Horror game to be censored by PlayStation after outrage over taking gore 'too far'
Many are worried that the psychological thriller is a 'step too far', while others are defending the studio
Martha is Dead was created by developers LKA and published by Wired Productions and following various clips of early gameplay, the awareness surrounding its intensely visceral and uncomfortable nature has only become apparent to potential console players in recent days.
On Friday, February 11, the game's official Twitter account informed its base that after "four years of passion and hard work", the team behind the psychological thriller is having to "modify the experience" following communication with Sony, after which certain content was deemed "unplayable".
A statement on Martha Is Dead pic.twitter.com/iI3T5s4LYR
— Martha Is Dead (@MarthaisDead) February 11, 2022
The studios did not confirm which exact parts of the game will be censored and/or removed entirely but - as they point out clearly in their statement and have done throughout their advertising campaign - the game is for "adult audiences only" and features "sensitive depictions" which are "flagged clearly and repeatedly" before audiences even press play.
For those wondering what exactly could be so disturbing that it needs to be censored, clips of streamers playing the game have been circulating on social media. Their reaction says it all.
Here's your final warning - highly graphic content ahead:
What PlayStation is probably blocking. pic.twitter.com/h02TiqJsC3
— Kels (@KelvinA313) February 12, 2022
As you can see, Martha Is Dead is a rough ride, to say the least and is certainly more tonally provocative than the gore of, say, Mortal Kombat or other disturbing titles in the horror genre like Outlast, The Evil Within, Dead Space and so on.
Nevertheless, as many have pointed out, it is the exact contradiction - that overly graphic games like MK have been releasing similarly sensitive material for decades - that has irked people. You only need to YouTube the iconic fighting franchise's "best/worst fatalities" to get the idea of the issue at hand.
People are saying Martha Is Dead deserved to be censored then there are games out there that are more graphic lmao pic.twitter.com/EdtT3L5xgL
— Fish (@Fishyy_boi) February 12, 2022
Some go further to draw attention to the fact that not only are highly visual and immersive displays of violence littered throughout some of the industry's most popular games but it has long been a hill that Sony's is more than happy to die on when it comes to some of its most successful IPs - The Last of Us Part II being the prevailing example circulating online.
Sony and developers Naughty Dog were met with equal parts acclaim and controversy following the blockbuster sequel in 2020, which features heavily violent death scenes and gory detail that was undoubtedly distressing.
Fuck Sony for censoring Martha is Dead.
I thought we were past video game gore being a big deal with Manhunt.
If you want games to be taken seriously in the same vein as movies you gotta accept mature games actually being mature.
Gore happens, even in the Last of Us 2.
— Mutahar (@OrdinaryGamers) February 13, 2022
However, that game is not only still available to play but won numerous Game of the Year awards, going on to become the most decorated game in history. Meanwhile, small studios like the one behind Martha is Dead are seemingly being hampered by their decision to include highly mature content.
While gamers are still deliberating as to whether the high watermark has been crossed in this instance, the hypocrisy when it comes to big AAA titles and smaller indie releases seems to be a fair point in this instance.
The age-old debate of whether violent video games are cause for serious concerns will no doubt rage on forever - but when it comes to art and censorship, context is important. This response probably sums up the debate best:
Horror is, as a genre, inherently uncomfortable. It's "horrific", it's meant to disturb and disrupt and leave an impression that follows you.
It's a genre frequently subjected to censorship for being what it's meant to be.
— 👑PrincessKitten👑 (@PrincssKittnArt) February 13, 2022
Martha is Dead is due to release on PC, Xbox and PlayStation on February 24, 2022.
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