Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell has called for a government review of tech companies and gaming platforms following the controversy around Rape Day, a visual novel-style game which let players rape and murder women in an apocalyptic setting.
"We respect developers' desire to express themselves, and the goal of Steam is to help developers find an audience, but this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very hard for us to help them do that", Valve added.
The reference to its previous blog entry was one that issued fairly loose policies and a general hands-off approach from Valve regarding what the company would allow on its platform.
The game was previewed on the Steam platform for three weeks and featured screenshots of women held at gunpoint and included rape scenes, which caused immediate backlash. "Rape Day's" gameplay advertised "violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sex, obscene language, necrophilia, and incest", the Independent reports.
The game had been set for release in April.
Valve has announced it will block the release of a controversial game that was to be distributed through its service.
That said, I have a feeling this game was made to push Steam's boundaries to show how fickle the store is regarding policy. Was it the sexual violence, or merely the specific and cavalier way the sexual violence was presented? 'I'm now leaving it up to Steam's review process'. The game was repeatedly criticized for promoting violence against women and normalizing rape, and a Change.org petition calling for the game to be blocked from Steam gained more than 7,000 signatures.
According to the website, which is mostly just an FAQ about whether or not the game will get banned, Rape Day is apparently a "dark comedy" inspired by "horror and psychological thrillers", and porn. But game developer Mike Rose revealed on Twitter that the Popular Upcoming list uses a back-end release date that can differ from the date shown on a title's Steam page.
Clearly, this is an exploit that benefits games that are already well recognized by the public instead of the fledgling indies that could actually benefit from it.
The decision to remove Rape Day comes after a furious reaction against it online. Valve claimed that this policy was put in place due to developer-based factors, as developers try new gameplay and explore what constitutes a game, as well as user-oriented factors, using preferences to give users full control over what they want to see without affecting other users' experiences.