Brazil calls for removal of 'embarrassing' political game on Steam

Audio player loading…

Brazil's Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories has called on Valve to remove the 2D beat-em-up Bolsomito 2K18 from Steam. The demand follows an investigation into Valve, Steam, and developer BS Studios over allegations that the game promotes hatred and violence against minorities and is intended to influence the country's presidential election. 

"Defeat the communistic evils in this politically incorrect game and be the hero that will free the nation from misery," the Steam description says. "Be prepared to face many kinds of enemies that intend to establish a criminal ideological dictatorship in the country." 

The problem, as reported by Correio Braziliense (via Eurogamer), is that the title and "hero" of the game are a thinly-veiled reference to Jair Bolsonaro, the leading candidate in Brazil's presidential election, who makes no secret of his far-right political stance and hostility toward women and minorities—and that the actual goal of the game is "killing gay, feminist, and landless activists."

The Correio Braziliense report led to the MPDFT investigation, which noted (Google translated from the original Portuguese) that Bolsomito 2K18 "was released on October 5, 2018, that is, two days before the first round of the Brazilian elections," that it "clearly intends to prejudice candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and thereby embarrass the 2018 elections," and—this one is kind of a head-scratcher—that the game "causes collective moral harms to social, gay and feminist movements." 

The investigation concluded with a call to Valve to remove Bolsomito 2K18 from its platform, but for now it remains available—including, according to SteamDB, in Brazil. (Somewhat more ominously, the report also calls on Brazilian authorities to "identify and qualify those responsible for BS Studios.") But the game doesn't seem to fit any of Steam's stated requirements for removal: I've played it for a few minutes and it's a terrible game, but it's legitimately playable and, gross politics aside, doesn't strike me as "straight-up trolling." 

I've reached out to Valve for more information and will update if I receive a reply. The not-very-subtle launch trailer is below.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.