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GOG walks back release of controversial horror game Devotion

GOG walks back release of controversial horror game Devotion


Red Candle Games once again loses its platform

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Hours after announcing it would bring controversial horror game Devotion to its platform, CD Projekt Red’s digital storefront GOG has reneged on its release plans. The company’s social media account claims that “after receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store.”

Devotion has been at the center of a censorship controversy since release last year, after players found in-game content that referred to Xi Jinping, the president of China, as a “Winnie-the-Pooh moron.” The Chinese leader is notoriously sensitive to the cartoon bear, to which memers have continuously compared him; the movie Christopher Robin did not get a Chinese release. Mentions of comedian John Oliver were outright censored on social media after a segment that mentioned the Winnie the Pooh comparisons. Players review-bombed the game, and the developer pulled it from Steam shortly after.

“after receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store”

At the time, Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games issued several apologies, first claiming that they’d pulled the game due to a QA check, and that the art’s inclusion was a mistake. The developer later addressed the art in question more thoroughly. “We failed our players’ anticipation and offended many others due to the said mistake,” Red Candle Games wrote on Steam. “For that, we feel awfully sorry and devastated ... Red Candle Games take full responsibility and bear all the condemns. We sincerely hope that this end with Red Candle, and that please do not take it out on all the innocent partners.”

In the months following, Devotion struggled to find a new home. In a statement printed by The Verge’s sister site Polygon, Red Candle Games said that “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.”

It’s been a busy news cycle for CD Projekt Red — better known as a developer than for its PC storefront — over the past week. The studio’s highly anticipated release Cyberpunk 2077 has been plagued with technical issues and demands for refunds. Meanwhile, GOG is notorious for posting insensitive material on social media, in keeping with CD Projekt Red’s habit of appealing to an edgy fan base.

Red Candle Games’ announcement that Devotion would finally find a home on GOG, however, has been short-lived. We’ve reached out to GOG for comment and will update accordingly.