Marvelous Entertainment, XSeed Games, and Tamsoft’s hack-and-slash beat-’em-up, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, has finally launched on Steam for $39.99, along with some free and premium DLC. The game retains all of its features, even the ones that were censored on the PS4 version of the game.
Yes, the Intimacy Mode is still available in Senran Kagura Burst Re: Newal on Steam, where you can head to the dressing room and check out the clothing attire you’ve unlocked while fondling and touching over the girls, but it had to be cut out of the PlayStation 4 version due to Sony’s new censorship policies.
However, this raises a much different concern regarding Steam and certain games being released on the platform.
For those of you not in the know, Valve supposedly took a hands-off approach with content curation for games being released on the Steam storefront after they implemented the adult filters back in September of 2018 (much to the dismay of anti-porn groups and SJWs). The company said that they were no longer going to be the “taste police” when it came to content curation, and that the new discovery cues and filters would be in place for gamers to navigate what they wanted to buy from the store. The only content they claimed they were going to remove was “illegal” content and games that were “straight-up trolling”.
However, shortly after putting the filters into place, Valve began banning certain pornographic games, and then began escalating the bans to certain visual novels and anime games, some of which weren’t even porn games, and a few that didn’t even contain any nudity nor any sexual content.
It was later revealed that Valve would be banning games based on “child exploitation” and “high school settings”. This seemed like an arbitrary standard, especially given the amount of Japanese games that take place in high school settings or feature young-looking characters. Well, in a letter to DLsite in explaining the ban for the game Ayura Crisis!, Valve openly stated that they would be curating and banning games based on the personal preferences of the reviewers, writing…
“[…] “Regardless of a developer’s intentions with their product, we will not distribute content that appears, in our judgment, to trade in the prurient representation or exploitation of minors.
“While every product submitted is unique, if your product features this representation — even in a subtle way that could be defined as a “grey area” — it will be rejected by Steam.
“We are not interested in working with partners that dance around the edges of what’s legal. For instance, setting your game in a high-school but declaring your characters are of legal age would fall into that category and be banned. […]”
Quite naturally this left a lot of gamers scratching their heads, since Valve has refused to define what they see as “child exploitation”.
Games featuring children in violent acts could be considered “child exploitation”, at which point Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Rockstar Games’ Bully should be banned, especially the latter given that it takes place in a school setting and contains “child exploitation”… but both those games are not banned.
If Valve is interpreting “child exploitation” based on lascivious or prurient standards, then all of the Senran Kagura games, Omega Quintent, and Blue Reflection should all be banned since they feature school girls and ecchi content, including the most recent release of Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal.
Now according to the Steam store page, XSeed had the following description for the mature content featured in Burst Re:Newal, stating…
“SENRAN KAGURA Burst Re:Newal is an action game starring female ninjas that contains partial nudity (including censored scenes of nude characters), sexual themes, some strong language, and animated violence. Players may touch characters in the Dressing Room, but no explicit sexual content is depicted in these interactions.”
So the girls are nude, but they’re censored. They also have jiggle physics, and the Intimacy Mode that features groping and grabbing. However, for some reason, the game still managed to get a pass, even though all-ages versions of games like Food Girls did not.
So far, Valve has not responded to any inquiries as to why certain games featuring school students are being banned (even the ones that don’t contain any sexual content) but other games featuring school students aren’t being banned, or why some H-games are getting banned, but others aren’t.
Developers like Top Hat Studios decided to create their own storefront as an alternative solution instead of trying to constantly censor their games or jump through hoops to meet Valve’s standards. Other developers were impacted more negatively, with the creator of Imolicious having to cancel the sequel because there wasn’t enough revenue generated from the release of Imolicious on other storefronts, and they lost out on sales that they could have received from launching the game on Steam.
In this case, however, many gamers have put forward the hypothesis that Valve is basically backtracking on its own curation policies in order to keep weeding out anime and visual novel games, all while leaving larger studio outings alone.
So for now, games like Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal can release on Steam in relative peace without any sort of blockades, definitely making it a better alternative for ecchi and fan-service games than Sony.
However, smaller ecchi and fan-service ridden games from indie studios are obviously not safe on Steam and Valve can arbitrarily ban the games even if they don’t contain any nudity, even if they don’t contain any sexual content, and even if they’re more tame than ‘M’-rated games currently being sold on the platform.
Nevertheless, if you were interested in picking up a digital copy of Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, which will likely get the inevitable nude mod sooner rather than later, you can pick up a copy of the game from the Steam store right now.
(Thanks for the news tip Rala Cloft)