Steam u-turns on ban for game published by Danganronpa devs and reworks review process

The gory sci-fi visual novel had a rocky road to today’s Steam release.

An image of Chaos;Head Noah showing a pink-haired girl spattered with blood

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Valve has decided, in its inscrutable and mysterious way, to reverse course on a previously-announced ban on the Steam release of Chaos;Head Noah (opens in new tab), an anime visual novel and crime against the semicolon published by the developers of Danganronpa. Good timing, too: the game releases today.

Even Valve’s laissez-faire ‘anything goes’ release policy (opens in new tab) has its exceptions, as developer MAGES discovered when its port of 2009’s Chaos;Head Noah (itself a port of 2008’s Chaos;Head) was unceremoniously banned from launching on Steam (opens in new tab). Neither Valve nor Spike Chunsoft—Chaos;Head’s publisher—said which rules the game supposedly violated, the latter only announcing that it wouldn’t be making the “guideline-required changes to the game’s content” to secure a Steam release.

To be fair, there are several things you could point at. The “Mature Content Description” on Chaos;Head’s Steam page reads like its writer thought their job was to just write down everything that could be considered mature content in the world ever. There’s knives, strangling, torture, “mangled fingers, dangling entrails,” and “exposed brains”. Plus, horror of horrors, “partially exposed breasts and buttocks”. 

None of that really seems like it would be enough to draw Valve’s ire, though: some people point to the game’s (let’s be honest, pretty creepy) lingerie DLC for its high school characters as a potential point of contention, but all we have is speculation. Either way, Valve has decided that—whatever it was—it’s not a problem anymore.

In fact, Valve has “examined the process” that led it to the ban decision and “made some changes to avoid situations like this in the future,” so let a hundred senpais bloom. There was a fairly loud campaign from fans (opens in new tab) to save the game’s Steam release, complete with a requisite petition. Perhaps that caught the attention of Steam employees, or perhaps someone just had a dramatic change of heart in the depths of Valve’s offices. That would be pretty anime.

Chaos;Head Noah releases later today. On Steam, no less (opens in new tab).

Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Chaos;Head Noah was developed by Spike Chunsoft. It is developed by MAGES and published by Spike Chunsoft.

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