Gaming company Valve has finally said it will not carry the controversial visual novel Rape Day on its Steam store.
The zombie apocalypse game, which was not yet for sale but slated to arrive in April, is touted as a story of ‘violence, sexual assault, necrophilia and incest’ and would allow players to ‘verbally harass, kill people, and rape women.’
While players weren’t able to buy it yet, they could add it to their wishlist as of February 19.
After news of its disturbing content sparked a massive public outcry over the last few weeks, with gamers and non-gamers alike demanding for it to be taken down, Valve now says Rape Day will not be available on Steam.
The decision comes despite Valve’s notoriously lax policy, which is to essentially ‘allow everything’ so long as it’s not ‘illegal, or straight up trolling.’
But, it seems Valve has now discovered its limit.
In a statement posted on Steam, the company confirmed Rape Day would not be coming to the online store.
‘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,’ Valve said.
‘We then have to make a judgment 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.’
Though Valve says it has respect for ‘developers’ desire to express themselves’ and typically hopes to help them find an audience, the creator of this particular game ‘has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them do that.’
Indie game developer Desk Plant initially said its game Rape Day is aimed at the ‘four percent of the general population [who] are sociopaths’ and would enjoy playing a ‘menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse’.
In the midst of the growing controversy, however, the developer later revealed that the game was under review in a process that was ‘taking longer than expected.’
The developer also noted that the game didn’t technically break any of Valve’s rules, and had been ‘properly marked’ as an adult game with all ‘potentially offensive content’ flagged.
Desk Plant cited sexual content and material that ‘may be illegal in some countries’ as the reason for the delays, and requested to have it only banned from these specific regions. But, the developer later withdrew this request.
‘As far as which locations the game will be available, I’ve removed my request to have it banned in a list of specific countries,’ the developer said at the beginning of March. ‘I’m now leaving it up to Steam’s review process.’
Ahead of Valve’s March 6 statement, the developer said it would seek alternate distribution methods if Valve decided to pull the game.
It’s unclear just how it plans to market its game now following the ban.
In a prior FAQ post, however, the developer warned: ‘If people want my game to not exist… their best offense, in my opinion, would be to not talk about me, and not give me free press.
‘If both my game is banned and I am banned, then I will ensure that a content platform for all kinds of legal, quality porn games exist.’