Devotion GOG Removal Causes Publishers, Indie Devs to Speak Up

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Devotion GOG Removal Causes Publishers, Indie Devs to Speak Up

December 16, 2020

By: Robert N. Adams

 
 

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 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-ABones '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?"

Devotion GOG removal slice

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.

 

Aside from commentary on the matter by developers like Markus "Notch" Persson and Rami Ismail, a number of other developers have raised some more substantial points on the matter.

"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!

 
A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!

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