Japanese publisher Spike Chunsoft has announced that the first official English translation of a visual novel Chaos ; chief noah will not come to Steam as planned “due to changes required by Steam’s guidelines for in-game content”. But while the game is apparently too risky for Steam, Nintendo’s family-friendly folks apparently have no problem with a Switch version that Spike Chunsoft says will still launch in the US on October 7 as planned.
“Spike Chunsoft, Inc. believes that these [Steam guideline-required] the changes would not allow the game to be published to its standards,” the publisher said in its announcement. “The company is considering offering the title through alternative storefronts, and when details are decided, it will make another announcement official. Until then, your patience and understanding is appreciated.”
Chaos ; chief noah was originally listed for the Steam presale in April, but that page was removed in August, according to tracking site SteamDB. At the time, this raised some concerns about the eventual fate of the Steam version, which Spike Chunsoft finally confirmed today.
Valve’s apparent push for content restrictions comes even though the extremely similarly themed sequel Chaos;Child has been available in English on Steam since 2019 (after its initial release in 2014 in Japan on Xbox One). The English PS4 version of Chaos;Child received an M rating for Mature from the ESRB, which described scenes of strangulation, torture, and “exposed brain” play alongside sexual content such as “two female characters moaning off-screen while discussing breasts. ‘other”.
How bad is that?
Chaos ; chief noah is an improved port of Chaos;Headthe game that launched the cult Science Adventure visual novel series (which also includes Steins;Door and its sequels). The game follows a series of murders and suicides in Tokyo’s Shibuya district and allows players to alter story progression by engaging in various positive or negative “illusions”. Some of these rants can get extremely bloody and/or suggest (but not directly show) impending sexual violence.
“I don’t think it’s much worse than anything already in Steam’s library,” said PQube Games localization manager Andrew Hodgson (who worked on the English translation of Steins;Door) spoke to Ars Technica about the game’s “titillating and violent content.”
the original Chaos;Head was originally released for Japanese PCs in 2008 before improvement Noah hit the Xbox 360 in 2009. This console port (and a later Vita re-release) received CERO Z content ratings in Japan, which “implies that the game is not to be sold or distributed to persons under 18” and is roughly equivalent to an ESRB “AO for Adults Only” rating in the United States. However, CERO’s “content icon” system for this game only included a warning about “crime”, not violence or sexual content.
The following Japanese ports of Chaos ; chief noah for the PS3, PSP, Android and iOS were heavily modified remove some of the more extreme images and descriptions of violence. In turn, these ports received a lower CERO D rating (roughly equivalent to the ESRB’s “M for mature” rating) in Japan. A source from the visual novel translation community (who asked to remain anonymous) has confirmed that the proposed Switch and Steam versions of the game in English are based on this modified script.
A Japanese Chaos;Head The Nintendo Switch port, released earlier this year, received the highest CERO Z rating (and the “crime” content icon) despite using the modded version of the game which previously received a CERO D rating. The English translation will launch on Switch in the US next month, with an “M for Mature” rating and content descriptors that warn of “Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Language, [and] Intense brutality.”
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