Update (December 17, 2014): Just over a day after it was removed from Steam Greenlight, Hate reappeared in Steam’s fan-voting section late Tuesday night. Valve has yet to publicly comment on the reversal, but Destructive Creations’ Facebook page includes a screenshot of an email purportedly from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, ostensibly apologizing for the mistaken deletion:
Yesterday I heard we were taking Hate from Greenlight. Not being informed, I asked around internally why we had done that. It turns out it wasn’t a good decision, and we’ll putt Hate backup. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.
Good luck with your game.
“We are extreme [sic] glad to be back on Steam Greenlight,” Destructive said in a statement sent to members of the press following the recovery. “It’s hard to find the right words to describe what we are all feeling right now. It’s just amazing to get such good news from Gabe Newell herself! THANK YOU GABE!”
Since his return to service, Hate has become the number 1 voter on Greenlight, with more than 27,000 “yes” votes from over 43,000 visitors, according to Destructive’s internal stats.
Controversial mass shooting game Hate has been removed from Steam Greenlight after its listing on the service’s crowd-voting section garnered a lot of attention this morning. “Based on what we saw on Greenlight, we wouldn’t publish Hate on steam. As such, we will remove it,” Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer in the wake of the game’s removal this afternoon.
Hate, from unknown Polish developer Destructive Creations, was first announced in October. The trailer seemed to revel in the carnage of civilians with a sort of gruesome glee. The video drew comparisons to ultra-violent game franchises such as Post And Manhunt due to its seemingly amoral focus on shooting innocent bystanders with violent detail. “This is the time for revenge, and no life is worth saving, and I will lay as many in the grave as I can,” says the protagonist in the trailer. “It’s time for me to kill, and it’s time for me to die. My genocide crusade starts here.”
The developers of Destructive responded almost immediately after the Greenlight removal with a statement to the press. “Although like games Manhunt or Post are still available on Steam, but of course we fully respect Valve’s decision as they have the right to do so,” said the developers. “At the same time, we want to assure you that this will not affect development in any way of the game, the vision of the game, or the gameplay features we strive for.”
Destructive also claims that the game received 13,148 more votes on Greenlight and reached number 7 on the service’s lists before being taken down. “This is the best proof for us that there are die-hards Hate fans waiting for the release of this game and we must continue to provide them with a game that offers exciting and challenging gameplay. The whole situation just pushes us forward to face every adversity and not give up,” said Destructive.
It’s difficult to establish strict guidelines from Valve as to which games are or are not acceptable for listing on the service. The Steam Greenlight FAQ vaguely states that posted games “must not contain offensive material or violate copyrights or intellectual property rights,” and it asks users to report “fake/fraudulent/malicious” listings. Shortly after Valve launched Steam Greenlight in 2012, it removed erotic “strategy” games Seduce me from his listings, citing terms of service violation.
There are currently no games with an “Adults Only” rating from the ESRB on Steam, although there are many indie titles that have not received a rating from the industry-created body while containing various levels of sex and violence. The M rating Manhunt is available on Steam, but the AO-rated Manhunt 2 has never been available on the service.
While Destructive will obviously have many other options for distributing its game to PC players outside of Steam, Valve’s service is responsible for at least 70 percent of all PC game sales, according to estimates. When indie title Paranautic activity was pulled from Steam after developer Mike Maulbeck tweeted a tweeted threat against Valve co-founder Gabe Newell. Maulbeck lamented the game’s prospects with no mention of Valve. “It’s just not possible to make a living in this industry without Steam so I’m just out,” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, Target Australia and Kmart Australia decided to voluntarily stop selling Grand Theft Auto V in response to an online petition against the game’s violent treatment of sex workers. And last week, Apple enforced nudity-covering changes to the iPad version of indie hit Papers, please before reversing his decision, attributing the incident to a “misunderstanding.”