Red Candle Games is a Taiwanese game studio that released the horror game Devotion back in February. The game earned a great deal of praise for the short time that it was available on PC, but it was quickly pulled from sale after an easter egg was discovered that made fun of Chinese president Xi Jinping. Now we've learned that Devotion won't be made available again anytime soon, and in fact, the studio's publishing partner, Indievent, has had its business license revoked.
The Xi Jinping easter egg in Devotion could be found when examining a particular poster in the game. When examining the poster, the phrase "Xi Jinping the Winnie the Pooh moron" would flash on the screen in Chinese, meaning only those who could read the language would have known what it said. Many Chinese gamers were unhappy with this characterization of their president, and so they review-bombed the game on Steam.
Devotion was pulled from Steam not long after the Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh easter egg was discovered. Red Candle Games released a patch to remove the joke from the game, but hasn't re-released the game itself despite it being four months after the controversy. Earlier today, the studio released a statement to confirm that it has no plans to re-release the controversial game in the near future.
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
In its statement, Red Candle apologized to its fans for deciding against re-releasing the game. It explained that the inclusion of this Xi Jinping easter egg wasn't a deliberate choice, but rather, a "malfunction of project management." It added that it could one day re-consider releasing Devotion, but only if "the public would be willing to view this game rationally and allow us the opportunity to rebuild trust with our players."
For the uninitiated, Xi Jinping's appearance has been compared to Winnie the Pooh for years, which has upset the Chinese government. China has aggressively censored Winnie the Pooh in the region, to the point that the character was blurred out in the Chinese version of Kingdom Hearts 3, with only his feet visible.
Overall, it's unfortunate that Red Candle Games isn't re-releasing Devotion. As previously stated, the game earned quite a bit of critical acclaim when it first launched, and had it stayed available, it could have been named one of the best horror games of the year.
Devotion was previously available for PC.