Visual novel Chaos;Head Noah has been removed from Steam before launch, leaving fans to speculate it was due to content against teens.
A remake of the 2008 classic visual novel and first in the Science Adventure series, the game tells the story of second-year high school student Takumi Nishijo. Bordering on becoming a shut-in with no interest in the “3D” world, only for an online user “Shogun” to perfectly predict when the New Generation Madness serial killer will strike again, and who.
Having seen the murderer, Takumi is horrified to find her sitting next to him at school. Yet, she tells him they have been friends for over a year. As Takumi suffers full blown hallucinations over what may pass, he learns that while he cannot trust what he sees and hears, what he is imagining may become real.
The game utilizes a “delusional trigger” system. At points, players can decide if Takumi’s delusion will be positive or negative, and at times reject the delusion entirely to focus on reality. Chaos;Head Noah is currently slated to launch on Nintendo Switch on October 7th (along with sequel Chaos;Child), and was expected to launch on PC the same day via Steam.
However, the game currently has no listing on Steam. The game had a webpage previously, with SteamDB (a third-party website that monitors changes in Steam’s database) logging changes on August 16th.
As noted by @KaroshiMyriad, the game has been added to the “Steam Banned and Removed Games List” Google Doc. The author has painstakingly cataloged nigh-all “adult games, visual novels, anime games and relevant Apps” which Steam delisted, didn’t released when previously expected, or removed since 2020 (and some 2014 titles).
When we last mentioned the Google Doc in late June, it featured 129 products that were delisted, 632 being unreleased (28 returning with censored versions, and 20 of those having patches to add the censored content back in by the developers themselves), and 820 removed after launch — two being titles that were already censored. It should be noted a handful of titles were stolen or “asset-flip” games.
The now 1,600 strong list adds Chaos;Head Noah as its latest title, noting that the game is “Unreleased” as of the 16th. Andrew ‘Steiner’ Hodgson, PQube’s localization coordinator, reacted to the news with “Chaos;Head Noah banned on Steam. Nice to see the curse is still alive and well, even now.”
“This was predictable given the ero/guro nature of the game and the fact that it primarily features a cast that wears school uniforms. Even though it’s not an adult game, Steam has consistently rejected JP games with school settings for a while,” Hodgson asserts. “Valve gonna valve, I guess.”
“There’s still a chance this could be reversed behind closed doors since I think Spike Chunsoft probably has a better chance at an in with Valve than some of the smaller VN publishers, but for now it’s seemingly rejected. Best to wait for an official statement either way,” he cautions.
At this time of writing, publisher Spike Chunsoft has yet to issue an official statement. Hodgson’s comments about the game’s contents aren’t unfounded either. The initial positive delusions usually involve women being extremely affectionate to Takumi, sometimes in clothing such as swimsuits, magical girl outfits, or lingerie. Passionate kisses, an implied orgy, and a footjob are also described, but not shown in detail.
It should be noted the very first delusion shows a bloodied woman with a green hand gripping Takumi before it changes into a normal one. Most of the “positive” delusions outside of the fan-service focused ones have a mysterious and even sinister tone or feed into Takumi’s desire to be a shut-in otaku.
The negative delusions include seeing the corpse of a cat, a girl coughing up blood and clutching her stomach in agony, yet these are the only violent scenes shown in any detail — at least in the original release. One suicidal girl who slices her wrist has her sprite suddenly change to a bloodied one.
A girl being hit by a truck, the protagonist and others being stabbed, dismembered, disemboweled, having their eyes cut out, a rotting zombie, and suicide by jumping off a roof and walking into traffic are also described; but no gore is shown (one jump briefly shows the character’s sprite upside-down on a black background). Instead, sometimes red flashes are shown on the screen, or a blob of red liquid.
Potentially problematic scenes include a young man having his hand cut off in a school, a police stand-off in a convenience store, the protagonist pinning down a female character (and heavily implied he’s about to sexually assault her just before the delusion ends), the precursor to a gang rape, and the protagonist bludgeoning a delinquent to death in school.
Chaos;Head Noah was reportedly uncensored on Xbox 360 and PlayStation Vita in Japan, while PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and smartphone versions having some form of censorship on the violent and sexual content. The Nintendo Switch version, currently available in Japan, is also said to be censored.
The protagonist, in one of the positive delusions, describes wanting to engage in “noncon play” with a fellow student, and re-create a scene from an eroge game with rape in the title. Again, all of these are described and not shown in any graphic detail.
Most characters are in highschool, so scenes of sex, sexual assault, murder, and suicide — even if only described — may have given Steam moderators a reason to pause.
When Steam banned extremely dark hentai game Taimanin Asagi, the game’s director speculated that it was removed not for its content, but suspecting a character was underage. Due to all the character’s physiques being “adult,” fans speculated this was due to one of them wearing a school uniform at one point in the game, and being a student (their exact age or education level isn’t stated).
In a bizarre twist, Chaos;Child, the aforementioned sequel, has been available on Steam since 2019. It cautions of having Gore in its user-defined tags (scenes once again including suicide and torture of the schoolgirl characters) and, as showcased in the user uploaded screenshots, a girl in a schoolgirl uniform is shown without any underwear.
In June 2018, adult game developers were told Steam was temporary halting adult game submissions. Later, this was revealed to be so Steam could implement adult games on their website officially. Valve announced that they would “allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.” As the Google Doc records, multiple anime games with adult themes have been banned since.
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