Red Candle Games, the Taiwanese studio whose first-person horror game Devotion has been unavailable to buy following controversy over a reference to Chinese premier Xi Jinping, has put its games up for sale on its own online store. Devotion and the studio’s first game Detention are available to buy now without DRM.
Devotion was pulled from Steam shortly after its launch in February 2019. The game was critically lauded for its atmosphere and originality, but drew controversy and negative user reviews after users noticed an in-game poster that read, roughly, “Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh moron.” Xi is commonly compared to Winnie the Pooh in online memes, which often meet the ire of China’s online censors.
At the time, Red Candle Games said it was removing Devotion for technical and QA-related reasons, and would also “review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in.” The game never returned to Steam, and Red Candle Games later apologized for its “severe art material mistake.”
Devotion attracted new controversy in December 2020 when CD Projekt Red’s storefront GOG backed out from an agreement to sell the game hours after its announcement. “After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store,” a statement from the store read. “This is a difficult predicament to overcome, but we won’t stop striving,” Red Candle Games said in response.
With the developer now selling Devotion for PC and Mac on its own terms, the game’s availability should be assured for the time being. “We hope to provide a direct and simple purchasing channel for players who’re interested in our games,” the studio says in a tweet. It’s not immediately clear whether the Xi reference has been removed.