On Feb. 23, four days after its release, popular PC game Devotion is unavailable for download in China after it sparked charged debate online. The game initially captivated Chinese netizens, until Weibo users pointed out hidden political messages.

Update: The developer behind Devotion has removed the game from the Steam store across all regions today, citing technical issues that cause unexpected game crashes. It also said that it wants to use the opportunity to ease the pressure in its community and further review the game for other unintended references. The statement comes on the heels of an apology dated Monday, which called the hidden references an “awfully unprofessional mistake” and asked players for time to address it.

The Taiwanese “first-person horror game depicting the life of a family shadowed by religious belief” was released on Feb. 19 on PC game distribution platform Steam. In the days following Devotion’s launch, the relevant hashtag #还愿 (huanyuan, #Devotion in English) quickly received over 120 million views on Weibo. The hashtag and original posts have disappeared from the popular Chinese social media platform.

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Tony Xu

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail: tony.xu@technode.com

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza is TechNode's community listening reporter at the Shanghai office. She acts as a link between the editorial team and TechNode Squared members. She previously worked as a reporter for WikiTribune...