Devotion: Horror Game Pulled From Steam Over Controversial Joke

A hidden joke involving Winnie the Pooh and China has caused a great deal of trouble for horror game Devotion.

Devotion Review Bombed Winnie the Pooh

Horror game Devotion has shockingly been removed from Steam following recent controversy surrounding it and the review bombs it resulted in. 

At present, it’s not possible to download Devotion from Steam (or anywhere else for that matter). In a statement on Steam, the developers mention that this is due to some technical issues with the title, but also acknowledge that it will help to “ease the heightened pressure in our community resulted from our previous Art Material Incident.”

The “Art Material Incident” that the developers mention refers to an in-game joke involving Secretary Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh that led to the title being review bombed online. This whole thing started when developer some users noticed that one of the posters in Devotion featured some writing that translated to “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh moron.” This is a reference to an odd meme in China which suggests that Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, looks like Winnie the Pooh. The Chinese government has taken steps to remove the joke wherever they find it (online or elsewhere) and it has become the source of great controversy amongst party supporters and many close to the situation. 

Devotion developers Red Candle Games issued an apology in which they stated that one of their artists simply snuck the joke in unnoticed. They removed the poster from the game, but things have gotten much, much worse since then for the studio. 

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Aside from the review bombing (which has been through and ruined the Overwhelmingly Positive rating the game had on Steam), Red Candle Games has also lost two of Devotion‘s publishers, Indievent and Winking Skywalker. The company has also elected to shut down its Weibo account (a very popular social media network in China) over the backlash. On top of that, there are now many users out there posting fake information which suggests that Devotion features even more offensive material. 

It’s gotten so bad that Red Candle has had to issue a separate, longer apology in which they essentially plead with users to forgive them and understand that this was all the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding. They ask for more time to fully address this incident, but time is not on the studio’s side in this instance. While they take full responsibility over the matter, that is something of a formality in this instance. Now that they’ve lost publishers, Red Candle must support Devotion on their own and bear the full brunt of the effect this has had on the game’s sales. 

What makes this matter that much more interesting is the fact that Devotion has been praised by critics everywhere for its amazing atmosphere, incredible story, and effective scares. it will be interesting to see if it remains popular enough outside of China to survive this considerable setback. 

Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014