Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games delivered a somber and apologetic update on their embroiled game Devotion today. Five months after it was pulled from Steam, and 2 weeks after the game’s publisher Indievent had its business license revoked, the possibility of a re-release is not much more hopeful.
Devotion was removed from Steam less than two weeks after its launch in February due to what Red Candle Games refers to as an “art asset incident”. “This incident has significantly and adversely impacted all parties,” today’s update via Twitter states (referring to the game’s business partners).
“While mediation is still in progress, Red Candle’s co-founders have reached a unanimous decision to not re-release ‘Devotion’ in the near term, including but not limited to obtaining profit from sales, revision, IP authorization, etc. to prevent unnecessary misconception.”
Devotion is a first-person horror game set within an apartment complex in 1980s Taiwan. With gameplay and features reminiscent of P.T. and What Remains of Edith Finch, Devotion received a warm critical reception back in February.
The source of the controversy surrounding Devotion was the discovery of an in-game image comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping with the fictional character Winnie the Pooh. This disastrous Easter egg resulted in review bombing and subsequent removal from Steam even though it was quickly patched-out by Red Candle Games.
In today’s update, the developer attempts to make clear that the inclusion of this image was “a malfunction of project management, not a deliberate act.” It was an “unprofessional error,” and the team had “absolutely no intention to stage a publicity stunt” by allowing this depiction of the President to makes its way into the final product.
Despite the grim, or at best, stagnant outlook for Devotion, the film adaptation of the game is moving forward as planned. Entitled “Detention”, the John Hsu directed work has a release date planned for September.
The trailer for Detention is available here, and you’ll find today’s announcement embedded below. For more information on the controversy as it unfolded in February (and the infamous art asset), check out this Reddit post.
If you missed the very small window in February in which the game was available on Steam, you can read through our explanation of the story and ending of Devotion (spoilers).
Greetings, we are Red Candle Games from Taiwan. To all of our players, industry and media friends, we would like to provide an update on ‘Devotion’. pic.twitter.com/wfGTUbHtHx
— redcandlegames (@redcandlegames) July 15, 2019