A terrific Taiwanese award-winning game was taken from store fronts by CD-led developer Projekt Red amid backing from Chinese gamers, hours after its sale.
Devotion, a PC game that harms the life of a Taiwanese family in a religious cult in the 1980s, was released to great acclaim in February 2019. But shortly after its release, Chinese players discovered a poster which hung in the apartment which is like a games’ setting said “Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh moron”.
Nearly 10,000 negative reviews flooded the game’s review page. The developer, Red Candle Games, apologized, saying it was “just an accident” that the poster was left in the game.
Within a week, however, the game was ripped from sale on the Steam digital store. It has not been available in English since then, despite winning several game awards of the year at the end of 2019, and an ongoing campaign for its return to sales.
On Wednesday, Red Candle Games announced a change. The game would be unveiled Friday by GOG, against a digital store run by developer Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Red, he said in a tweet at 10am.
A new wave of opprobrium from Chinese internet users followed the news and less than six hours later, CDPR reversed the decision.
“Earlier today, it was announced that the Devotion game is coming to GOG,” the company tweeted. “After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store. “He gave no further explanation and did not respond to a request for comment.
Like many PC game companies, GOG operates in a gray area of China. The company’s service is available in Simplified Chinese, and for users without a VPN. But technically the Chinese government wants games to be allowed for sale in the country – a process tightly controlled by the National Radio and Television Administration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Larger gaming companies like Activision Blizzard have exceeded the requirement by partnering with Chinese companies to release their games on the mainland, while smaller storefronts like GOG have being content to fly under the radar – something with the release of Devotion may have threatened.
It comes after gamers were offered a retaliation and apology when this year’s biggest game, Cyberpunk 2077, developed by CD Projekt Red, was released in a near-finished state for owners of custom generation consoles including the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. CD Projekt Red apologized in an open letter to players Monday.