This is one of those games that I've been following casually for some time now. Not particularly on one side or another in the discussion around the game, but purely out of curiosity because it honestly seems to be one of the more ambitious projects I've come across and it seems like the mind behind it (Alex, also known as YandereDev) is still going strong, and I applaud that. It's always nice to see a fan project with truly dedicated people behind it willing to make it happen. One of the biggest hurdles that has been hanging overhead, though, has to be its issue with Twitch.
Now for those of you who don't know, Twitch is a website people use to live stream gameplay, games like League of Legends or Counter Strike are the most popular but in all honesty its not too hard to find someone playing your own personal favorites, with upwards of 45 million users you can find quite a lot on there. A ban from Twitch can seriously hurt your game and this is exactly the problem Yandere Simulator has been facing. For little over a year now. But it seems a few days ago a reply was finally given.
Now it seems that Twitch has given its final verdict on the subject, but before we get into that let me take a moment to actually talk about the game for those of you who don't know what it is. For an abridged version the link in the first sentence will take you to an article I wrote back in January of 2016 when I first got into video game journalism, but for those who want something a little more in-depth read on.
Yandere Simulator is a game inspired off of a popular troupe in some anime shows where the female main character has such an interest in the male lead that she is willing to kill, maim, or ruin anyone or anything she perceives as a threat to their relationship, be it real or imagined. These girls are referred to as 'Yandere' and as the name of the game implies, you'll be playing as one of these well adjusted and completely rational individuals.
Perhaps unexpectedly the game takes place in a High School setting, where you'll be disposing of your rivals one by one, but that doesn't necessarily imply murder. Because killing people is wrong, and the High School love of your life could never love a murder. Instead you'll have to go about your business in private. Quietly kidnapping your rivals, bullying them to the point of suicide, and then framing some other girl to take the fall for you. Kill too many, and you'll start to go crazy and quite frankly, that's not attractive either. One particularly controversial aspect, or at least one that's mentioned frequently, is the panty shot. Drifting firmly into the very sensitive world of sexual harassment, one can choose to sneak a quick pic of a fellow classmates to use as currency and blackmail in your quest.
Did I mention these were all high school-aged kids?
Twitch, in their defense, does make some valid points in its letter to him, which he covers in a video that can be found here on his youtube account. But here's a short list of what Twitch found to be a tad unacceptable with Yandere Simulator.
1) Two gameplay modes depicting characters in the nude
2) A mechanic in which the player takes panty shots to use as currency
3) The only method of eliminating rivals is to murder
4) the setting indicates violence against and sexual harassment of underage characters in a school setting.
But I think the real issue comes from the fact that we have an unfinished game with no official ESRB rating that deals with what could be considered partial underage nudity (panty shots) and the killing of minors (your classmates) and I can totally understand why Twitch might not want this on their site.
But in truth these things are easy to work with/around. change the setting from High School to some kid of pre-college prep school for High School graduates, stress the fact that murder is not in fact the only way to get what you want, as was explained earlier on in the article, and on the whole panty shot thing? I feel like that's not going to be taken out, as the Alex is making an anime-themed game with anime troupes. A rather popular and well known cliche in most anime is the panty shot, it does have a kind of significance in the subculture.
As an extra bonus, Twitch has said in the email it sent to Alex that it even if he were to fix all of that, he might not even be off the banned list of games that Twitch keeps. Because the game is still in development (more on that latter) and these were some of the first mechanics put in place, others might be put into place since the game was last reviewed that Twitch does not agree with or feels like it violates its community standards and guidelines. Twitch doesn't want to have to visit the game every 3 weeks, and has stated it would be happy to review the game once it is more complete. Seems fair. But when will the game be complete?
The game has been in development since April 2014, and I've heard a release date of around 2018-2019. His Patreon account is going, but despite that an interview with Vice has our creator confirming that he doesn't quite feel like the game is complete, he doesn't even feel like it's a game yet; 'it doesn't actually qualify as a game yet – there is presently no "win" condition, for example' being one notable quote from Alex.
His Patreon account has a transparency post from January 6th of 2016 where he clearly divvies up how much money is being spent where and who is getting what, including how much is earned on a monthly basis and how much of it he's keeping (he did after all decide to quit everything else and work on this full time) but as the brunt of the work does fall on him I would imagine that this 5-6 year development period is pretty standard.
I don't think a concrete date has been given, but based on the updates listed on the games personal site progress seems slow and steady, with this most recent round of updates going to the games aesthetic and minor bug fixing rather than core gameplay development. And as always if I hear something else, I'll be sure to give a quick update.