Rape Day, a controversial game which allows players to kill and rape women, has had its release cancelled on gaming platform Steam after thousands of people signed online petitions calling for it to be banned.
In a statement, Valve, the company which owns Steam, said it had removed the game because it “poses unknown costs and risks”.
The visual novel game – where you make choices on how a story develops – was due to be released later this year. It had been listed on the Steam website promising to let players “control the choices of a menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse”.
Desk Plant, the creator of the game, has said it will look for another platform to take it
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The decision to remove Rape Day comes after a furious reaction against it online.
“I’m a woman, I’m a gamer and I’m a Steam customer. In the era of #MeToo it is unconscionable you would publish and offer to sell a game like Rape Day,” read one outraged tweet from Tuesday.
Petitions were organised in several countries calling on Steam to remove the game. Sally Rugg, an executive director for Change.org in Australia threw her weight behind a petition which gained 3,000 signatures, while another petition had almost 8,000 signatures. .
Despite the number of people signing petitions against the game, Valve avoided condemning it outright.
“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.”
Valve has since come under fire for no being more critical of Rape Day in its press release.
Rowan Kaiser, a games writer, suggested Valve was reluctant to cancel the game.
Games developer Rami Ismail agreed with Mr Kaiser.
“I’m sad that our industry’s largest storefront can’t have the right outcome for the right reasons here,” he added.
It is not the first time Steam has removed a game. In May 2018 it ditched Active Shooter, which allowed players to be a high-school gunman and “slaughter as many civilians as possible”.
In June 2018, Valve published a blog saying: “We’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything on to the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”