Valve has reportedly removed visual novel Taimanin Asagi from its digital PC store, Steam. Whilst the game contains a number of extreme premises, including torture and rape, the developer believes the ban is due to the depiction of minors and not its graphic content.
Valve started cracking down on problematic sexualised content in games at the end of last year, prompting multiple developers to report that their visual novels had been banned, particularly those with young, anime-style characters – even those purportedly of age – in games featuring nudity, sex scenes, or set in schools.
“Thank you for all of the comments,” reads the translation of a tweet from a Lilith Soft employee (thanks, GI.biz). “For this title we’re planning a story about housewife falling into depravity. It was unfortunate that our title, Taimanin Asagi 1, got rejected by Steam during their review, but we’ve learned that Steam’s reviews are extremely strict with regards to characters that might be perceived as underage. We’re hoping to make good use of this experience in our newest title.”
Valve has not as yet responded to requests for a statement.
This is not the first time Valve has banned problematic games. Back in March, it confirmed it would not permit a game that allows players to rape women in a zombie apocalypse to go on sale. Rather than condemning the game or banning it for its shocking sexual violence content, however, the company said it wouldn’t sell 3D visual novel Rape Day as the game “poses unknown costs and risks” to Valve.
Last year, the company took the extraordinary view of deciding “that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that [it] decide[s] are illegal, or straight up trolling”.
“The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content. Instead, it’s about whether the Store contains games within an entire range of controversial topics – politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on,” Valve said back in June 2018. “In addition, there are controversial topics that are particular to games – like what even constitutes a “game”, or what level of quality is appropriate before something can be released.”