[UPDATE #2] Madmind Studios has released a final statement regarding censorship in Agony via a Kickstarter update. The update reveals that Madmind were able to include several things in the final version of Agony that were planned for the PC censorship removal patch with the approval of various ratings boards. The developer now claims that the game’s censorship only affects several seconds of two of the game’s seven endings.
The second piece of news confirmed that there would be no Adults Only patch released. As per our earlier report, Madmind Studio would face legal action if they released the PC patch or left the game uncensored, which would result in the closure of the studio and Agony being banned entirely.
The Madmind team will be releasing a comparison video on May 30 so that backers and fans don’t miss out on anything. Despite the game’s censorship the Polish-based studio has reiterated that the version of Agony that is releasing is still the game they planned all along.
[UPDATE #1] Madmind Studios CEO Tomek Dutkiewicz has provided an update on Agony censorshipgate. According to another Discord message which was posted on Imgur, there will be ‘good news’ about Agony’s censorship in a Kickstarter update later today/tonight (depending on where you are located). Given Dutkiewicz stated previously that Madmind wouldn’t legally be able to release the PC censorship removal patch it’s hard to predict what good news is coming. Perhaps Madmind and the powers that be have come to some form of agreement regarding the patch’s distribution? We’ll just have to wait and see.
I do want to point out that if the promised patch never releases it will not make or break my playthrough. Do I want to experience the game uncensored? Of course I do. I’ll be disappointed but I won’t let something that appears out of the Madmind’s hands affect my enjoyment.
[ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS]
Agony, the first-person, Kickstarter backed horror game from Polish developer Madmind Studios is just hours away from its May 29 release on PC and consoles (unless you live in Australia where the game’s release date has been pushed back to June 8). The game, which has already been delayed numerous times, has faced censorship issues recently, with the developer announcing via Kickstarter that they were forced to cut content to satisfy the ESRB to achieve an M rating and not the dreaded Adults Only rating which would have seen the game banned from sale on consoles. Despite the ESRB board only handling the American region, this ‘censorship’ had a ripple effect across all versions of the game which meant that every region would receive the same ‘censored’ version of Agony, including Steam.
This announcement got pitchforks across the Internet sharpening, and in order to appease the angry horde, Madmind Studios confirmed that they would be releasing a censorship removal patch for PC. This appeared to quell the disgruntled fans who either backed the project or had intended to buy it on PC. Madmind did confirm that they would allow backers to switch from console to PC should they wish. However, with the game not far from launching, it appears that the promised censorship removal patch may in fact never see the light of day.
A recent post on the game’s Discord by Madmind CEO Tomek Dutkiewicz implies that the studio cannot release the patch due to legal reasons or if they do they face having to close the studio. Furthermore, he states that the censorship in Agony amounts to a mere 20 seconds and some post ending tidbits, as well as claiming that all brutal video games suffer some form of censorship, just that Madmind were transparent about it, something that Tomek says was a mistake. A screenshot of Tomek’s post is available below:
While there’s been no official statement from Madmind, it does beg the question why the developer has waited to inform not only the game’s Kickstarter backers (which I am) but the gaming public in general. There have been rumours floating around that the team is searching for a way to get the patch to fans, but this is all speculation at the moment. Madmind must have had an inkling early doors that Agony’s premise and gameplay would raise censorship red flags, however they pushed ahead and their Kickstarter promised the same version on all platforms.
What do you make of the censorship issues in Agony? Will you play it regardless of the game’s censorship or cancellation of the removal patch? Let us know in the comments below.
Agony is set for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC on May 29. The game will release on June 8 for PS4 and Xbox One in Australia.