A controversy that erupted earlier this week has seen raunchy rhythm game Massage Freaks delayed. The game was originally scheduled to launch on August 4th, but has now been postponed indefinitely, so we don't know when it might reappear (if ever).
Why was Massage Freaks delayed?
Earlier this month, sexy rhythm game Massage Freaks was announced, leading many to remark on its depiction of women and its resemblance to real-life sexual crimes committed in Japanese massage parlors. The backlash was swift and fierce, prompting developer Qureate to consider changing some of the content in the game. Particular criticism was leveled at certain characters who resembled a real-life Japanese idol group, right down to having the same names as the members of that group. Now, it looks like that controversy has put paid to Massage Freaks, at least for the moment, as the game has been delayed indefinitely.
According to developer Qureate on Twitter (note: tweet is in Japanese and we're using machine translation), the game was delayed after "discussions with related parties". A followup tweet (for which we're also using machine translation) clarified that the delay was due to the "careless" use of real-life character names, and that although the offending names have already been changed, a delay was still agreed upon as the best course of action. It's not clear whether any of the other responses to the trailer, including claims that it objectified women and that it bore a resemblance to real-life sex crimes, informed Qureate's decision to delay Massage Freaks.
When will we get a new release date for Massage Freaks?
Right now, the launch date for Massage Freaks is up in the air, to say the least. Qureate says the game has been postponed indefinitely, so it's likely going back to the drawing board and figuring out what it needs to change before reintroducing the game to audiences. Interestingly, the Japanese and British eShop pages for the game are both down, but the US page is still live. It's entirely possible that Qureate is simply planning to reintroduce the game with some small changes once the controversy has blown over.
Nintendo has a history of censoring or banning content from the eShop if it's deemed to be problematic. This can be seen in the banning of Dying Light from the European eShop, for example, or the removal of Murder House from the Japanese eShop. Whether or not this turns out to be Massage Freaks' permanent fate remains to be seen. Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more information on this game.