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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Top Hat Studios releases statement condemning calls for censorship, some of which include death threats

So basically, the story is that Top Hat Studios is releasing a game on Nintendo Switch on January 7th called Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story. The game already released on Steam in August last year, where it received mostly positive user reviews with an 82% user review rating. The game was a Kickstarter project, where it received $60,000 on a $10,000 goal back in 2018. The game is also planned for release on PS4, PS Vita, and Xbox One at a later date. This is a summary of the game from the Nintendo listing:

Inspired by classic adventure games and the origins of the survival horror genre, Sense – A Cyberpunk Ghost Story celebrates the slow, cerebral creep of dread instead of relying on over-the-top action or jump scares. With careful attention to pacing, atmosphere and storytelling, this futuristic tale seamlessly blends 2.5D exploration and problem solving with suspenseful ghost encounters that act as paranormal glitches in our own reality.

In Neo Hong Kong, 2083, a young woman named Mei Lin Mak is dragged into a maelstrom of supernatural horror. As she peers into the century old mystery, Mei is forced to question her perception of reality and her trust of her cybernetic eyes. Under the neon lights of a cyberpunk cityscape, the ruins of the Chong Sing Apartments hide a bloody secret illuminated by the traditions of Chinese folklore and innovations of the industrial future. If there is any hope of escaping this nightmare, Mei Lin must explore this complex, piecing together stories of 14 lost souls and discovering the truth of her own family curse

And some screenshots and artwork of the game: 

Well, it seems that the game managed to raise the hackles of various people, who then started attacking the game publicly on social media and sending emails to the developer. The developer of the game released a statement condemning the calls for censorship, some of which included calls for violence and even death threats, and refused to censor the game.

After the post was made, many people, particularly on a ResetEra thread, were skeptical of the devs claim, with some claiming that they fabricated the whole story just to get free marketing for the game ahead of the console release, since the PC release wasn't all that successful, selling less than 20,000 copies since August according to Steam Spy. 

Then the developer decided to release a second statement along with screenshots of some of the messages they have received on social media and emails across a chain of 5 tweets:

"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."

The screenshotted comments seem to range from those who are angry because the main character is apparently trans, to those who think the game is promoting violence against women (presumably just because it is a horror game with a playable female character), to those who think it is a porn game (the ESRB rating mentions nothing about nudity or sex, just suggestive themes), to those unhappy about the main character having large breasts. A few of the comments/messages say things like "I hope you get shot" or "I hope you get the rope" or "sincerely kill yourselves".

Another studio, whose game is being published by Top Hat Studios, came to their defense, releasing this statement:

"We had originally planned to stay out of this fight, but it seems that the attacks against our publisher have only increased rather than blown over, so I'm going to give my two cents on it. Top Hat Studios has always been excellent to us, and has never once imposed any sort of creative restriction on us beyond just following the law. We've appreciated this freedom more as time goes on and many publishers increasingly restrict the content of their creators, attempting to filter what audiences are allowed to see and hear rather than allow customers to make their own choices. We strive to make The Girl from Arkanya a family-friendly game, but there may come a day when the angry mob comes after us for reasons we never expected, and if/when that happens, I'm glad that we have a publisher who will stand with us rather than throwing us under the bus to save their own reputation as many others would."

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 03 January 2021

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I swear, some people just want to complain for complain's sake. "This game has violence and I don't approve, let's threaten the devs with violence over it", "I want representation in games, so let's bitch about all representation I didn't want or ask for"... Best of luck to the developers, I hope they hold their ground and don't cave in against the mob.

Also, Resetera making a blind eye to this is not surprising, they are notoriously censorious and will ban people for the slightest thing if you don't align with them.

You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

Just ignore them. Although death threats should be reported to the police. The people complaining would never buy it anyway. So sick of these whiny assholes.

Good. Any and all censorship is bad!

So...I haven't heard of this developer so I'm not sure if I should even care.  If they're...


shikamaru317 said:

And some screenshots and artwork of the game: 

Only real gamers are willing to lay down their lives to defend freedom of speech.

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Honestly I'm kind of glad for the controversy, because this game wasn't on my radar at all until I saw their original statement while scrolling through my twitter feed. Now I can't wait for the Xbox release. I love Cyberpunk games. 

Never heard of this game, but for them to grow a spine and stand up to the mob, I plan on picking this game up in the very near future just to support them.

Nintendo with the Switch:

And this is what happens when people that has noting better to do than to be looking at what others are doing, discover that they can use the social networks or other media on the internet to keep trying to control, censor or ban what they don't like.

The worst of it is that a lot of they claim to be doing it for good reasons like fighting abuse and protecting groups like children, women or some other groups that have been harassed or discriminated in the past, but now they supposedly fight for the betterment of things by doing exactly what conservative and repressive people did, harassing, attacking and outright trying to ban everything they don't like without real logical and reasoned arguments.

Gonna have to watch more of this later and if i like it i will buy it to support the developers.

I don’t want to be proven right again and again when I say social media is literal evil and is the worst thing that has happened to society, but there you go.

Having said that, this game’s art does look silly and stupid.

That is the current status of society. They can be lucky that they didn't decide to include any part of lgbt in their game or they might already be dead.

This is what happens when you raise generations of people who are scared of sex.

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