One of VR’s highest selling games and an early showpiece of consumer-grade positional tracking is getting review bombed after developers removed scenes depicting self-harm.
The Poland-based developers of SUPERHOT VR issued an update to the game (version 18.104.22.168) on July 21, 2021 with the following text:
“Skip disturbing scenes” toggle was added in a previous update. Considering sensitive time we’re living in, we can do better than that. You deserve better. All scenes alluding to self harm are now completely removed from the game. These scenes have no place in superhot virtual reality. We regret it took us so long.
We’re commited to shipping this update to all vr platforms.
Though the game carries “very positive” reviews across more than 5,200 reviews on Steam since its release on that store in May 2017, 363 recent reviews generally rate the game as “mostly negative” in response to the change. Over on the Oculus Quest store most of the recent reviews also mention the removal in tandem with a one star rating.
For those unfamiliar, SUPERHOT VR is a game in which time flows as quickly or slowly as you move your body, so you can plan to dodge slow-motion bullets and incoming punches just like Neo in the Matrix. SUPERHOT was born first as a game jam demo in August 2013 — you can play a flatscreen browser-based version of it in a Web browser right now — but as VR progressed to the stage of positionally tracked developer kits, a VR version of the game served as an eye-opening moment for many. It is near the top of most VR best game lists and the title’s influence reaches far and wide.
Prior to the update — after the game teaches you the basics of gameplay — the player is offered a gun and text suggests “Show your dedication” and “Discard your body.” The story moves forward when the player points the gun at themselves and pulls the trigger, progressing them to an entirely different environment with a cyberpunk VR headset dangling overhead — as if the action had peeled away a simulation and moved them to another layer of reality. In the latest version of the game players progress to the control room with a VR headset dangling overhead after grabbing a triangle in the environment like at the end of most levels.