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Devotion developer Red Candle Games says a scandal involving an art asset that mocked Chinese president Xi Jinping, and seemingly resulted in the game's publisher Indievent having its business license revoked in China, has caused "immeasurable harm."
Outlining its views in a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, the company apologized to everyone affected by the incident, including its publisher Indievent and those developers who worked on the horror title.
That situation began to spiral back in February when Devotion was review bombed on Steam after player became aware of a small art asset referencing a meme that made fun of the Chinese president. The Taiwanese developer pulled the game from Steam soon after, and said its relationship with publishers Winking Skywalker and Indievent had been terminated.
Things then got worse for Indievent in July when the Chinese government revoked Indievent's business license for violating "relevant" laws. Although it wasn't explicitly stated, its believed the company's involvement in the Devotion scandal was the real reason for the decision.
Talking about those recent developments at length for the first time, Red Candle explained the controversy has "significantly and adversely impacted all parties," and that as a result it has reached a unanimous decision not to re-release Devotion in the near term.
"For the past four months, the art asset incident related to Devotion has caused immeasurable harm to Red Candle Games and our partner. We would like to offer our most sincere apology to all impacted teams and personnel. Red Candle and its partner are assuming all responsibilities for the losses; we will not stop in our endeavor to prevent the damage from worsening," the studio commented.
"This incident has significantly and adversely impacted all parties. Our partner has been making every effort to assist Red Candle. While mediation is still in progress, Red Candle's co-founders have reached a unanimous decision to not re-release Devotion in the near term, including but not limited to obtaining profit from sales, revision, IP authorization, etc. to prevent unnecessary misconception."
Red Candle said that as it continues to reflect, it has been buoyed by the knowledge that some people are beginning to realize the incident was an accident, rather than a deliberate act. The company has maintained the offending image was simply a placeholder that it forgot to remove.
With that in mind, the studio said it would be open to re-releasing the game one the publlic are willing to view it "rationally" and grant Red Candle the chance to rebuild trust with consumers. It also leapt to the defense of its partners, and claimed responsibility for the incident as the game's sole developer.
"Red Candle is grateful that our partner entrusted us without reservation during the game’s development in the past two years. Regrettably, we failed to meet their expectations and caused them to suffer undue hardship. As the game’s sole developer, Red Candle is inexcusable for this incident. We hope that our partner and related parties may be excused from further criticism," the studio continued.
"We made a critical and unprofessional error during the game’s production. It saddens us that the focus of the game has shifted drastically since the erroneous art asset was found. A revision patch was implemented immediately as we have absolutely no intent to stage a publicity stunt.
"As regretful as the incident was, we have to bear its full consequence. We hope for a second chance in the near future. A chance to prove that, both Red Candle and its partner simply wanted to create a great game and no one wished for such incident to occur."