Devotion Pulled From Steam and YouTube After Chinese Backlash Over Winnie the Pooh Meme Mocking Xi Jinping [Update]

Devotion Pulled From Steam and YouTube After Chinese Backlash Over Winnie the Pooh Meme Mocking Xi Jinping [Update]

A Taiwanese horror game's fortune takes a turn for the worse.

Update 2: In a Facebook post, Red Candle Games confirmed it removed Devotion from Steam "to have another QA check," and to ease tensions within its community by reviewing Devotion "once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in."

Red Candle Games says that hopefully the time will "help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return." Suggesting Devotion will return to Steam sometime in the future.

Update 1: According to a cached version of Devotion's Steam page, the publishers are listed as Indievent and Winking Skywalker. The homepages for both companies have been taken offline, and it's unclear when exactly the sites were pulled. PC Gamer previously reported that Red Candle Games split with its publishers, and its blog post urged players not to blame them for the political meme.

Devotion's publishers, Indievent and Winking Skywalker, are both offline now. | Matt Kim, Steam

Original Story: Devotion, the new horror game from Taiwanese developers Red Candle Games, has been pulled from Steam following a review-bombing campaign. In a new blog published today, Red Candle Games tried to clarify its current situation after a reference aimed at the Chinese president Xi Jinping caused backlash among Chinese gamers.

It began after players discovered a hidden reference of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh. In Chinese social media, president Xi Jinping is often equated with Winnie the Pooh to the point where Winnie the Pooh is censored on the Chinese internet. A Xi/Winnie the Pooh reference was discovered in Devotion, and the horror game was subsequently review bombed on Steam by upset netizens.

Devotion's Steam review went from positive to mixed or negative over the weekend. The review bombing even spilled into the developers' last release, the adventure horror about Taiwan's White Terror period called Detention. Red Candle Games has since updated Devotion to remove the reference and issued an apology. That hasn't appeared to assuage those upset by the reference, who have since started sharing faked statements from Red Candle Games, false information about Devotion's meaning, and inaccurate sales numbers.

"As a game company, Red Candle Games' only goal is to provide an impressive and good playing experience to all. However, we failed our players' anticipation and offended many others due to the said mistake," writes Red Candle Games in a new Steam post and referring to its Xi Jinping reference. "For that, we feel awfully sorry and devastated. Again, we would like to reaffirm that the severe art material mistake is made by Red Candle Games. It has nothing to do with any of our partners. Red Candle Games take full responsibility and bear all the condemns."

Red Candle Games says it is currently in "the process of business mediation," and until then Devotion is no longer available on Steam. The Devotion Deluxe Edition, which bundled the game and the soundtrack, now only includes the soundtrack which is still available. Trailers for Devotion from Red Candle Games' official YouTube channel have also been removed.

Playlists for Devotion are now empty. | Matt Kim, Red Candle Games, YouTube.

Review bombing, or targeting a game with negative reviews, is often a tactic used by a group upset by the decisions of a game's developers or publishers. Metro Exodus, for example, was review bombed after publisher Deep Silver announced Metro Exodus would become an Epic Games Store exclusive.

We've reached out to Red Candle Games for a statement and are awaiting further updates.

Thanks, PC Gamer.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Devotion Dev Gives Re-Release Update and the News Isn't Great

A re-release isn't off the table, but probably not happening soon.

The Best Games of 2019 After Six Months

Our ongoing list of what we believe are the best video games of 2019.

A Closer Look at Devotion, the Hit Taiwanese Horror Game Taken off Steam

Like Red Candle Games' predecessor Detention, Devotion is a grounded horror game.

From Jedi: Fallen Order to Bushido Blade: The 35 Year Quest for the Perfect Video Game Lightsaber

Tracing the history of the iconic weapon from the Atari 2600 to the present, and all the ways that it's influenced gaming.

Final Fantasy 14 May Have Just Been Confirmed for PS5

Will the realm be reborn again on a new console?

Destiny 2's Vex Offensive is Wrapping Up, But the Finale's Underwhelming

The Undying Mind's return left a little to be desired.

Galarian Meowth: Oh My God, What the Hell

The U.K. is free of rabies, but Galar seemingly isn't.

More News

Final Fantasy 14 May Have Just Been Confirmed for PS5

Will the realm be reborn again on a new console?

Destiny 2's Vex Offensive is Wrapping Up, But the Finale's Underwhelming

The Undying Mind's return left a little to be desired.

More on PC

From Jedi: Fallen Order to Bushido Blade: The 35 Year Quest for the Perfect Video Game Lightsaber

Tracing the history of the iconic weapon from the Atari 2600 to the present, and all the ways that it's influenced gaming.

Final Fantasy 14 May Have Just Been Confirmed for PS5

Will the realm be reborn again on a new console?

Destiny 2's Vex Offensive is Wrapping Up, But the Finale's Underwhelming

The Undying Mind's return left a little to be desired.

Borderlands 3's First Campaign DLC Will Be a Glitzy Casino Heist

Like Ocean's 11, though probably a lot louder.

Where to Get All the Skins for the Mantis in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

Here's where to find every paint job for your spaceship.

Former Arkane Founder and Producer Team Up to Form New Studio

And you won't have to wait long to see what they're working on.

More Horror Games

Outlast 2 Walkthrough: Document Locations, Recording Locations, Level Guides, Puzzles

Outlast 2 drops protagonist Blake Langermann on the outskirts of the Sonoran Desert, and tasks him with rescuing his wife, Lynn, from a town of murderous lunatics. We've got all you need to get through the game in this Outlast 2 Walkthrough.

Simple Sprites, Potent Frights: How Sprite-based Horror Games Can Produce Genuinely Big Scares

Airdorf's Faith series demonstrates how simple sprites can magnify a horror game's creepy atmosphere rather than detract from it.