Seemingly unintentionally, this game from a small team in Taiwan found itself at the center of a heated debate over freedom of expression and censorship that spilled out around the world. It ultimately resulted in the game being pulled from sale on Steam entirely, and then the Chinese government taking action against the Chinese based publisher of the game, Indieevent, having their business license revoked, resulting in them shutting down completely. This happened across a backdrop of Valve putting together the now launched government-approved version of Steam for China, a potentially massively lucrative endeavor for Valve, that will require them surrendering a greater level of control to the government than they would typically do in the vast majority of other regions they operate in.
Many thought that this was perhaps going to be the last we would hear of the game in question, with the developer taking an apologetic stance seeking to de-escalate the controversy, and posting a message on Facebook in July 2019, explaining their position:
“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.
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’.”