Thursday, July 7, 2016

Baldr Sky: Rallying for an uncut version of a landmark eroge


Baldr Sky is a high-caliber action game/visual novel hybrid and GIGA's finest work, but eroge fans must unite if they want to see an uncut release.


Sekai Project Forum Poll: Would you buy Baldr Sky if the full 18+ version were made available?

Contents


About Baldr Sky
Baldr Sky is an important license
Baldr Sky will be censored
What you can do
Why a forum poll?
Sekai Project is not necessarily the enemy
Final words

About Baldr Sky


Sekai Project announced their acquisition of GIGA's signature franchise Baldr Sky at Anime Expo 2016. Baldr Sky (VNDB) is a visual novel series that takes place in a futuristic setting where cyberspace is a true alternate reality. The story is interspersed with action gameplay segments where the player controls a mech-like virtual simulacrum and confronts foes in combat together with a team of squad members.




Baldr Sky is an important license


Licensing of Baldr Sky represents an immensely significant milestone for the English VN market.  In Japan, Baldr Sky (Dive1 EGS median: 90) is a genre-defining title on par with the likes of ├óge's MuvLuv Alternative (93), Alicesoft's Sengoku Rance (90), and Eushully's Ikusa Megami Zero (85).  In the English community, Baldr Sky is considered by some to be one of the best visual novels ever made.  The second game in the series, Dive2, is ranked #1 in untranslated VNs on VNDB.  Reviewer MDZ heaped praise on multiple aspects of the game, while Choux of Calamitous Intent praised the story despite not being a fan of action games.

Baldr Sky will be censored


Only a Steam release of Baldr Sky was announced at AX2016, while the original games contain adult content. A non-adult version was not released in Japan. Based on my experience with the prequel Baldr Force EXE and the accounts of others, the adult content is not just scattered scenes nor purely romantic in nature. This content creates a sense of urgency at certain plot points and contributes to the overall narrative immersion. Baldr Sky without this content will likely be a different game and a different experience--arguably a lesser one.

What you can do


I created a poll on Sekai Project's forums to assess user demand for a full 18+ release of Baldr Sky.  Sekai Project has said that support from forum users is the best way to get their ear about an issue.  If you care about an uncut release of Baldr Sky and other high-profile eroge, register in their forums and vote (you won't be able to vote until your account is confirmed; if prompted with the question "What are nekomimi?", the answer is "cat ears").

Poll: Would you buy Baldr Sky if the full 18+ version were made available?

As this is an open poll, those who disagree are also welcome to vote. If anti-censorship voices abstain out of indignation or pride, then pro-censorship voices win by default.

Why a forum poll?


Sekai Project has many haters amongst hardcore eroge fans.  I could get thousands of votes from these haters who would never buy a Sekai Project title, and their voices would fall on deaf ears.  By registering on their forums you demonstrate good faith and the willingness to meet Sekai Project on their own terms.  They can also monitor polls on their forums to ensure that the responses are valid.

Sekai Project is not necessarily the enemy


Sekai Project has demonstrated in the past that they're willing to listen to fans about adult releases.  Sekai Project announced an adult release of the Fruit of Grisaia series after fan backlash to their initial Kickstarter proposal (which did not include plans for an adult release).  Sekai Project announced multiple titles at AX2016 that would see both an adult and non-adult release.  Sekai Project confirmed that The Devil on G-string received a non-adult only release because that is what the Japanese license holder wished.
Q: Is there going to be an un[cut] version of [G-senjou no Maou]?  
A: Different developers have different opinions of how 18+ games should be released internationally. However things can change with enough support, a good example was back with CLANNAD, when many people objected the use of DRM on physical versions we were able to reverse the decision. Please make a thread about it on our forums and get people to voice their support.
Clearly Sekai Project is not committed to adult releases in the same way JAST USA and MangaGamer are.  But--they're not necessarily opposed to them either.  If Japanese license holders are making the decisions about which games get an uncut release, then they're the ones we need to convince.  And Sekai Project, the English publisher, is in the best position to convince them.

Final words


We stand at an important crossroads.  Will Steam become the default release platform for high-profile censored eroge?  Or will eroge fans organize and enforce a norm of adult releases for adult games that even the likes of GIGA can't ignore?

The choice is in your hands.

Keep your eye on the Twitter hashtag #BaldrGate for updates and discussion.

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