Christmas Massacre, an upcoming low-poly horror game, was initially planned to launch on Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation later this month. However, a few weeks before launch, the developer behind the spooky game revealed that Xbox and Nintendo won’t let the game release on their respective platforms, and they’re claiming it’s because it’s “too crazy” for the console makers.
Indie developer Puppet Combo has become well known for its PS1-style horror games that often feature strange images, lo-fi aesthetics, creepy characters, and controversial dashboard icons. The studio was founded in 2012 and since then has released over a dozen small horror games, mostly on PC, though. Some of their games do end up on consoles. And its 2021 holiday-themed horror game, Christmas Massacre, will be the latest title from the indie studio to make its way to console—but just the PlayStation as it seems Xbox and Nintendo aren’t fans of Puppet Combo’s creepy game.
On November 3, Puppet Combo announced that its console port of Christmas Massacre would launch on PlayStation on November 17. Fans quickly began asking about the Switch and Xbox ports of the game. (Past Puppet Combo games, like Murder House, were released on those platforms.) The developer quickly responded to fans, explaining that those versions weren’t going to happen.
According to Puppet Combo, the studio found out in late October that Nintendo had apparently said no to the game being available on the console or its digital store. When a fan responded angrily about the news, a spokesperson for Puppet Combo replied: “I just found out last week. I blew lots of money on a Switch port we can’t [release.]” The studio also claims that Nintendo won’t allow them to “censor” Christmas Massacre to allow it to be released on Switch.
A user asked if the studio had given up on bringing its scary games to Microsoft’s home console, after a previous port was also denied. Puppet Combo said no, adding: “We still try to get every game on Xbox and they say no.”
Puppet Combo’s Christmas Massacre has attracted controversy over some of its content. The game, which stars a serial killer dressed as Santa killing people, includes a scene set in a college classroom, though some thought it was evoking a school massacre featuring child victims. Puppet Combo denies this and told IGN that all the victims are adults.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo and Xbox about the game and why it was denied approval.
Puppet Combo games still allowed on PlayStation
While the violent content and disturbing nature of the game might have led to the cancellation of an Xbox or Switch port, the game is still coming to PlayStation. Sony seems more than happy to support Christmas Massacre and doesn’t seem to have a problem with Puppet Combo at all, even streaming the developer’s previous horror game Stay Out Of The House on the PlayStation Access YouTube channel.
Puppet Combo manager Ben Cocuzza talked to IGN about the Christmas Massacre situation and explained that the plan was to port the game to all three consoles, as they work on all versions at the same time. The studio wasn’t picking favorites or trying to upset anyone.
“In the case of Xbox, the game was not accepted to the ID program,” explained Cocuzza. The manager also confirmed Nintendo “decided not to release the game.” Some fans are annoyed that previous Puppet Combo horror games were allowed to launch on Xbox and Switch, something Cocuzza acknowledged, telling IGN “Xbox and Switch carry previous Puppet Combo games which makes this disappointing to many fans.”
It’s wild to watch Nintendo let blatant, barely playable knockoff games like the awful Burnout (not from EA) on its store platform, yet deny access to a game that is already out on PC, is popular, and comes from a developer with a proven track record.