Taiwanese horror title Devotion, developed by Red Candle Games of Detention fame, was released this month to good reviews and ratings, but recently, the game got review bombed to a 40% positive review percentage (ie. Mixed) on Steam.
The reason for this was because the game had a Easter egg early on that insulted the current president of China, Xi Jinping. It was an in-game charm that said, ‘Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh Moron’, referring to the incident where Winnie the Pooh was banned in China after the president was compared to the stuffed bear. Additionally, the game may have compared Mainland Chinese to followers of a mindless cult in certain sections.
Needless to say, it didn’t catch on well with Chinese players who bought the game and played it, although the Easter eggs weren’t found immediately. Devotion got review-bombed with written text in both English and Simplified Chinese, and the controversy has splashed over to Detention as well, with the latest reviews being negative despite the Overwhelmingly Positive rating.
The art material has since been removed and replaced as of Saturday in the latest update for the game, with Red Candle Games making the following statement and apology:
When making the prototype, the team often referred to the then known internet slang as placeholder. However, due to the version synchronizing problem, not all of the placeholders were deleted properly. This is purely an accident, and we have no intention for causing harm nor hatred. The said art material has been taken down and replaced at the evening of February 21. This incident indicates the fact that Red Candle Games’ project management has failed to function. As a game company, Red Candle Games has immense room for improvement. We are deeply sorry for the trouble it caused to everyone, and that we sincerely ask for the forgiveness of our players.
Red Candle Games take full responsibility on the art material incident.
That said, this hasn’t stopped the game from being delisted from Steam’s China store, and it seems that two Mainland Chinese publishers have withdrawn from publishing the game on that store as well.
Devotion is available for PC on Steam. The game will be published in USA and Europe by Winking Entertainment.