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Is Rise of the Ronin really banned in Korea? Here’s what happened

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Rise of the Ronin isn’t going to be coming out in Korea at launch, which has led to discussion that the game is banned in the country. What’s the actual situation, though?

Team Ninja’s next game, Rise of the Ronin, has found itself embroiled in controversy a month before its release. Set in 19th-century Edo Japan, a popular period for Japanese media, Rise of the Ronin delves into real-world history in its story. The game also has multiple endings and promises players the chance to “shape the course of history.” 

The game is set to star characters based on real-life political and military figures, and the wording from Team Ninja implies it could delve into alternate history for its gameplay, which is a bit awkward when one of the figures therein is regarded as an early advocate for Japanese imperialism. While alternate history is nothing new for video game plots, as seen with the Assassin’s Creed franchise, comments from game director Fumihiko Yasuda have earned the ire of Korean gamers and seen the game taken off of digital shelves for the time being.

Is Rise of the Ronin banned in Korea?

Rise of the Ronin is not banned in Korea, but is being held back from release in the country on the decision of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

The launch cancellation was reported by Daum and came after comments by Yasuda about the game’s story. In a post-development video, Yasuda praised Shoin Yoshida, a 19th-century intellectual whose influence on the politics of the time led to one of his students, Ito Hirobumi, becoming the first Japanese Prime Minister who went on to lead imperial conquests of China. That makes him an infamous figure in Korea, a country that was annexed by Japan in the 20th century.

Several Korean PlayStation fans took to social media and expressed their displeasure towards Team Ninja for this veneration of a controversial historical figure. Sony and Team Ninja have not responded to the matter as of this writing.

This controversy and the resulting decision are only applicable to Korea, though. Rise of the Ronin is set to arrive on March 22 in every other market.

Will Rise of the Ronin get unbanned in Korea?

It is unknown when Rise of the Ronin will come out in Korea, or if it ever will.

Rise of the Ronin isn’t banned in the legal sense. Korean players with PSN accounts in non-Korean regions can still get Rise of the Ronin if they want to. While it’s a hurdle, players in the country who are desperate to buy the game can do so. What the future holds is unclear, however. Sony and Team Ninja may be waiting to see how the game is received in other markets before officially launching the game in Korea.

In the meantime, Korean gamers do have other action games to look forward to. The long-awaited Capcom sequel Dragon’s Dogma 2 aims for a March 2024 launch. Meanwhile, April 2024 sees the release of the highly anticipated Stellar Blade, developed by Korean studio Shift Up.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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