Team Ninja’s ambitious next game, Rise of the Ronin, will not be released in South Korea.
The news was covered by several Korean outlets yesterday, after the game was pulled from the Korean PlayStation Store and all promotional material except for for trailer was removed from PlayStation’s Korean YouTube channel.
As reported on Korean community site Ruliweb, Sony Interactive Entertainment Korea has released a statement confirming Rise of Ronin won’t be released in Korea physically or digitally.
Sony didn’t give a reason as to why it had cancelled the game’s Korean release, but it’s thought to be related to comments made by game director Fumuhiko Yasuda in a behind the scenes video on Rise of the Ronin uploaded by PlayStation.
In the video, Yasuda is shown visiting the city Hagi and the Shoka Sonjuku School, founded by the 19th century scholar Shōin Yoshida. Yoshida was an influential scholar who taught many of the leading figures of the Meiji Restoration, which restored imperial rule in Japan.
“Although it was a different world in a different time, I believe he could be compared to Socrates,” Yasuda said of Yoshida in the video. “I wanted to depict his teachings and his life from the moment I started working on Rise of the Ronin,” he continued. “He wasn’t just a philosopher. He insisted on the importance of taking action.”
Yoshida’s students became key figures in the politics of Japan in the following years during the Meiji period, which saw Japan increase its military power and win the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.
Yoshida is seen as one of the driving forces of Seikanron, known in Korea as Jeonghanrok. Seikanron was a debate within the Meiji government in 1873 whether to conquer Korea to strengthen Japan’s national power. Although the invasion was decided against at the time, Japan later occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945.
Because his ideologies are influential in Japan, Yoshida is viewed as a controversial figure in Korea. His inclusion, and the inclusion of his student Kogoro Katsura, in Rise of the Ronin has been criticised online by Korean audiences.
We got a closer look at Rise of the Ronin’s gameplay during Sony’s PlayStation State of Play in January. The PS5 exclusive is set to release on 22nd March.