The developer of indie horror, Devotion, has once again apologised for an “art asset incident” that offended Chinese players and confirmed there are no plans to bring the game back “in the near term”.
Red Candle Games withdrew its latest release, Devotion, from the Steam store back in February after Chinese players review bombed following the discovery of an in-game poster that said “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh moron”, apparently referring to the Chinese president. The developer apologised and insisted it was inserted by a lone developer without the knowledge of anyone else in the studio, but the game did not return to sale.
Consequently, the publisher behind the indie horror, Indievent, had its business license revoked earlier this month. Although Indievent cut ties with developer Red Candle Games shortly after the poster came to light, it was not enough to save the firm. According to Iain Garner, co-founder of the Asia and Europe-focused publisher Another Indie, “games industry folks in China” confirmed that while the announcement of the news did not specify the Devotion incident directly, it did intimate Indievent broke “relevant” laws. Garner reported Chinese developers were becoming increasingly wary of upsetting the regime and encouraged to “tread lightly”.
Now, in a statement shared on social media, Red Candle posted an update on the “art asset incident”, once again apologising and confirming there were no plans to bring Devotion back to retailers “in the near term”.
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
“This incident has significantly and adversely impacted all parties,” the statement said. “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.”
“We made a critical and unprofessional error during the game’s production,” it added. “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.”