GOG suddenly pulls troubled horror game Devotion mere hours after its return was announced

A lady in the game Devotion.
(Image credit: Red Candle)

Update: Earlier today, Red Candle Games announced that its horror game Devotion would be released on GOG. But now, according to a tweet from GOG itself, that is no longer the case.

This is a sudden (and baffling) decision. Who are these mysterious 'gamers' and what exactly did they say that provoked GOG to pull the game? We've reached out to the company for comment. In the meantime, you can read all about Devotion and its troubled history in the original article below.

Original story: In early 2019 the indie horror game Devotion, which PCG thought was pretty great, was discovered to contain a reference to China's president, Xi Jinping. A piece of paper in the game had references to Xi, the word 'moron', and the Disney character Winnie the Pooh: the latter is a comparison that has been widely used to mock Xi, to the extent that China banned an entire Winnie the Pooh movie because of it.

Once this was out in the open, things began to go badly wrong for Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games. Chinese players began to review-bomb the game en masse, undeterred by the removal of the offending material. Shortly afterwards the game was pulled from Steam by Red Candle itself.

This wasn't just a case of an online argument that got out of hand: the game's Chinese publisher, Indievent, soon afterwards had its business license revoked, while the Taiwanese publisher Winking Entertainment also quietly backed off. Amid fears that the game was being scrubbed out of history, Harvard University stepped in to ensure Devotion and the studio's previous game Detention were preserved in its East Asia collection

Today the developer announced it will be re-releasing Devotion via GOG on December 18.

Watch the trailer and you'll get some notion of just how 'nope' this experience is, even without Disney references. Red Candle has been quietly working on its third game, as well as releasing Devotion in a limited physical edition in Taiwan, but it's great to see the return of this title. It's a symbolic victory over a censorious and small-minded internet mob, and as close to a happy ending as this situation was ever going to have.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."