose the bow – that clashes with pre-op men who identify as female yellow chompy heads


  6. [size=8]BOOBA[/size]
    They seem to have a decent portfolio of videogames for those who play videogames.

    lucky me i am not among them

  7. Not sure at ALL why they are focusing on THIS game anyhow. Game mechanics seem “off”. The character running and moving looks very early 90’s, at best. Surely there are much better candidates for this kind of attempted oppression of artistic freedom, like, practically any other game with female characters should have something for the “wake up and find something to be offended about” crowd to complain about.

    What needs to happen is pattern complainers need to start being sanctioned on social media sites. As recently noted, freedom of speech guarantees you the right to not be censured by the government, not by private organizations. Start doing what should have been done long ago and moderate the biggest pattern of abuse complainers out of the social media and other venue sites if they are simply senselessly abusing the privilege to have their say by trying to be “cancelers” or enforce their own values on the rest of the world. Let people tell this companies themselves if they do or don’t like their games by whether they sell or not.

  8. [QUOTE=”Darkbreeze, post: 27042, member: 2272″]
    What needs to happen is pattern complainers need to start being sanctioned on social media sites.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, but anytime private companies moderate too much, or try to implement any sort of accountability system, they get a lot of backlash. It’s a fine line to tote.

    The ultimate issue is the utter lack of accountability / total anonymity. You can do whatever you want with impunity, since it doesn’t really affect you, there are no consequences, and even if you get “caught”, you just reroll with the next handle.

    Not saying that isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a double-edged sword. Again, fine line to tote there.

  9. [QUOTE=”Darkbreeze, post: 27042, member: 2272″]
    Not sure at ALL why they are focusing on THIS game anyhow. Game mechanics seem “off”. The character running and moving looks very early 90’s, at best. Surely there are much better candidates for this kind of attempted oppression of artistic freedom, like, practically any other game with female characters should have something for the “wake up and find something to be offended about” crowd to complain about.

    What needs to happen is pattern complainers need to start being sanctioned on social media sites. As recently noted, freedom of speech guarantees you the right to not be censured by the government, not by private organizations. Start doing what should have been done long ago and moderate the biggest pattern of abuse complainers out of the social media and other venue sites if they are simply senselessly abusing the privilege to have their say by trying to be “cancelers” or enforce their own values on the rest of the world. Let people tell this companies themselves if they do or don’t like their games by whether they sell or not.
    [/QUOTE]
    They already have their tendrils buried deep in the AAA industries, so they have to go after the small studios to make the spread of their influence complete. We can’t have anybody going against the system.

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