Those who have played the 2019 Taiwanese horror game Devotion from Red Candle Games will recall the stunning graphics, creepy atmosphere, and gripping story, offering a truly immersive gameplay experience. Some more astute players may have even located the sneaky meme included as an Easter egg, which poked fun at Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since it first landed on Steam, Devotion earned mostly positive reviews. That is until that particular meme was discovered. A landslide of negative reviews then came flooding in, in what appeared to almost be an organized attack on the game. It was so fast and so brutal, soon the game was removed from Steam completely. This was in spite of developers apologizing and removing the controversial meme, explaining it was not intended to be included.
Taking the game out of circulation was not enough for the Chinese government, though. They stripped the game’s publishing company, Indievent, of their business license, prompting Red Candle Games to declare that they had no plans to re-release the game in the future. They issued a statement referencing what was described as “immeasurable harm” caused by the meme.
Cut to December 2020 when Devotion was supposed to finally see a re-release on GOG. It had a confirmed release date, a price tag, and all was looking good for fans to finally be able to enjoy the game again. They even mentioned how it wasn’t going to change its contents whatsoever, meaning the controversial joke could’ve been included. Sadly, this was not to be. In an official tweet from GOG, they later stated they would not be listing the game in their store, following “many messages from gamers.”
Earlier today, it was announced that the game Devotion is coming to GOG. After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store.
— GOG.COM (@GOGcom) December 16, 2020
It is noteworthy that they did not specify where these gamers were from. However, reading between the lines, it appears we may be seeing a resurgence of the review bombing that occurred on Steam back in 2019 when the offending meme was first discovered. Given the timeframe of mere hours between the announcement and the cancellation, it is clear that some gamers will continue to hold a grudge.
Unfortunately, this is likely to mean any future attempts for a Devotion re-release will be met with the same fate. It is a shame that such a great game seems destined to be lost to the pages of history due to one simple, small error. Fans of the game remain hopeful that those who keep feeling the need to shut this release down, will eventually reconsider so that everyone can enjoy this fantastic game.
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