A possible run-in with Sweden's Child Porn laws has spooked DOA: Dimensions's distributor into yanking the game from several European countries.
Bergsala, the European distributor of developer Tecmo Koei's Dead or Alive: Dimensions, recently made a joint statement with Nintendo to Eurogamer Sweden that it has "decided not to release the game in Sweden, for various reasons." The fact that the game won't be released in Sweden is no rumor, but no official reason for it has been announced. Though neither Nintendo nor Bergsala is forthcoming with a reason, word on the street is that the game is being pulled for potential conflicts with Sweden's rigorous laws regarding drawn or animated pornography depicting underage participants.
The trouble arises from three characters in the game, Kasumi, Koroke and Ayane, who are all under 18. Not a huge problem, until you factor in the "Figure Mode" that comes with the game, which allows these characters to be dressed, posed, and photographed, from whatever angle you desire. This potentially puts these underaged characters into a "pornographic situation," which could violate the Swedish law.
"We are sorry for how this impacts the Swedish fans of Dead or Alive. Thankfully, it's extremely unusual that these things happen," said Bergsala. The company may want to extend those apologies a bit further, as Sweden won't be the only country affected by the canceled release; Norway and Denmark will also not be getting the 3DS title.
This all comes at a time when much of Sweden is just calming from the recent conviction of a manga translator for possessing child pornography in the form of Japanese comics. The laws on the matter are still being tested and pushed, so it seems that Bergsala just wants to keep DOA from becoming associated with kiddie porn. While that's certainly a respectable business decision, something seems wrong with a game being unavailable because 3 characters (who don't look underage by any stretch of the imagination), who could possibly be manipulated by players into seemingly smutty poses, have arbitrary numbers under 18 attached to them.