After tangling with ratings boards and the kiss-of-death Adults Only rating from the ESRB, developer Madmind has released a censored but still brutally gory version of Agony, an RPG set in Hell, on the Steam storefront.
Agony is a first-person survival horror RPG centered on a condemned soul trying desperately to escape Hell, which, unlike our Chinese cartoons, has a lot less sexy succubi (though there are some in the game) and a lot more screaming walls of flesh carved out of the still-living bodies of the damned. From Madmind:
Agony is a first-person, survival horror set in hell. You will begin your journey as a tormented soul within the depths of hell without any memories about your past. The special ability to control people on your path, and possess demons, gives you the measures to survive.
In today's censorship-heavy culture, this sort of thematic didn't exactly sit down well with multiple elements of society where censorious impulses have become emblematic of both the Left and Right. Initially, Agony was denied a PEGI rating and was threatened with the Adults Only rating by the ESRB, which is basically a death sentence for a game that wants to retail on consoles or in brick-and-mortar stores.
In response, developer Madmind censored some of the most egregious content in order to achieve better ratings. When fan backlash ensued, Madmind promised to deliver a decensoring patch externally for Steam users, only to be shut down by ratings boards as this was, apparently, "an attempt to bypass the original rating."
In response, Madmind decided to scrap the decensoring patch entirely, and a censored version of Agony finally hit Steam, PS4, and Xbox One yesterday, May 29th.
Keep in mind however that "censored" is sort of relative here. In keeping with the general hypocrisy of ratings boards, the "Mature" version of Agony (as opposed to the AO version) still contains blood, gore, mutilation, over the top violence, naked succubi, bare breasts, and blatantly sacrilegious depictions of religion.
As for the censored, cut content, rest assured, it will be released - as a standalone video, first delivered to the winner of a pre-release contest and later live-streamed to the public. From Madmind:
Since a small number of players have finished the game, and the video with cutscenes contains some huge spoilers, we decided that you will be able to see them only when Kinga Spyra - the girl who won the Agony Box competition, will find a disc with cut-out content in the chest.
Live stream from this event should be available in few days. We can not wait for your reaction to the contents of the chest!
Kinga has promised live-stream with unboxing, which we will inform you through our Facebook profile!
For the moment, it looks like this is as good as it is going to get in regards to the cut content.
If you're interested in the game, Agony is on Steam now, available here for $26.99 USD for Windows PCs only — 10% off from the normal $29,99 price until June 5th. PS4 and Xbox One versions are also available for $39.99 in their respective online stores.
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