Valve has pulled Rape Day from Steam following a review of the game’s content and premise. Rape Day is a game about sexually assaulting women during a zombie apocalypse. Valve cited “unknown costs and risks” as to why it decided to pull the game from Steam.
In a statement published today, Valve’s Erik Johnson explained the reason to remove Rape Day from Steam. Johnson brought up the company’s stance outlined in “Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?” as to why a further explanation was necessary. Valve said it would allow any game on Steam except for “things that we decide are illegal or straight up trolling.” Instead of saying that Rape Day is either of those things, Valve said that the game “poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won’t be on Steam.”
The statement went on to say that the game’s chosen content matter made it difficult for Valve to keep it on the store. Rape Day was never available on Steam, but the game was expected to go on sale in April. The game’s developer said it was put under review by Valve earlier this week. Earlier today, before Valve released their statement, the developer said they plan to seek alternate distribution channels for their game.
Rape Prevention Education, a New Zealand advocacy group, called the game “outrageous.” Debbie Tohill, the group’s executive director, said, “Making a game out of rape is never okay — it’s outrageous, and it totally negates the impact that sexual violence has on its victims.”
The game’s developer, who goes by Desk Plant online, defended the game on its official website. They suggested some nonsense about “game historians” pointing to their game as similar to the first time nudity was shown on TV. Desk Plant also cited papers that say there is no link between violence in games and real-world violence.
Rape Day follows in the footsteps of other games banned from Steam following Valve’s lax moderation. Active Shooter, a game about perpetrating school shootings, was pulled last year while Valve continues to flip-flop about explicit sexual content in games on Steam.