The developer of Yandere Simulator, a game about a sociopathic high school girl who murders her classmates, is demanding answers from Twitch, which banned the game exactly one year ago. Today, he posted a YouTube video describing his year of begging Twitch for a reason, which he says has led to nothing.
Still in development, Yandere Simulator’s protagonist is a high school girl who will do anything to be with her crush, including torturing, blackmailing and murdering her female classmates. Upskirt shots are a game mechanic. There’s some nudity, although genitalia and nipples are covered. You can electrocute enemies in the school bathroom or publicly shame them into suicide. “All characters depicted are 18 or older,” a caveat for Yandere Simulator reads against a pink background, “even if otherwise specified.”
YandereDev, who is widely anonymous, says he doesn’t know why Twitch banned users from streaming Yandere Simulator. After all, Twitch users can stream South Park: The Stick of Truth, which is full of butt stuff. The hyper-violent God of War series is also regularly streamed on Twitch. “All of the content in Yandere Simulator can be found in other games that are allowed in Twitch,” YandereDev says in a recent video.
Yandere Simulator is violent and contains nude scenes of high school girls, but in the company of the 34 other games Twitch has banned (plus all Adults-Only titles), like Suck My Dick or Die! and The Maiden Rape Assault: Violent Semen Inferno, it can seem a little out of place. A year later, YandereDev is demanding a reason.
After the game was first banned from Twitch in January, 2016, YandereDev contacted the Twitch team once a month to ask why his game is banned. He wanted to know what he could adjust—more clothes on the naked high school girls? Fewer panty shots? But he says he heard nothing. At E3, he walked up to the Twitch booth to interrogate reps in person, but “not a single person there had ever heard of Yandere Simulator before,” he told me. Recently, over Twitter, he contacted individual Twitch representatives, who have not been able to help him out. Increasingly desperate, he’s gone on every forum and e-mailed every Twitch address he can find.
Twitch has not responded to Kotaku’s request for comment.
“I have no way of knowing what Twitch would like me to remove or change because Twitch won’t speak to me,” he says in his video. Since Twitch is such a big driver of publicity and money for indie games like Yandere Simulator, YandereDev feels that getting his title whitelisted could make a big difference.
So, YandereDev has been forced to speculate. In the video, YandereDev questions whether Twitch has an “anti-anime” bias, since several other banned titles are also in the anime style. Likely, that’s not the case, since a lot of those titles feature porny anime girls. He wonders whether a Twitch employee was immediately disgusted by Yandere Simulator’s “senpai creation screen” and “assumed that it was a sort of child porn sex game”:
One thing he points to in his video as a potential cause—without naming it—is feminists. Using viral footage of “angry feminists,” he implies that someone at Twitch may find Yandere Simulator personally distasteful because it’s got panty shots galore of high schoolers. The game’s premise forces girls in competition with each other for male attention, which isn’t reason enough to get banned, but, on top of the nudity and gore, could have rubbed someone the wrong way.
YandereDev counters that a little over half of the game’s fan base is comprised of women. “Yandere Simulator really was a toxic, disgusting, offensive, sexist misogynistic game, would most of the fans be female?” he asks.
YandereDev is extraordinarily communicative with his fan base, which numbers over a million, and inserts Easter eggs and features at their request. And since the game’s still a work in progress, YandereDev claims he’s happy to make changes to abide by Twitch’s guidelines. Now that indie devs must design games for both their fans’ tastes and streaming platforms’ guidelines, we may see more struggling to keep everyone pleased while making their games financially viable.
[Update—5:30 PM]: The article notes that YandereDev points to feminists as a potential reason for Yandere Simulator’s ban on Twitch. YandereDev reached out to clarify that “I was not attempting to suggest that Yandere Simulator was banned because of ‘feminists’. I was suggesting that Yandere Simulator was banned by self-righteous ideologues who are very uncompromising and dogmatic. Anyone can fall into their category, whether they are a feminist or not.” The footage he uses in this portion of the recent video, which describes “THOSE people,” samples viral videos from so-called SJWs.