Team Ninja’s history is remarkable. Not only have they released six games in four years, but in a month they will be releasing their first open-world exclusive game for the PS5. Rise of the Ronin has generated a lot of interest due to its setting in feudal Japan, but what’s intriguing is that the open-world RPG will not be released in South Korea. The reason behind this decision lies in the eternal conflict between South Korea and Japan.
Rise of the Ronin had completed all the necessary requirements to release in South Korea, including obtaining the qualification for its launch at the end of last year. Sony Interactive Entertainment even began the reservation campaign last December following the game’s appearance at The Game Awards 2023.
However, South Korean players encountered obstacles when trying to pre-purchase the game through the PS Store with their personal accounts. This was due to a general company policy that prevented the purchase of games not officially released in Korea. Unfortunately, Sony Interactive Entertainment Korea took advantage of this legal loophole to back off from the game’s premiere in the country.
The diplomatic tensions between South Korea and Japan, particularly due to historical disputes including the Japanese invasion of Korea, have contributed to the decision. The director of Rise of the Ronin, Fumihiko Yasuda, was also criticized for praising a 19th-century philosopher known for his ideology that advocated the conquest of Joseon and for his warlike thoughts. As a result, Sony Interactive Entertainment Korea withdrew the release of Rise of the Ronin in the country.
The comments made by Yasuda have sparked criticism and concerns from Korean players, leading to the cancellation of the game’s premiere in South Korea. This decision has sparked a debate between Japanese and Korean players about the inclusion of ideology in games, raising questions about the responsibility of video game companies in historical and cultural representation in their products.
Overall, Rise of the Ronin’s cancellation in South Korea raises discussions about cultural sensitivities in gaming and the impact of historical and political ideologies on entertainment globally.