Things go from bad to worse.
Devotion, the horror walking-sim from Red Candle Games, has received a fair bit of press in the last few days. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.
It all started when Chinese players began to review bomb the game on Steam after a poster discovered in the game appeared to compare Chinese President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh. The sheer volume of negative reviews left by players offended by the supposed mockery led the developers to issue a short statement. They professed: ”When making the prototype, the team often referred to the then known internet slang as placeholder. However, due to the version synchronizing problem, not all of the placeholders were deleted properly.”
This explanation has not left Chinese players satisfied however, as it appears that the game has now been taken offline completely. When searched the results for Devotion steam page take you straight back to the homepage. This has been spotted by the team at The Verge, who have also found that Red Candle Games have removed all trailers of the game from youtube.
The Winnie the Pooh reference is a known meme in reference to the Chinese president, but is usually censored before it gets very far out the door. What seems to have angered players in this particular case is not just the use of the meme itself but it’s hidden position within the game. Having such an easily missed political poster within a game that largely seems to be unpolitical is the cause of one reviewers anger (as originally quoted by The Verge): “The game developers truly disappoint me when they dare to secretly include such a sensitive bomb while selling their products to Chinese players who, at the very beginning, know nothing about those message until they are revealed as late as yesterday.”
It would be a real shame if this does remove the game permanently from Steam, as Devotion seemed to be a game with real potential. We reviewed it highly just last week, describing it as ”captivating, slow-paced horror with a brilliantly unique cultural perspective and a story surpassing many horror flicks out there…”
We’ll have to see how the story evolves from here, but this small instant could have a real knock on affect for Valve’s chances of creating a successful localised store in the Chinese market. Watch this space for any new developments.
Kate has been gaming since she could control a mouse. In addition to having a penchant for indie games, Kate had a World of Warcraft account when she was far too young, and has a weakness for any game with ‘RPG’ in the description.