Katsuhiro Harada from Namco – most famously known for being the producer of the Tekken series – was briefly interviewed by Siliconera during the E3 chaos in Los Angeles, California. He revealed that the virtual reality flirting simulator called Summer Lesson would not be coming to the West for fear of backlash from Social Justice Warriors.
Talking with Siliconera, Harada first mentions that one of the main reasons why the game won’t be coming to any region outside of Japan is lip-syncing. It’s difficult to match the lips with the different languages and it would be a lot of work. But another issue is that he wanted to avoid people complaining about skin color, race and all the social issues that come with it. Harada explains…
“[…] when you think about the current game situation and the climate in different countries where you have to have characters from every different race or nationality, someone else would say ‘mine is not included,’ which is the climate we currently see with games. Since there are people who can’t set aside the game and the actual problems in society, I don’t want open that can of worms.”
We’ve seen this happen recently with other Japanese titles not coming to the West, including the infamous scenario involving Koei Tecmo’s Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, which was not released in America or Europe for the PS Vita and PS4 because Koei Tecmo revealed that they were afraid of gender politics in media disrupting the promotion and sales of the game. Even though the game didn’t release in the West, some game journalists still attacked Play-Asia for supporting Koei Tecmo in allowing Americans and Europeans to import the game.
Furthermore, the media tried to spin it as if no one outside of Japan would buy Dead or Alive Xtreme 3.
It turns out that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 was the fastest selling import game in the history of Play-Asia and Koei Tecmo reported record sales outside of Japan, as reported by DualShockers.
In this case, it makes sense that a niche title centered around flirting with a student would possibly draw the ire of certain groups here in the West. You can check out a demo from 2015 to give you an idea of what it’s like.
When it was first announced back in 2014 it was met with a lot of intrigue and generally favorable impressions from the media.
However, the prescience from the parody site P4R Gaming was right on point way back in 2014, as they joked that the Japanese health ministry wanted to prevent the game from releasing on the PlayStation VR because it would “destroy the population”.
Well, in some ways their article did come to pass because Harada doesn’t seem to want to go down the road of resistance, lined with the protectors of cultural sensitivity and the social warriors of justice.
Unless fans really speak up and make their voices heard to Bandai Namco (possibly through their Twitter account), Summer Lesson will release exclusively in Japan. The individuals commenting on the Siliconera article have already resolved to import the game.