We don’t like to see games get limited to certain regions. In an ideal world, everyone would have every appropriate game in all areas. But sometimes, there are games where censorship or cancellations happen for what are probably the right reasons. In these instances, we can see why the game is not releasing in every region and understand decisions behind such incidents. Omega Labyrinth Z is going to help us see why sometimes, cancelling a project is the right thing to do, even if some people did want a title like this one.
Let’s start by explaining the premise of Omega Labyrinth Z. This is a roguelike set in a school called Anberyl Girls Academy. An ancient cave opens once a year, on the day the academy was founded, and the students can venture inside to restore the Holy Grail of Beauty that can grant their wishes. Which, in this case, is to increase or decrease their breast size, depending on the character. Power is directly tied to the size of each young woman’s bust, with an Exploding Breasts Mode promoted as a defining feature.
Here is why this premise, even without getting into Omega Labyrinth Z’s other elements, is problematic. Anberyl Girls Academy is a high school. The official Japanese website is careful to omit the year the girls were born, when listing their birthdays. But senior high school in Japan consists of 10th through 12th grades, which means each of these young women would be around 16 to 18 years old. Saeri is the youngest character in the party and noted to be an underclassman. (She looks like she could be 14 or 15, in her official art.) Since this is the sequel to the original Omega Labyrinth Z, which starred many of the same characters, Saeri is likely 16-17, while Aino, Rio, and Nako could be 17-18. Since this event happens around the time when a new school year begins, high schoolers tend to be 17 going into their senior years and Aino, Rio, and Nako all have birthdays that come after December of the new school year, we can reasonably assume they are all 17: underage.
Just factoring in the age issue and general premise is a good reason to see why Omega Labyrinth Z’s cancellation outside of Japan makes sense. PQube is complying with the wishes of the platform holder, who is Sony. Sony of America and Sony of Europe are different than Sony of Japan. In Japan, the federal age of consent is 13, but municipalities and prefectures’ laws vary and the general rule of thumb is 18 and up. While the ESRB rated this game Mature and PEGI said it was only for people ages 18+, Australia and the UK banning it ahead of any kind of launch could not help and probably aided the hesitation.
Now, let’s go into why this gets extremely icky and uncomfortable. If this was just about characters increasing the size of their chest and clothes tearing, PQube and Sony might have allowed Omega Labyrinth Z outside of Japan. The Senran Kagura series has high school students with clothes that tear away if the young women take a deep breath. But this particular game has even more content that would not just be perverted if the women are under 18, but illegal. Unknown items are appraised by putting them between the characters’ breasts, then touching their chests, with the game taking into consideration their current “size” when rendering the images. To learn new skills, A Faint in Agony Awakening system is in place where you touch hearts on their bodies, which may or may not be close to being nude. You are encouraged to keep up the excitement and look for “Sen-sitive Spots.” These sorts of elements might make people uneasy if the characters were of age, but considering how likely it is that all of them are underage makes it disgusting.
People who might actually want Omega Labyrinth Z still have some means of acquiring it. The game is going to be released with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean subtitles on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in Asia. But with this game, it is important to understand why a cancellation happened. This is not just because things were a little racy or scandalous. It is because the ambiguity and nature of the game was depicting young high school students in situations they should not be.