Song of Saya is an infamous visual novel that has been called “the single most fucked-up game ever released,” which is to say, is the sort of game that may have never seen the light of day on a platform like Steam a year or two ago. But not only is Song of Saya now on the world’s biggest PC platform, it’s also selling for slightly cheaper than usual.
Song of Saya puts you in the shoes of Sakisaka Fuminori, who survives an accident only to start seeing the world as a gory abomination. The game, which often mentioned in the same breath as Marquis de Sade, is violent and grotesque — and perhaps more notably, features sex scenes with a young-looking character. The Steam version is remastered on a new engine that displays higher resolution images, and it also features a better translation.
You’ll note, however, that the game’s Steam page says, “The Song of Saya has been edited for release on Steam.” Players have discovered that the controversial sex scenes involving the young-looking character have been removed or edited, with some visuals appearing cropped. Instead, these scenes are available for purchase over on JAST USA for an additional $3.99. The Steam price on its own is currently $14.99, but if we look at previous JAST USA listings, the visual novel used to be sold for $19.99.
In a thread on Song of Saya’s Steam page, a developer says that the pricing decision came from Nitroplus, the developer, as well as JAST:
In the case of Saya, the Japanese version retails for ¥2499, so Nitroplus felt it shouldn’t be less than $20 USD. If it was less than $20 it would feel like the Japanese fans were getting a bad deal.
For a Steam release we knew Saya couldn’t be released all of the content from the original release. In addition, while Saya is an excellent visual novel, it is short. Paying $20 for this incomplete experience didn’t seem fair, either.
With an understanding of these limiting factors, we were able to agree on $15 USD for the Steam release. Hopefully this explanation helps to clear some of they mystery behind how the price is set.
If you feel strongly about one pricing method over the other, please let us know. Even though we don’t always comment in the forums, we do read and share customer opinions at our office.
Depending on who you ask, this is either a good or a bad thing. Some critics who dislike the game’s usage of young-looking characters are happy to see the controversial scenes altered, or are appalled that the game is available on Steam at all. Others, meanwhile, are upset that the game had to be “censored” to be on a platform like Steam — or dislike that you have to purchase additional material to see the game as it was originally intended. (Patches like these are pretty common in the world of adult Steam games, however.)
Perhaps the most nightmarish aspect of this whole controversy is watching Steam forum denizens argue what does and does not constitute child porn. Truly, it is a whole new era for Steam.