Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games’ most recent release drew a sizable amount of controversy, and was eventually pulled form digital distribution, over an in-game meme mocking China’s president, but, despite remaining delisted, the game won’t vanish completely.
Both the now-infamous horror game Devotion and Red Candle’s previous horror entry Detention have been added to the Harvard-Yenching Library, an arm of Harvard University’s library aimed at preserving and collecting East Asian art and historical artifacts.
“It is an incredible honour which belongs to not only Red Candle but also our supporters/players worldwide,” shared the Red Candle team in a post to Facebook
“As game designers, never have we thought that our works could one day be added to its prestige collection. While we truly appreciate the recognition, we had also taken this opportunity to rethink the possibilities that our games could achieve.”
Devotion launched on Steam in February 2019, but Red Candle pulled it from sale within a matter of weeks after the discovery of an in-game meme mocking Chinese president Xi Jinping led to a torrential review bombing spree on the game’s Steam page. Red Candle later said that the meme, a small poster featured in-game, was placeholder art that mistakenly made its way to the final release.
The situation escalated from there despite the delisting and apology, and Red Candle recently said that there are no plans to re-release the game in the near term as the controversy has “significantly and adversely impacted all parties.” Those parties likely include Devotion publisher Indievent which had its business license revoked by the Chinese government last summer, though Devotion wasn’t explicitly offered as the reason for the action.
While Devotion looks to remain unobtainable for the time being, its inclusion in the Harvard-Yenching Library means the game won’t vanish from memory any time soon.
"For the past one year, we are sorry for making our community worried. Although the current status might not be ideal, we are still here and that nothing has changed - we are and will always develop games with the same passion," writes Red Candle Games.
"Last but not the least, we’d like to express our gratitude toward our partners, friends and families, especially a big thank you to all fans who still believe in Red Candle Games. It’s a tough year for many of us, but we will keep going, and hopefully in the future we could share more works with you all."