The publisher behind indie horror Devotion, Indievent, has had its business license revoked following the discovery earlier this year of an in-game poster that said “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh moron”, apparently referring to the Chinese president. The developer apologised for the poster at the time but the game has not returned to sale and now the publisher has been effectively shut down.
Red Candle Games withdrew its latest release, Devotion, from the Steam store back in February after Chinese players review bombed the horror because of the poster. The developer apologised and insisted it was inserted by a lone developer without the knowledge of anyone else in the studio.
Indievent cut ties with developer Red Candle Games shortly after the poster came to light, but it was not enough to save the firm. According to Iain Garner, co-founder of the Asia and Europe-focused publisher Another Indie (thanks, PCGN), the publisher has had its business license revoked. Revealing the news came “from games industry folks in China”, the announcement does not specify the Devotion incident directly but intimates Indievent broke “relevant” laws. Garner now reports Chinese developers are increasingly wary of upsetting the regime and encouraged to “tread lightly”.
The Chinese publishers of Devotion (the horror game that had anti-Xi artwork in it) have had their business license revoked. pic.twitter.com/LIAJFOmdTF
— Iain Garner – Buy Our Games (@memnoch87) July 1, 2019
“It was [not] until we received a private report made by a player on February 21 that we realized what was exactly written on that art material. Upon learning of this, we immediately replaced the art material within an hour,” the developers said at the time. “The words written on the art material does not stand for Red Candle Games’ stance, nor is it in any ways related to Devotion’s story and theme.
“It is not Red Candle’s vision to secretly project extensive ideology, nor is it to attack any person in the real world,” the statement added. “Even if the sensitive art element was wrongfully placed before, we kindly ask you not to over interpret other game material.”