PQube's upcoming dungeon crawler, Omega Labyrinth Z. has been refused classification by the VSC in the UK.
Getting your game refused classification does not mean people are banned from owning the game, it does mean that PQube will be unable to sell the game in the UK. While this refusal is only relevant for the physical release, that doesn't mean that there will be a digital release. The VSC, who is responsible for PEGI ratings in the UK, has issued a statement on their refusal to give Omega Labyrinth Z a classification. Namely, they mentioned that the sexual themes of the game combined with the school setting "promotes the sexualization of children" and claim that the game could normalize sexualizing children in impressionable minds. The exact reasoning given is as follows.
This refusal is relevant to physical product only (disc, cartridge, etc.) Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act (1984), the VSC Rating Board is required to consider the likelihood of any game causing harm to the user and, subsequently, to wider society by the way in which the game deals with and portrays images of criminal, violent or horrific behaviour, illegal drugs and human sexual activity. The grounds for this decision are as follows: - The likely harm being caused to a viewer or potential viewer, e.g. children or young people.
The game is explicit in its setting within a “school” environment and the majority of the characters are young girls - one child is referred to as being a “first year” student and is seen holding a teddy bear. The game clearly promotes the sexualisation of children via the sexual interaction between the game player and the female characters. The style of the game is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18.
There is a serious danger that impressionable people, i.e. children and young people viewing the game would conclude that the sexual activity represented normal sexual behaviour. There is a constant theme of sexual innuendo and activity throughout the game that suggests behaviour likely to normalise sexual activity towards children. As a means of reward gained by successfully navigating the game, the player has the means to sexually stimulate the female characters by using either a hand held remote device or touch screen software.
The VSC Rating Board believes this content in a game, which would have strong appeal to non-adult players, is an issue which would be unacceptable to the majority of UK consumers and, more importantly, has the potential to be significantly harmful in terms of the social and moral development of younger people in particular.
The statement made by the VSC can be read in full here.
PQube has recently come out to state that Omega Labyrinth Z was given a PEGI 18 for the rest of Europe and is still set for an early 2018 release in the NA and EU regions. Currently, it is only the UK, Germany, and Australia that the game will not release in.
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