Valve removes rape fantasy game from Steam

"We think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam"

Valve has pulled the store page for Rape Day off of Steam and assured people that the game won't be allowed onto the service in the future.

In a post on the Steam blog, Valve's Erik Johnson said the decision warranted some explanation given the content policy the platform had adopted last year, which said "the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling." The new post adds a third case in which exceptions can be made.

"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," Johnson said. "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."

Rape Day was billed as "a game where you can rape and murder during a zombie apocalypse" when it had a page on Steam. Judging by developer updates, it had been up on the site for a couple weeks at least. first asked Valve about the title two days ago, and never received a response.

"Control the choices of a menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse," the game's store page said. "Verbally harass, kill, and rape women as you choose to progress the story. It's a dangerous world with no laws. The zombies enjoy eating the flesh off warm humans and brutally raping them but you are the most dangerous rapist in town."

The visual novel's developer Desk Plant had expected to launch it next month.

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Latest comments (7)

I remember too well when the we all fought against censorship and to have games recognized as art. I think this is a sad day when we self sensor. Somewhere Jack Thompson is laughing...

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
Evelyn Beatrice Hall, (Friends of Voltaire)
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
What Hall did NOT say was "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to monetise it in partnership with my business".
Deplatforming is 100% compatible with free speech. The devs are free to make their game, and Valve are free to reject it. What Jack Thompson is laughing at is that the industry is apparently trying to prove him right...the game is explicitly targeted at sociopaths.
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colin merrick Engineer/Artist 3 years ago
Surely sociopaths have a right to free speech itís when it spills over into the real world that there is a problem.
The number of gun nuts who get off blowing the hell out of each other happens online all the time and we donít seem to censor that or even bat an eyelid when I children play it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by colin merrick on 8th March 2019 12:36pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
I must say I am somewhat disappointed by all this hoo-ha surrounding this game. While I think it is a very pertinent discussion as to whether or not this is an appropriate game for Steam, the sheer out-pouring of hate towards its very concept leaves me feeling slightly bewildered.

I have always argued against the common attitude of the industry to treat all consumers as frustrated 14 year old boys - not just because some of us actually aspire to higher consciousness than drooling over partially clad female images, but also because that would allow the industry to actually develop into a truly adult area, where consenting adults could do what ever the wonders of technology allows.

However, it would appear that this is not something that would be afforded to sadists. We, as I am most certainly one, are obviously mentally ill and are a great embarrassment to everyone else and are only tolerated as we are not illegal if you take the letter of the law. We are just moral aberrations.

Surely treating a game that allows players to indulge sadistic fantasies, which is behind age walls, properly distributed as adult only, and makes no pretense to be anything other than a mastubatory fantasy for sadists, as something that is morally wrong and against women, is exactly the same as calling a women who likes being tied to her headboard a traitor to her gender? Sorry for that awful grammar and overly long sentence.

I'm a sadist and a feminist, and 'i think that there is always going to be a question about the appropriateness of how any such material is distributed, and truly don't understand why a media where you can live out such fantasies, without hurting anyone, should be treated so.

When did being a sadist mean that you are a bad person? I don't know anything about the game except what I have read here but I am pretty sure it would resemble an episode of In the Night Garden compared to what goes on in my private thoughts.

It is almost as if every sexual orientation is fine except for sadism.
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Micaela Mantegna Abogamer. Interactive Media lawyer and scholar 3 years ago
@Tom Buscaglia: I respectfully dissent. As any other constitutional right, free speech is not unbounded, and it finds its limit when encounters hate speech. Definitions and limits can be nebulous and a question of grade for a judge to determine, but they are still there. In this case, even we donīt have access to the whole game, the trailer and description does enough to show the special quality of violence against a group, and that falls under the scope of "hate speech".
I am a free speech advocate, and in that role, we recognize has to be pondered and balanced when it collides with other human rights. Quoting Uncle Ben, "with great power comes great responsibility", and free speech is no exemption under the American Convention on Human Rights standards.

@KennyLynch: Again, respectfully dissenting, the very definition of "rape" involves that is "not consensual". What you are referring as sadistic role-playing, would be true if the women portrayed in the game would be consenting the role they have to play on that fantasy. By your definition truly adult area, where consenting adults could do what ever the wonders of technology allows" could imply that you consent to play those games as an adult, but inside that realm, that any depiction can go. Certainly is not true for child pornography, and should not be to rape and hatred in the circumstances suggested in this game. By your argument, the infanticide scene should have also stayed in the game?
The discussion around authors, being monsters or not by the content of their works, is as old as the Victorian scandals around Baudelaire or Sade.
But there are limits that can not be trespassed, they fall sometimes in a grey area or spectrum, and test the boundaries of free speech.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
@Micaela Indeed I think to be a consenting adult, you have to actually be an adult - something which I don't think you can argue a fictional character is. To suggest that there would be a meaningful or legal difference if a computer game (or any other fictional media) contained a disclaimer from the characters involved stating that they agree, seems to be blurring the division between what is real and fiction to a great extent. Any computer game is by definition a roleplay, where the only adults, be they consenting or otherwise, are the players and the creators.

And yes, I think that within a fictional context, anything can go. Or indeed should perhaps say creative? Otherwise would memoirs of people that have suffered abuse not also be censored? I do not really understand why you would bring up child pornography as it would be my understanding that that would have to actually involve a child, not a collection of polygons. That said, I am parent and I completely get a zero tolerance approach to the subject but again I would argue this comes down to a question of appropriateness and not criminality or of ethical right and wrong.

I don't think this has anything to do with the freedom of speech which refers to the right to express opinions. I don't see that this game particularly expresses any opinion. What for me is interesting and difficult to understand is why the distinction between fantasy and reality, sexually orientated sadism and hate-speech, appropriateness and ethically right or wrong, non-consensual and inanimate and probably other areas are so blurred and vaguely dealt with.
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Jak Marshall Data Analyst, Electric Square3 years ago
I'm just going to paraphrase Jim Sterling and say that storefronts do not need to, and frequently so not, need to support an anything goes policy on their platforms

The free speech frame doesn't apply here, and any sense that it might merely speaks to Valve's conscious choice to embrace a laissez-faire policy with its content and communities
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