Sony Censors “Aokana” on PS4; Nintendo Switch Version to Remain Uncensored

On Thursday, publisher PQube Asia announced that their upcoming game Aokana: Four Rhythms Across The Blue will be censored when it releases on PS4 in the west.

Developed by Sprite and localized by NekoNyan, Aokana is a romance visual novel originally released in 2014, and has since been released uncensored across several platforms. However, due to Sony’s censorship policies put in place in 2018, the upcoming western PS4 release will have several changes compared to other versions, including four scenes having been modified and three others which are removed entirely.

Here’s the statement from PQube:

The lack of specific details in the statement indicates that PQube very likely is being held to a certain standard of silence by Sony. It’s important to note that PQube later affirmed that the upcoming Nintendo Switch version of Aokana would not be censored.

This news comes as Sony is on the cusp of releasing its own The Last of Us Part II, which recent leaks confirm includes a full, graphic sex scene featuring photorealistic characters. This double standard is palatable for a number of third party PlayStation developers, who have had several of their games censored, and some releases have been cancelled outright.

But this is fine…?

To date, the games affected by Sony’s censorship policies have been exclusively from third parties and overwhelmingly created by Japanese developers. To list a few examples, the western release of Omega Labyrinth Z was cancelled, gameplay modes/features were removed from both Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Scarlet and Senran Kagura Re:Newal, while Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart was censored so much that it went from a M-rated (Mature 17+) title to an E for Everyone rating on PS4. Now we can add Aokana to that list.

It’s no wonder that game creators, particularly third-party developers, are frustrated by this process. As one executive for a Japanese game developer put it:

“You don’t know what they (Sony) will say until you complete the work and submit it for review, and if they are not happy, even if they allowed the same degree of sexuality a few days before, we need to take it back and ask our staff to make adjustments. That’s very costly.”

Does PQube’s announcement affect your plans to pick up Aokana? Does Sony’s approach to mature content affect your enthusiasm for PlayStation as a platform? Let us know in the comments!

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