A game where the players can "verbally harass, kill people, and rape women" is possibly on its way to Steam.
As spotted by Polygon, erm, Rape Day has been submitted to Valve to appear on the Steam store, according to developer Desk Plant on its website. The title is a visual novel set during a zombie apocalypse which apparently lets users do... well, all the things listed in the first line of this article.
The developer has defended the inclusion of rape in the game, comparing it to other violence and murder in the medium in an FAQ on their website.
"If we ever come to the scientific conclusion that committing crimes in video games, significantly increases the chances of committing crimes in real life, then at that point we as a society will have to decide if we want to ban committing some or all crimes in fiction," they wrote.
"But you can’t reasonable consider banning rape in fiction without banning murder and torture. Murder has been normalised in fiction, while rape has yet to be normalised.
"At some point in the future, game historians will look back on visual novels such as “rape day” as game historians look back on games such as “grand theft auto” now or even the first time nudity was shown on television. Moral outrage does not stop the entertainment industry, it slows it down but in time society progresses and realises that the purely fictional things they thought would cause moral decay and widespread lawlessness in fact do not."
The FAQ goes on to discuss the game as being both a power fantasy and a dark comedy, in addition to addressing the fact that Rape Day could get banned. The developer also says that they will ensure a platform exists for "quality porn games" if both the company and this controversial release are banned from Steam... seemingly having never heard of Nutaku or the other adult game platforms, and also thinking that rape is at all equivalent to porn.
"I did not set out to upset anyone," Desk Plant wrote.
"I set out to make an entertaining visual novel I would enjoy, and some others would enjoy as well. Moral outrage of a vocal minority may be enough to cause Steam to ban my game and/or myself.
"If my game is banned but I am not banned, I may choose to create non-violent porn games, or violent games without a pornographic element to them. I will continue to comply with all of steams new rules or policies, unless I feel those policies become too restrictive on my creative freedom, in which case I will default to solution two.
"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. I will ensure that it provides the stable foundation for the porn gaming industry to grow and flourish to be the billion dollar industry that basic biology would have it be. Again, if steam chooses to continue to allow this kind of content as the fledgling porn gaming industry starts to emerge, then they will reap the greatest rewards and I will be more than happy for them; myself continuing to build quality niche porn games."
Oh, and there was a scene where a baby is killed.
"This scene has been removed," Desk Plant wrote.
"I am sorry to anyone whom this scene’s existence caused distress. I am learning to find my artistic balance between producing the games I love, and not causing avalanches of outrage."
The potential release of this game comes almost a year after Valve decided to open up the Steam platform to any and all developers, except for projects that are "illegal" or "straight-up trolling". In typical Valve fashion, just what these mean in practice is not clear.
The news of this open-platform policy was met with some criticism and has no doubt contributed to the feeling from developers that Valve isn't doing enough to earn its 30 per cent cut as more games flood the Steam platform. Several adult-themed visual novel titles were still blocked from release even with this open policy came into effect, eventually releasing in September 2018 after Valve introduced new measures to give users more control over what they see.
Valve has been keeping on top of games that violate its new policy, axing 180 of them last September alone.
We've reached out to Valve for comment.