A Power Instinct rerelease has been dubbed difficult due to potential “political correctness” issues

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-30 23:39 JST)

Power Instinct, a fighting game series known for its absurdity, is approaching its 30th anniversary in 2023. Plans were moving forward to rerelease the game for the occasion, but as time passes, so does what is deemed ethically acceptable by the public, and it sounds like these kinds of potential issues have become a roadblock for the game’s comeback.

Power Instinct is a fighting game from Atlus that released in arcades in 1993. On top of its gameplay, Power Instinct was known for its colorful cast of characters, such as the nearly 80-year-old woman Otane Goketsuji being among the playable cast. Plus, most of the characters in the series are related with a few exceptions. An extremely popular video from Niconico called “Let’s Go! Onmyouji” even uses background music from a PlayStation 2 title in the series that never made it out of Japan. Power Instinct is supported by a group of hardcore fans that love it for its gameplay, characters, and setting.

It was revealed that it would be difficult to bring back the game by the former Noise Factory official Twitter account. Noise Factory is a Japanese game studio that was founded in 1998 by Keiko Ijuu and other staff that worked on Power Instinct at Atlus. And while the studio closed its doors in March of 2017, someone seemingly related to the company has continued tweeting as the former Noise Factory official Twitter account.

This account hinted in January of this year that plans were underway for Power Instinct’s 30th anniversary. It also touched on ports of past titles which raised expectations among fans. This same account later revealed on March 30 that an application was submitted to the game’s rights holder for a rerelease. But the request was unfortunately denied. The reason given was that a certain character could clash with what’s considered politically correct these days, opening them to a high risk of lawsuits.

Looking at it through the lens of political correctness does make it a little easier to narrow down who the character in question is. While only conjecture, they are likely referring to White Buffalo, a Native American character from the series.

In recent times, there has been more thoughtfulness around Native Americans and how they are portrayed in media. For example, using the term “Indian” to refer to Native Americans is considered derogatory and outdated. Major sports teams like the MLB’s Cleveland Indians and the NFL’s Washington Redskins have also recently changed their names to the Cleveland Guardians and Washington Commanders respectively, bringing them more in line with the times.

As for White Buffalo, the character is generally depicted in a similar manner as the problematic stereotypes of the past and has moves where he wields tomahawks and such. White Buffalo’s ending also shows his tribe in what could be considered a stereotypical fashion.

White Buffalo is an appealing character, though, and likely wasn’t designed with any ill intent. But 30 years after the release of Power Instinct, there seems to be concern over the character being seen as an unsuitable depiction of Native Americans in modern times.

Power Instinct Wii U Virtual Console/Super Nintendo

This is still only a guess as it’s possible other characters besides White Buffalo wouldn’t be well received either. At any rate, it’s clear that the changing of the times and what’s considered appropriate over the last 30 years has hampered this attempt to bring back Power Instinct. Characters deemed problematic could be removed, but that wouldn’t amount to a complete rerelease of the game.

Tweet Translation:
It’s very unfortunate. We also applied to release the games from the series that don’t include potentially politically incorrect characters but were denied. As times change, it will likely get more difficult to rerelease older games.

The former Noise Factory official Twitter account has been tweeting suggestions for alternate plans such as releasing a compendium about the game’s characters. They have also stated that launching a new company to carry out these plans is being considered. Hopefully there’s good news on the horizon for Power Instinct fans looking forward to the game’s 30th anniversary.

Sayoko Narita
Sayoko Narita


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