A Taiwanese award-winning horror game was removed from the storefront in response to Chinese gamers just hours after salesman developer CD Project Red went on sale.
Devotion, a PC game based on the history of the life of a religious community in a Taiwanese family in the 1980s, was released in February 2016 for critical acclaim. Shortly after the release, however, Chinese players found a poster hanging in the apartment that acted as a game. The settings that said “Xi Jinping Winnie-the Pooh Muron”.
About 10,000 negative reviews soon flooded the game’s review page. Red Candle Games, the developer, posted an apology saying it was “perfectly an accident” that the poster was left in the game.
Within a week, however, the game was pulled from sales of the digital storefront Steam. It won multiple games at the end of 2019 and was not available in English despite an ongoing campaign to get it back on sale.
On Wednesday, the Red Candle Games announced that it had changed. The game will be released on Friday by Digital Storefront GeoG, run by Cyberpunk 207777 developer CD Project Red, according to a tweet at 10am.
New wave announcements from Chinese Internet users followed, and less than six hours later, the CDPR reversed its decision.
“Earlier today, it was announced that Game Devotion will be coming to GeoG,” The agency tweeted. “After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our stores.” It gives no further explanation and does not respond to any requests for comment.
Like many PC gaming companies, GeoG works in a gray area of China. The company’s service is available to simplified Chinese and non-VPN users. But the Chinese government technically needs to license the games to be sold in the country – a process that is strictly regulated by the national process and the administration of radio and television and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Large game companies such as Activation Blizzard have largely removed the requirement to partner with Chinese companies to publish games in their core games, while smaller storefronts such as GeoG have largely been the subject of radar-raising threats.
The gamers’ offer of a refund and an apology came when the biggest game of the year developed by CD Project Red, Cyberpunk 2077, was released to the current generation of console owners, including the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. On Monday, CD Project Red apologized in an open letter to the players.