Sometimes, you just have to take a stand for your product no matter the backlash. Such is the case of Sense: A Cyberpunk Story and its developer Top Hat Studios.
See, Top Hat Studios announced the Nintendo Switch version of Sense: A Cyberpunk Story, which was out on PC Steam back in 25th August of 2020. Since that announcement, the company has been bombarded with censorship demands from outraged customers and death threats that followed.
Top Hat Studios went about with this official statement: they will not be censoring the Nintendo Switch version.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT REGARDING CALLS DEMANDING CENSORSHIP OF SENSE – 不祥的预感: A CYBERPUNK GHOST STORY
Our commitment to our audience and to developers is we will never infringe on creative freedom or expression. pic.twitter.com/VV5IcGbJ7P
— Top Hat Studios, Inc (@TopHatStudiosEN) January 1, 2021
This is then followed by the studio posting the comments they’ve received because industry-adjacent people have been “slandering and gaslighting” the studio as “liars”.
We originally did not want to make this post, as to not accidentally incite a search for these posters and cause further fights. However, as there are now industry-adjacent people slandering/gaslighting us as liars, we've compiled a sampling from twitter, FB, and email. (1/5) pic.twitter.com/TJlNS4tWTd
— Top Hat Studios, Inc (@TopHatStudiosEN) January 2, 2021
“We originally did not want to make this post, as to not accidentally incite a search for these posters and cause further fights. However, as there are now industry-adjacent people slandering/gaslighting us as liars, we’ve compiled a sampling from twitter, FB, and email. Skepticism is healthy in this industry, but it is not universally applied. Not only were many of these comments actively findable in <10 seconds to verify, but many “curious” individuals seem to have a vetted interest in slandering us as liars because of their connections.
We don’t blame people for being skeptical; but keep this energy toward other claims. This isn’t a marketing campaign. The game released 5 months ago originally. This was a pre-emptive response to what we saw as a rising, ridiculous spread of lies and slurs aimed at us. We can play semantics, but if you can’t understand why a response to such is needed, you’re being willfully obtuse. We couldn’t let false, hateful info spread, and also wanted to reinforce our stance against creative infringement. It certainly got bigger than we expected.
With that said, we appreciate, sincerely, the overwhelming support – really. As we said we didn’t want to make this post, but we aren’t going to allow people to spread lies – no less from those with a vetted interest in calling us liars. We aren’t changing Sense’s content.”
Because of these turn of events, the PC version has been getting rave reviews over at its Steam page.
Why Was This Game Getting Censorship Demands?
Easy: because of the game’s aesthetics which are claiming to be “pornographic”, “violence-inducing”, and “law-breaking”. People who are messaging the developers to censor the game are taking umbrage at the anime design of the characters.
Honestly, I’m not really a fan of the exaggerated art style, but it’s no excuse to send threatening messages to the developers. Besides, the game is M-rated and isn’t supposed to be played by kids. Kudos to the studio for sticking to their guns and not caving to peer pressure.
Protip: if you really want to hurt a game developer, don’t buy the game. Or explain in a deep breakdown video why the game isn’t good beyond a superficial level. Sending these threats especially to indie studios is just doing the opposite; you’re giving them more attention. It’s about as effective as telling people to avoid a clearly exploitative M-rated game by writing an editorial on it on a giant video game news platform.