April 19, 2021

Balan Wonderworld’s Final Boss Fight Could Potentially Trigger Epileptic Seizures


Balan WonderworldBalan Wonderworld© Square Enix

Cyberpunk 2077 made the news for many reasons when it launched late last year, but a more pressing concern related to the game’s “braindance” sequence causing seizures.

After some debate, it was quickly patched, and Microsoft confirmed it would improve certification procedures to avoid it happening again on its consoles. However, reports suggest that Square Enix’s newly-released Balan Wonderworld also contains a scene that could potentially induce seizures.

The report comes from YouTuber Bigdaddyjende, who uploaded final boss footage from the PS5 edition of the game. There are two segments where bright, rapidly flashing white lights appear.

WARNING: We strongly advise you don’t watch the video if you’re at risk of an epileptic seizure.

If you really want to take a look, this occurs twice at 11:35​ and 12:40. We haven’t embedded the video on this page, for obvious reasons.

Game Informer’s Liana Ruppert, who covered the issues relating to Cyberpunk 2077, has issued the following PSA about the problem:

When I first began watching the scene, which you can view in the video at the 12:40 mark (but I highly advise against it or to use caution), I immediately had to shut it off. Instantly, my right side dropped, and I could feel the onset of an episode. I stepped away. I did my usual “checkup” on myself, I donned safer tech settings, and I looked again, this time at a slower speed to negate the rapid-fire effect that I know is a trigger. What I saw – I hope- is simply a pre-launch glitch because if this scene was intended, my concern is that there were safety checks cut. I can’t imagine how this possibly passed the necessary safety certification process if this were intended.

The scene above is not just using flashing effects, it rapid-fires a series of white on background flashes. The quick succession is instantly dangerous, and because of that, I made a PSA on social media to give a warning. Since that tweet went live, I’ve had numerous people reach out, including developers and other QA devs, saying that they aren’t even epileptic, but they felt “odd” after watching. My husband, who had no prior issues with epilepsy or neurological triggers, complained of feeling dizzy before he threw up. Several others reported the same.

It’s not known for sure if this impacts the Switch or Xbox versions of the game, but Square Enix has issued the following tweet regarding the problem and confirms that it’s a known bug:

If you’ve already purchased the game on Switch, PlayStation or Xbox, we’d strongly advise that you download the patch before loading it up.


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