While it might not be quite as well-known as Street Fighter or King of Fighters, Atlus’ zany Power Instinct (Gōketsuji Ichizoku in Japan) still has many fans – and those same fans might be expecting some kind of celebration to mark the series’ 30th birthday in 2023.
However, according to one source in Japan, such an event might be unlikely due to the fact that the game contains some rather questionable stereotypes.
The source in question is the Noise Factory Twitter account, which remains active despite the company folding in 2017. Noise Factory was the studio founded in 1998 by Keiko Ijuu and several other staff members who had worked on Power Instinct while they were with Atlus.
According to the Twitter account, plans were in place to properly celebrate Power Instinct’s anniversary, with ports being an initial suggestion. However, the same account later revealed that the request to re-release the games had been denied by the rights holder, with the reason being that a certain character would be considered at odds with what is “politically correct” in the modern era.
Japanese site Automaton has speculated that the character in question is White Buffalo, a Native American fighter. Given that MLB’s Cleveland Indians and the NFL’s Washington Redskins have recently re-branded in order to avoid causing offence to Native Americans, it’s a fair piece of speculation – but one that ignores the fact that T. Hawk still exists in the Street Fighter series. Still, it’s understandable that the rights holder would see it as an unnecessary risk, given the niche popularity of the Power Instinct series in general.
The original Power Instinct hit arcades in 1993 and was ported to the SNES in the same year. Notable for its unusual sense of humour and the ability of characters to transform mid-fight, it gained enough attention to spawn several sequels.
A second game followed in 1994, and was ported to the PlayStation. The third entry, Gogetsuji Gaiden: Saikyou Densetsu, remained exclusive to arcades. The fourth game, entitled Groove on Fight: Gōketsuji Ichizoku 3, arrived in 1997 and was ported to the Sega Saturn. 2003’s Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Toukon -Matrimelee- was developed by the aforementioned Noise Factory, while 2009’s Gōketsuji Ichizoku: Senzo Kuyō (running on the Taito Type-X arcade board) remains the sixth and final game in the franchise.