The forthcoming game Rape Day, which has listed on Steam for a few weeks, will be removed from the store. The game was set during a zombie apocalypse but rather than just turning everyone in to flesh eating freaks it made them all rapists as well. Your character is already a violent rapist and takes the opportunity where everyone is being raped to do a lot more raping.
“Control the choices of a menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse,” the game’s store page said. “Verbally harass, kill, and rape women as you choose to progress the story. It’s a dangerous world with no laws. The zombies enjoy eating the flesh off warm humans and brutally raping them but you are the most dangerous rapist in town.”
Many people, including journalists, have been asking why Valve would host such a title. Valve’s Erik Johnson has now posted a blog explaining why the game will not be available.
Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary—we simply have to wait and see what comes to us via Steam Direct. We then have to make a judgement call about any risk it puts to Valve, our developer partners, or our customers. 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.
It all boils down to freedom of expression, Valve has always said they won’t censor content and allow games with graphic sexual content, and if we’re going to be grown up about this sort of thing they are right, we should respect the rights to create content and art no matter how offensive we may personally find the subject.
The problem Valve has is they’re trying to justifying have that sort of thing next to Battlefield V and Puzzles for Kids. That just doesn’t work, it’s like putting Cbeebies, Channel 4, and Pornhub all on the same TV channel. If Valve created a separate store front for X rated adult content, put all that content out of the way of the general consumer and explicitly state that by going to that store you get the nasty stuff they could keep everyone happy. Those wanting the nasty stuff can shop there, everyone else can browse Steam without stumbling on something about orgasmic tentacle sex, nothing gets censored and freedom of expression is retained.