Devotion is coming back. Or rather, it was. Earlier today, Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games announced that its first-person horror title would be coming to GOG.com on December 18th. It would cost $16.99, the company explained, and the in-game “content” wouldn’t be altered. “Thank you for your trust and support,” the company tweeted. “We wish you a happy end of the year.” But that's no longer happening. Hours later, GOG.com announced on Twitter: "After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store."
Devotion was originally released on Steam in February 2019. Critics praised the game for its setting, an abandoned apartment complex in Taiwan, and mesmerizing mix of psychological horror. Players soon discovered a meme that mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping, though. The game was immediately review bombed on Steam. In a statement, Red Candle Games explained that the reference was part of a placeholder asset that should have been deleted prior to Devotion’s release. The developer apologised for its inclusion and added that the meme had already been swapped out.
But it wasn’t enough. A couple of days later, Devotion vanished from Steam. In a post published to Facebook and Steam, Red Candle Games said it had pulled the game due to technical issues. The developer said it would also use the time to check whether the game had any other controversial material. “Our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in,” the company said. “Hopefully this would help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return.” Devotion was never re-released on Steam, however.
In July 2019, it emerged that the Chinese government had stripped Indievent, the publisher behind Devotion, of its business license. Later that month, Red Candle Games explained that the meme had caused “immeasurable harm” to the team and its publisher. After some reflection, it had decided “to not re-release Devotion in the near term.” It added that the game could feasibly come back, though, if the public was able to review the game “rationally.” Physical copies re-emerged in Taiwan last July. The GOG launch would have been the game's first digital re-release, though.
Update 12/16/20 10:35AM ET: GOG.com has announced it will no longer be hosting Devotion. We’ve updated the article to reflect this.