Sales of Devotion (還願) have been strong, despite a boycott in China over accusations that the Taiwanese-developed online game includes an image that mocks Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese-language online media outlet New Talk reported yesterday.
Devotion is a horror-themed, riddle-based game created and developed by Red Candle Games that was released on Tuesday last week. The first-person game depicts the life of a family shadowed by religious belief in a Taiwanese apartment complex in the 1980s.
However, many in China called it a “Taiwanese independence game” and vowed to boycott it after seeing an image in the game that apparently mocks Xi, with the Chinese characters of his name and Winnie the Pooh displayed in ancient calligraphy style on a charm that Taoists believe exorcises ghosts.
Online game review Web site Spiel Times reported that “Devotion included a poster that said ‘Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh moron.’”
The company on Wednesday apologized over the image, saying it had removed images in an updated version.
The names of people and places in the game are fictitious and any relationship to real people is coincidental, the company said in a statement on Facebook.
The controversy stemmed from a company worker using a chunk of words as design elements in the game, which was not made known to other employees, its Chinese publisher, Indievent, or its investor, Winking Entertainment, until complaints were received, the company said on Saturday.
Its collaboration with the publisher and investor has been terminated, while it would shoulder any losses as per its contracts with them, the company said, adding that Devotion has been removed from online game platform Steam’s channel in China.
Despite the controversy, sales have increased, with up to 200,000 downloads worldwide, up from 75,000, Newtalk reported yesterday, citing online data compiled by Steam Spy.
Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) on Saturday said he supports the Taiwanese-made video game in a post on Facebook.
“Devotion is a good game that is vibrant and creative, and it includes many elements of Taiwanese folklore and customs,” Chen said.
He supports freedom of creation, Chen said.
Additional reporting by Ko Yu-hao and CNA
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