Taiwan horror game banned in China was up for sale on international platform, but pulled again

Public backlash from gamers affecting video games worldwide.

Sulaiman Daud | December 18, 2020, 08:45 PM

Online game store GOG.com reversed its decision to offer a Taiwanese horror video game for sale after suffering severe backlash from netizens, possibly from China.

Poster in game took shots at Chinese President Xi

The game, titled Devotion, is a psychological horror game. Similar to Konami's legendary Silent Hill series, it was critically-acclaimed upon its release in February 2019.

However, gamers discovered that a poster in the apartment building, which serves as the game's setting, read, "Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh moron."

Winnie the Pooh is a highly sensitive character in China, especially if it is used to make references to its president.

Game taken off Steam platform even outside of China due to continued backlash

Chinese gamers took offence and review-bombed the game on Steam, an online platform which sells video games.

Over 10,000 negative reviews were recorded. Chinese distributors stopped selling the game, and the Weibo account of Red Candle, the studio that developed the game, was also closed. The game was also taken off Steam in China.

Red Candle apologised, stating that the poster was a placeholder asset that was accidentally included in the final release.

However, according to Eurogamer, the backlash continued, and Red Candle then removed the game from Steam entirely.

GOG reverses decision to offer game within hours

On Dec. 16, 2020, Red Candle announced that Devotion would be available for sale on GOG.com.

However, in about six hours, GOG announced that it would not be offering the game after all, after "receiving many messages."

This announcement was met with surprise and incredulity from several netizens, some of whom speculated that the decision was due to political considerations.

Whatever the reason, the game is neither available on Steam or GOG, and Red Candle issued an apology.

GOG is run by CD Projekt Red, the developer of the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game.

That game has also been met with controversy, with bugs affecting gameplay reported by gamers soon after release.

According to Game Rant, PlayStation has removed the game from digital purchase on the PlayStation Store.

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Top image from Charles Chang and Red Candle Twitter.