Makers Of Horror Game That Was Removed From Steam Say It's Not Coming Back Anytime Soon

When it released in February, Devotion received thousands of positive reviews on Steam and was becoming popular with viewers on Twitch. But it was taken down after only a couple weeks when fans discovered art in the game that appeared to make fun of China’s president.

Five months later, the studio behind the game says it still won’t be returning to Steam “in the near term.”

“While mediation is still in progress, Red Candle’s co-founders have reached a unanimous decision to not re-release ‘Devotion’ in the near term, including but not limited to obtaining profit from sales, revision, IP authorisation, etc. to prevent unnecessary misconception,” Red Candle Games said in a statement released on Twitter this morning.

“As we reflect on the situation, we notice many players, industry friends, and the media are starting to understand that the incident was indeed a malfunction of project management, not a deliberate act.”

The “incident” the studio is referring to was the appearance of a scroll in the game which contained the name of China’s president, Xi Jinping, next to the name Winnie the Pooh and the word “moron.” It’s a popular meme associated with mocking the president after China banned the new Winnie the Pooh movie for perceived similarities between Pooh and Jinping.

The fact that the meme was appearing in a game developed by a studio in Taiwan, which is considered part of China but has its own elected government, only made the situation more fraught for the developers.

After the discovery was made, Chinese players began review bombing the game on Steam, and the game was subsequently removed. Red Candle Games said that the image in question was placeholder art developed by one team member and was never intended to be in the final version of the game or represent the views of the studio.

Despite that explanation, Red Candle Games’ publisher, Indievent, cut ties with the studio, and in June, Chinese authorities revoked Indievent’s business licence.

Given Devotion’s popularity and critical acclaim prior to the art surfacing, lots of players, myself included, have been curious to see when it will become available to play again and in what form. In May, Red Candle Games told Vice it planned for the re-release of Devotion to be the same as the original, minus the offending placeholder art. But part of the issue with the game is that many players believe its underlying story is also an anti-Chinese allegory about the country’s relationship to Taiwan. As a result, Red Candle Games has been trying to downplay those fan theories.

“In ‘Devotion,’ its core message is about the tragedy of a loving family twisted by the frantic belief of a religious cult,” the studio said today. “We made a critical and unprofessional error during the game’s production. It saddens us that the focus of the game was shifted drastically since the erroneous art asset was found...In the aftermath of the incident, some still possess different speculations about ‘Devotion.’

“As regretful as the incident was, we have to bear its full consequence. We hope for a second chance in the near future. A chance to prove that, both Red Candle and its partner simply wanted to create a great game and no one wished for such incident to occur.”


Comments

    If anyone made a game with an Australian politician (any politician really, free choice) with the word "moron" next to them, the game would be a best-seller.

      Right up until the AFP raided them for some perceived crime and then locked them up on Manus indefinitely. Honestly we're not far off

        Bullshit. I get the hyperbolic reference but we're far better than China, nowhere near 'not far off'. The mere fact you can make comments like this and suffer no repercussions is proof of that. We're nowhere near the same level as China.

          Very true. Ignoring the lack of fact in the comment, said comment is easily cancelled out as we are all still here.

          If what was said is true, most of us, including myself, would have been dragged from our homes, into the streets and made examples of ages ago.

          Saying the following with great risk, it is almost as if Trout Monkey has decided to take up the mantle Burnside left behind.

          He may be alluding to the AFP raids on the ABC.

    > The fact that the meme was appearing in a game developed by a studio in Taiwan, which is considered part of China but has its own elected government, only made the situation more fraught for the developers.

    hmmm. Your wording makes me wonder if kotaku is afraid of the CCP as well.

      It's a factual statement, I'm not seeing it.

        Its the word considered. The Chinese consider Taiwan to be part of China, Taiwan (and most other nations) don't.

          Reply to @jamesh also.

          It's the use of the word considered that makes it factual and better represents the complex geopolitical situation.

          While I'm on the side of Taiwan being independent, the truth is most other nations don't recognise this as you say.
          In the UN alone less than 10% of its members recognise Taiwans independence and would remain so even if the remaining non-member nations joined in support.

            It's nowhere near as simple as you make out. I suggest having a browse over this article:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Taiwan

            The non-recognition in the UN is mostly down to the shady way the Republic of China was previously recognised as the representative of China+Taiwan. There was a vote to transfer that recognition to the PRC, which left Taiwan without UN representation. Most countries didn't cut off ties with Taiwan though: there are Taiwan "cultural offices" in many countries that are embassies in every respect but the name.

            And if, for example, the PRC government decided to enter Taiwan, arrest some people, and ship them off to the mainland, it would likely be treated as an invasion internationally rather than an internal matter.

              I didn't say it was simple, calling it a complex geopolitical situation is literally the opposite of simple.
              The article just lends those complexities, not to the idea my comment simplified it.

              I don't even disagree with you, I just answered your question of who even considers it part of China.
              To expand on the answer, for the sake of trade, diplomacy and political buggery, almost bloody everybody.
              (Including our own government)

        (1) it is using weasel words (who considers it to be part of China?), and (2) it ignores the facts on the ground, that China doesn't control the island.

        It's no more true today that China controls Taiwan, than back when the exile government in Taiwan claimed to be the true rulers of China.

      I mean, they went with "players began review bombing" instead of an organised response.

    Well I had to torrent it would of bought it. Chinese president can suck a bag of dicks

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