What's the limit of permissible content?

Hello Everyone,

I’m currently writing a book with choicescript and there’s one question that is bothering me, what’s the limit of content ? how extreme can I go ?

My book will be based on chinese mythical world of jianghu and if any of you have read any chinese novel before then you should have an idea of what I’m talking about.

There will be graphical sex scenes, cannibalism, gore, and attempt and mention of r*pe and many more may follow in future.

So to ensure clarity and understanding of the acceptable boundaries, I’m inquiring this.

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Hello @DaoImmerser

First, allow me to share with you the standard that Hosted Games uses when reviewing submissions:

So, the question you have to answer for yourself is: does my game glorify any specific material, such as rape.

If you have not already read the editorial guidelines for a Hosted Game, they are located here:

It has been updated and is current in listing the requirements.

Something being graphical, such as cannibalism, is allowed, as long as it does not cross into glorification.

This means, most likely you will not get a definitive answer until you actually submit your game and a copyeditor sends it back with notes, suggestions and required changes.

One last thing you need to understand about this process is: With the material you describe as being intended to be included, you will be making your WiP (Work in Progress) thread in the “Adult” section which is age restricted.

The details are more nuanced, but that is the gist for opening your beta test, as required.

Harris posted the last link I was going to, so I’ll leave off my post here.

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@HarrisPS @Eiwynn thank you both were very helpful, since my game won’t be containing any actual r*pe scenes and I’m guessing I’m good to go.

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A game was rejected for off screen child murder references, so not necessarily.
You also have to look at what the app stores will allow, and whether your game will fit under whatever level the omibus’ are set at. (For example if your game came under an R rating and the omnibus was only set as M, then problems.)

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Seriously? So the restrictions on sensitive content are so tight your average “child detective” story might be too dark for HG to publish? Like, the second Harry Potter book wouldn’t get a pass?

Please tell me there’s some context that makes this more understandable.

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In general, from what I know of various Hosted Games there’s a variety of levels of violence allowed in them. Jacic may be referring to this one? If so, I think the issue was that the PC is canonically a child-murderer:

(Not saying I agree with that publishing decision, just that it’s one that I’m aware of; I don’t know much about the HG review processes as they seem very different to the CoG/HC ones)

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Quite. I disagree with it, and if HG does insist on using this criterion it ought to make that clear in an updated guideline. A work like Flight plainly isn’t written to glorify child-murder; I could see (though still disagree with!) a case that it normalizes or downplays it, by inviting the reader into the perspective of a protagonist who killed children, but that’s a different complaint.

Ultimately if having evil stuff in a character’s backstory is a bar to publication, that ought to be made clearer. It’s only caught Felicity so far – kind of incomprehensibly – but when it trips up a less mature, level-headed author who’s poured months of their life into something, it’s going to cause an avoidable blowup.

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Since we only know what was shared, we do not know if Hosted Games would have been okay with any of the other aspects of the game, including but not limited to the cannibalism which Felicity referenced.

That is why I stated earlier:

Trying to read tea leaves is really something I do not suggest.

Glorification is a hard limit, but apart from that, everything from storefront standards to with what and where exactly Hosted Games themselves draw the line is an unknown now.

That is why you should write your vision of the game and submit it.

Once you get the feedback directly back from Hosted Games, you can make your needed pivots and changes.

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Yes it is the game @HarrisPS is referencing. If in your example a random child was murdered and you needed to hunt down the killer as a detective to bring them to justice, that probably would pass as long as the gore levels weren’t over the top and the murdery stuff wasn’t glorified I’d guess. But the thing is, if your MC is the one who committed the deed, even if that is off screen, historically there is precedent that is may get rejected. I would imagine that would hold with some of your topics you want to include that are definitely on iffy ground. Just because it is off screen does not guarantee that it will pass, so you would write such a game needing to understand that risk.

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The rejection was that the reader was forced to be a murderer, not that there were child murders off-screen.

Edit:

Just to be clear – I am not sure I would agree with this being enough to block publication. I don’t have the full set of facts to make that call, so I will not.

