Ladykiller in a Bind to launch "fully unedited and uncensored" on Steam
Love Conquers All Games' erotic visual novel sets a precedent on the PC's most popular retail platform
The visual novel Ladykiller in a Bind will launch on Steam without any cuts to its erotic content, and Love Conquers All Games' Christine Love is "hopeful" that other developers will now be emboldened to follow suit.
Ladykiller in a Bind originally launched on the Humble Store in October last year. At that time, Love seemed unsure when it would be sold on Steam - or even if it would reach Valve's ubiquitous platform at all. "It won't be available on Steam, unfortunately, at least not in the near future," she said at the time, in response to a question on Twitter. "Maybe they'll change their minds? Who knows."
However, yesterday Love announced via Twitter that Ladykiller in a Bind will launch on Steam on January 9, "fully unedited and uncensored." What's more, Steam was apparently more open to the game's erotic and sexual content than her October tweet implied.
Speaking to Polygon, Love offered further clarification, stating that, "there was never an outright refusal from [Steam] originally." However, there was some "uncertainty" about the need for cuts - which Love was steadfastly against - due to an absence of "explicit policy" around sexual content on Steam.
"I think the biggest problem is really just with the industry as a whole being very cagey about adult content in general." she later said to Gamasutra. "It's hard to cite precedents for video games that are both mature and also explicit about sexuality, so a lot of developers naturally feel very wary and worried that it won't get accepted.
"Hopefully that'll start to change more, especially since Valve certainly has been supportive."
There is one notable precedent: No Reply Games' Seduce Me, which was removed from Steam Greenlight in September 2012. Seduce Me, which featured explicit sexual content, proved divisive among the Greenlight community, but Valve expedited the approval process by pulling the game, citing a violation of its terms of service in an email to No Reply's Miriam Bellard.
"It struck us as them [Valve] not wanting to deal with it, not wanting to engage," Bellard said to GamesIndustry.biz at the time. "We were actually really shocked when it went down, because we thought that it would at least be allowed on Greenlight to be discussed.
"That there's no content like this is exacerbated by the fact that there's nowhere for it to be sold.," Bellard continued. "Once content starts to appear places will be found for it to live, which will encourage other people to make that kind of content."
In that regard, Ladykiller in a Bind's arrival on Steam - "fully unedited and uncensored" - is an encouraging sign for developers with an interest in creating similar kinds of content.
Indeed, the Steam storefront has become so much more crowded in the four years since Seduce Me that content restrictions make little sense. Nearly 40% of all games on the service were released in 2016 alone, so any given game is virtually invisible unless someone really wants to find it - and there will be many who really want to find Ladykiller in a Bind.