Balan Wonderworld, the debut game from Square-Enix subsidiary Balan Company led by Sega veteran Yuji Naka, is out tomorrow. But footage of the game is already surfacing online, which means there are videos of the game’s final sequence. Since then, people online are pointing out some of the transitions in this section of the game may very well trigger seizures in those prone to epilepsy.
The boss fight in question features a transition with bright, rapidly flashing lights not unlike the lights patterns used to induce epileptic seizures and diagnose the condition. News of this started to spread through social media after YouTuber user Bigdaddyjende uploaded footage of battle. The transition occurs at 12:40 in the following video. If you’re planning on watching it, we ask that you please exercise caution if you’re susceptible to seizures.
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A lot of games carry blanket seizure warnings, as there are plenty of ways that digital effects can trigger a seizure in those susceptible. However, few feature moments that are almost identical to the aforementioned diagnostic tests. Cyberpunk 2077 featured a similar moment, which was quickly patched out and a dedicated warning added to the game’s starting screens. That was one of the higher profile controversies in a game already full of them, so I would have hoped that would have been a warning sign for developers to be wary of similar light patterns in the future.
Balan Wonderworld is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch tomorrow. Balan Company announced it wouldn’t be addressing all the feedback it received during the game’s demo period before launch, but would be patching in changes and fixes in the future. It’s unlikely this is among those changes, as this wasn’t a sequence demo players would have seen prior to the footage showing up online.
Update: Through a post on the studio’s social media accounts, Balan Company claims the flashing light sequence will be removed in Balan Wonderworld’s day-one patch, and that it was a bug, rather than an intentional effect.
“Please ensure that you install the Day 1 Patch before playing. We have received reports of a photo-sensitive epilepsy risk from a potential flashing bug if playing the game un-patched. The Day 1 Patch prevents this issue as well as enhances the overall play experience.”
Please ensure that you install the Day 1 Patch before playing.
We have received reports of a photo-sensitive epilepsy risk from a potential flashing bug if playing the game un-patched.
The Day 1 Patch prevents this issue as well as enhances the overall play experience.
— Balan Wonderworld (@balanwworld) March 26, 2021