Just days after launching on Steam, Taiwanese horror game Devotion vanishes after a number of Chinese players review bombed it over a Winnie the Pooh meme.
Red Candle Games, Devotion's developer, said the game will eventually return, but only after a more thorough inspection.
Developer Pulls Out 'Devotion' From Steam
After its Feb. 19 release, Devotion has seen mostly positive reviews and even became one of the hottest videos on Twitch, bringing in hundreds of thousands of views. However, things went south after an Easter egg enraged Chinese players.
The Easter egg in question is a poster randomly hanging on a wall of an abandoned apartment in Devotion. While some may tend to overlook such an element in-game, it caught the eyes of Chinese players.
The said poster, which called Chinese president Xi Jinping "Winnie-the-Pooh moron," angered thousands of Chinese players, who all proceeded to leave negative reviews and a ton of thumbs-down on Devotion's Steam page.
After all the review bombing, Red Candle games eventually pulled out Devotion from Steam. According to the developer, the game will undergo further QA check to ensure no other "unintended materials" are included once it relaunches.
"Due to technical issues that cause unexpected crashes and among other reasons, we are pulling Devotion off from steam store to have another complete QA check. At the same time we'd like to take this opportunity to ease the heightened pressure in our community resulted from our previous Art Material Incident, our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in. Hopefully this would help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return," Red Candle Games said in a post published on Steam.
The Controversial Meme
Now for those unaware, Winnie the Pooh has been used in memes referring to the Chinese president Jinping due to the similarities between him and Pooh Bear, as suggested by some Chinese internet users over the years.
However, Jinping himself was apparently offended by the said memes that it came to a point where Chinese authorities started censoring Winnie the Pooh images in 2017. For starters, if a user types in the Chinese characters for "Winnie the Pooh" in the micro-blogging site Weibo, a message that says "Content is illegal" will pop out, according to Financial Times.
Even the film about Pooh, Christopher Robin, wasn't able to dodge the censorship in China, where it was denied a release.