(Content warning: sexual assault.)
Valve has announced it will block the release of a controversial game that was to be distributed through its service. In its statement regarding the decision, it said the game poses “unknown costs and risks” and that the “chosen content matter and a way of representing it” render the distribution platform unable to work with the developer.
The game, titled “Rape Day,” is a visual novel set during a zombie apocalypse in which the player character can harass other survivors, kill people, and sexually assault women. It has been listed on the Steam marketplace with an impending release date, but Valve has now removed the listing. The company issued a statement through its Valve blog explaining the decision. You can read it in full below.
“Over the past week you may have heard about a game called ‘Rape Day’ coming soon to Steam. Today we’ve decided not to distribute this game on Steam. Given our previous communication around Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?, we think this decision warrants further explanation.
“Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary—we simply have to wait and see what comes to us via Steam Direct. We then have to make a judgement call about any risk it puts to Valve, our developer partners, or our customers. After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think ‘Rape Day’ poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won’t be on Steam.
“We respect developers’ desire to express themselves, and the purpose 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 difficult for us to help them do that.”
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. This led to an open question about whether a game like Rape Day would be allowed to be sold. This statement blocks this particular game but does not offer clarity on what similar types of content would not be allowed in the future.
The game had been set for release in April. The developer had informed customers that the approval process was taking longer than usual due to graphic content that was illegal in some countries, but said that it had marked the game as adult and issued thorough content warnings. The studio said that if Valve did prevent release of the game, it would seek out an alternate distribution platform.