Red Candle Games, the Taiwan-based developer behind the ill-fated Devotion, has released a statement regarding the future of their company after the controversy surrounding their psychological horror game led to its removal from Steam. They uploaded their full statement to Twitter, breaking a near-five-month silence on the social media platform.
Originally released in February 2019, Devotion saw quick success as it reached #1 on the Global Top Sellers List on Steam only three days after its release. However, after players uncovered a meme comparing China’s President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh—a popular ongoing meme that has resulted in the Chinese government censoring any mention of the meme, even to the point of banning last year’s Christopher Robin film from releasing theatrically in their country—the game was first pulled from Steam in China, then worldwide shortly afterward, despite the developers’ apology and attempts at clarification. This all transpired within a week of the game’s release.
Amidst the chaos, Devotion’s publishers Indievent and Winking Entertainment terminated their contracts with Red Candle and abandoned the project entirely. Months later, Indievent’s business license was revoked by the Chinese government, though it was never explicitly stated that they lost their license specifically because of the meme incident.
Fast forward to today, Red Candle has come forward with an unfortunate update regarding the chances of Devotion ever re-releasing.
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
After once again apologizing for the inclusion of the meme, Red Candle revealed their “unanimous decision to not re-release Devotion in the near term”. The company will only “reconsider re-releasing” the game “if, in the future, the public would be willing to view this game rationally” rather than focusing on the meme or accusing the company of planting it within the game on purpose as a publicity stunt.
Though the fate of Devotion seems grim, Red Candle seems ready to move onto new projects and receive “a second chance in the near future.” They assert they “will continue [their] passion to creativity as a game company.”
It’s unclear what, if anything, Red Candle could have in the works in terms of a new game any time soon, but at least the company is determined to move forward.