I also have been on the receiving end of publishers cancelling a game I worked on, so I understand everything on a level that others may not.

I don’t think:

Nor do I believe that the publication process for Hosted Games is capricious, whimsical or unfairly applied.

It might be:

I feel most authors will be able to pivot and adjust to reach the goal of publication.

An example that comes to mind is how CC_Hill pivoted from one title to another.

I really think if we as a community help an author that wants to pivot and get published, that they would succeed even if they need to adjust to achieve publication.

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Huh, ok. I thought it was a bit of both. I had the impression child murder by MCs was generally frowned upon whether optional or not, but I could be mistaken.

In saying that can you see a situation where COG would allow a game where the MC can choose to go off and r*pe someone, even if off screen and is given a choice whether to do so or not? (I really can’t see this ever happening.) I still think it’s iffy ground, but no one but the official staff can confirm/deny that one and probably want to see the script as you say. This whole game seems geared towards pushing the envelope of what might be allowed, it may not be able to pivot well with an edit so I think it’s something that should be advised.

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I’m not sure if this is the officially endorsed route, but if an author is especially anxious about being asked to change some elements in their story, or fears a massive rewrite in order to get published, I think they could write up a detailed outline (being sure to include descriptions of the scenes or elements they’re most worried about) and send it to Hosted Games staff for a gut-check. It wouldn’t be a guarantee, but might help to head off some problems.

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Edit 2:

I totally agree with you on this. Pushing the envelope to just push the envelope (i.e. shocking readers just to shock readers) can very much be seen as gratuitous.

I am not sure @DaoImmerser’s intent is to push the envelope per se, but rather to use a different framework than we normally see in Western-based games.

The standards they may be used to are different than the standards normally deployed here.

Edit:

If memory serves me, Hosted Games staff specifically did not want to “pre-approve” or greenlight any game, or even outlines, elevator pitches or story boarding.

I might be wrong because I don’t recall when or where this was, but I don’t think they want to open the floodgates of having authors pitch Hosted games pre-submission.

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My apologies if I misspoke. I currently extremely tired. I did not mean to imply that they intended to write something purely for shock values sake, but to highlight that the themes they wish to include can skate awfully close to topics that could be considered problematic.

They may end up getting a pass (aka games like SOH) or they might not. If you’re going to spend a year of more writing something, my point was that they should be aware that just not making a graphic scene out of something, does not mean it will be auto greenlit.

I’m dipping out of the convo now. Peace out everyone.

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Ah, good to know. If so, caveat emptor. If the thought of being asked to change some elements before publication fills you with dread, and you can’t write your story unless you have a guaranteed green light, Hosted Games may not be the right venue for you. Don’t know what publishing platform would give you those things, especially for extremely transgressive or illegal-in-most-countries content, but, vaya con dios.

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This is not happening happening anywhere near my story, I’m trying to stay away from r*pe altogether but in a world like Jianghu you can’t expect people to be merciful, so the r*pe I’m talking about will either be hinted that has happened off-screen or as a threat.

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If that’s the case SOH has references to things like this. Still doesn’t mean it’ll be allowed, but there is an example of a game out there published that has discussions about other characters in the game having a history of this happening to them.

Just wanted to reply to that direct reply to an earlier post, signing back out of this thread :wave:

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In my game there’s a bunch of religious (mainly Christian) themes, but I’m a worried about some things being offensive. The MC goes to an academy where they train - I initially was going have stats for Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnibenevolence, but it seems disrespectful.

I’d really appreciate any views on this and if I should or shouldn’t include it.

Hi, welcome to the forum! I’ve moved your post to this thread as it was a recent one and although the kind of content you’re talking about is very different, the same answers will apply. At a glance it doesn’t sound like what you’re talking about will be “grossly offensive” but it’s not something we on the forum can make a definite call about.

Once you’ve written some of the game, you’ll need to make a thread here anyway, and the feedback you get will give you a sense of what the audience might think about it and whether you’d want to tone it down.

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