Devotion is a survival horror game from Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games. It’s a follow-up to their own hit survival horror Detention, and by all accounts, it’s a brilliant, creepy game. When the game was first released, it hit the top of Steam’s charts and was subject to rave user reviews – most of them stemming from China.
Soon after release though, a small easter-egg in the game had some less-than-favourable stuff t say about Chinese president Xi Jinping. The image compared Xi to Winnie the Pooh, and it caused a bit of an international incident. It drew enough Chinese ire that saw the game yanked from Steam in China and the game’s publisher Indievent have its licence revoked. The game was later pulled from Steam globally to fix technical issues and scrub any other wayward messages. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the game’s coming back.
In a new update, Red Candle has fallen on the sword once again taking all blame for the incident, while suggesting that the game won’t be back on sale any time soon. Here’s what the developer said:
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’.
(1) For the past four months, the art asset incident related to ‘Devotion’ has caused immeasurable harm to Red Candle Games and our partner. We would like to offer our most sincere apology to all impacted teams and personnel. Red Candle and its partner are assuming all responsibilities for the losses; we will not stop in our endeavor to prevent the damage from worsening.
(2) This incident has significantly and adversely impacted all parties. Our partner has been making every effort to assist Red Candle. 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.
(3) As we reflect on the situation, we notice many players, industry friends, and the media are starting to understand that the incident was indeed a malfunction of project management, not a deliberate act. If, in the future, the public would be willing to view this game rationally and allow us the opportunity to rebuild trust with our players, Red Candle would reconsider re-releasing ‘Devotion’.
As such, we want to apologize to the players for the wait. We are truly sorry, but please understand our decision.
Red Candle is grateful that our partner entrusted us without reservation during the game’s development in the past two years. Regrettably, we failed to meet their expectations and caused them to suffer undue hardship. As the game’s sole developer, Red Candle is inexcusable for this incident. We hope that our partner and related parties may be excused from further criticism.
Since Red Candle Games establishment in 2015, we have dedicated ourselves to craft the best gaming experience for our audience worldwide. In ‘Devotion’, its core message is about “the tragedy of a loving family twisted by the frantic belief of a religious cult.”
We made a critical and unprofessional error during the game’s production. It saddens us that the focus of the game has shifted drastically since the erroneous art asset was found. A revision patch was implemented immediately as we have absolutely no intent to stage a publicity stunt.
However, 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 is absolutely bonkers to me that a single bit of inflammatory in-game art has caused this much furore. If you ever want to see the effects of “politics ruining games,” this right here is it.
Last Updated: July 15, 2019