Earlier today, a Devotion GOG release was announced. A short time later, GOG said that it wouldn't sell the game after all. Now, developers and publishers are speaking up — and two companies have offered to publish the game themselves.
Devotion was supposed to launch in the West way back in 2019. Unfortunately, a hidden reference to Winnie the Pooh — a Disney cartoon character that is often used as a mocking comparison to PRC President Xi Jinping — resulted in the game being removed from Steam. That was later followed by a revocation of its publisher's business license in China and a statement from Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games that we wouldn't likely see the game return anytime soon.
The tide seemed to be finally turning when Red Candle Games announced that a Devotion GOG release would be arriving soon. Unfortunately, GOG put out a statement that it would not actually be selling the game and the fallout from this decision has been steadily growing.
If you're unfamiliar with Devotion, you can get a feeling for the game's spooky vibe by checking out this trailer:
Two Publishers Step Up After Devotion GOG Release Backpedaling
The removal of the Devotion GOG release was announced via the retailer's Twitter account shortly after 10:00 AM Eastern. Less than an hour later, game publisher Poppy Works (VA-11 HALL-A, Bones 'n' Bullets) stepped up and offered to publish Devotion for Red Candle Games.
"Hello [Red Candle Games]. Sorry to hear about [GOG]," read a tweet from Poppy Works. "We'd like to help you publish [還願Devotion] on consoles and in a box for PC in the United States. [...] There's no reason to not release the game."
"Hey [Red Candle Games], Devotion is a great work of art, and we'll be happy to facilitate a release of it as it was meant to be," Top Hat Studios (The Girl from Arkanya, Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story) said on Twitter. "Not just that, but we'll also look at porting it to console systems - free of charge (we never charge devs for porting services!). Let's have a chat?"
GOG Responds, Developers React
A tweet from The Washington Post's Mikhail Klimentov includes a response from GOG to that publication; in it, GOG states that their tweet stands as their only official statement on the matter of the Devotion GOG release being removed.
Unsurprisingly, GOG's tweet this morning has not been well-received. Aside from the more positive result of two publishers offering to help get this game sold, Glass Bottom Games' upcoming indie title SkateBIRD will not be making a debut on the platform.
Earlier today, it was assumed that the game SkateBIRD was coming to @GOGcom. After receiving one message from them that undercut a fellow indie dev, we have decided not to list our game in their store.— Megan Fox (@glassbottommeg) December 16, 2020
"why drop them now?" - because they reached my breaking point of put-up-with-shit.— Megan Fox (@glassbottommeg) December 16, 2020
"didn't they already do bad shit?" - yes, and then they would fire that social media person and say oh hey we'll do better, so I'd give em benefit of doubt etc. I've just run out of doubt benefit.
"As an indie dev with a game on GOG, this is extremely upsetting," read a tweet from Whisker Squadron developer Aaron San Filippo. "I can't think of a worse message to send to gamers than to tell them they can get games literally cancelled from their store if they complain enough. This is setting a terrible precedent and perpetuating toxicity."
The best example, however, is probably from indie developer Nina Freeman and Among Us Community Director Victoria Tran (among many others) pointing out that you can currently support Red Candle Games as a studio by purchasing the company's previous game Detention on Steam, Google Play for Android, and the Apple App Store for iOS.
What do you think of the decision to cancel the Devotion GOG release? Will you be purchasing the game elsewhere if it's made available for sale? Let us know in the comments below!