Update: “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh” In Devotion – The Taiwanese Perspective, The Chinese Perspective & The Neutral Ground

Just four days past its release, Taiwan-based Red Candle Studios’ Devotion is already in a circle of controversy. The game is being review bombed by players from China due to an in-game poster that said, “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh Moron”. Updated 23 Feb, 3:52 pm IST – As reported by Mac, one of the commenters in our article, the game has also cursed everyone in mainland China and have told them to “die”.

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
A clearer picture of the Fulu talisman (from Taiwanese YouTuber Kouki’s video)

The Finding

The poster is a Fulu talisman. Daoist practitioners in the past drew and wrote these supernatural talismans as instructions to deities, spirits, or as tools of exorcism. Wikipedia

Updated 23 Feb, 3:52 pm IST – However, the Fulu talisman that appears in Devotion is not a generic [task] duly done by general Taoist monk[s]. It’s a curse spell that is considered very evil in traditional Chinese culture. It’s the Chinese equivalent of having a stabbed voodoo doll.

Red Seal - Devotion

The red seal in the centre of the poster reads “Xi Jinping” on the right, and “Winnie the Pooh” on the left. The four corners of the Fulu talisman reads “Your (mom moron)” in Taiwanese dialect. ResetEra

 

Any discussions related to Devotion are currently banned in Chinese gaming forums, which includes NGA.Cn, China’s leading video games forum. Recent reviews of the game have taken a drastic negative turn, the majority of them being from Chinese players.

ALSO READ Our Interview with Red Candle Games’ PR Director Tiff Liu.

Another Finding

Updated on 23rd February, 3:37 pm IST

As reported by What’s on Weibo, there’s another alleged reference to Xi Jinping. In a newspaper segment found in another part of the game, one of the headlines say “Baozi(a Chinese dumpling, which is also used as a term to mock President Xi Jinping) has been sentenced to prison” and that he has been given “capital punishment.”

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
The characters are unclear and the information provided is solely based on What’s on Weibo’s article on the same.

First Circle: Baozi was sentenced a death penalty of more than three years.
Second Circle: Baozi (dumpling) gets arrested for attacking primary school student. Szuyu. However, as reported by Facebook user 巫掌盆, 包子(Baozi) is the nickname of Red Candle’s co-founder 王瀚宇 Wang Wei. Zh.Wikipedia

Additionally, a tweet on our Twitter profile says that Xi Jinping is also depicted as a child attacker in the game, for which, we don’t have any evidence as of now.

Third Possible Reason

Updated on 26th February, 8:49 am IST

WE HAVE A MORE REASONABLE EXPLANATION OF THE FOLLOWING COINCIDENCE. WE’LL EXPLAIN THE ENTIRE SITUATION IN OUR UPCOMING REPORT. BEAR WITH US.

As submitted by Mac –

The antagonist cult leader [in Devotion] is called Lu Gongmin. Lu 陆 means mainland. Gongmin is homonyms with the words for “ citizen” or “populace”. Under his leadership, the cult sacrifice is committed on October 1. One of the main characters also with the last name synonymous with “mainland” was killed on his 49th birthday. Chinese Independence Day is on 1949, October 1.

In addition, there was another piece of writing in the scene with the paper that translates to something like you dumb shit. Finally, in the mainland, multiple social media influencers were paid especially to promote the game as a “made in China” game with traditional Chinese cultural elements to sell it.

UNVERIFIED Basically, people felt like they were tricked into paying for something that was literally cursing them in both senses of the word. Also, note that no one in mainland even picked up on any of the aforementioned until someone posted on a Taiwanese forum gloating about how mainlanders got tricked into paying for it without noticing the “Easter eggs “.

Overall Rating

Updated on 26th February, 8:47 am IST

Overwhelmingly Positive turned Mostly Negative. (12,782 reviews and counting)

Game removed from Steam.

Why Is It A Matter Of Importance?

It’s a matter of utmost importance for Chinese players and the entire Chinese gaming community in general. Upon skimming through dozens of the recent reviews, we found one thing that was in common. If the concerned authority of the People’s Republic of China finds out about the discussed controversy, not just will they ban the game, but there’s a possibility they’ll ban Steam entirely.

In a country where games are constantly banned, modified and restricted to users due to several cultural and ideological conflicts, a reference like Devotion’s could turn disastrous.

Publishers Delisted

Updated on 23rd February, 1:13 pm IST

Following the controversy, the names of the two publishers – Indievent and Winking Skywalker have been removed and replaced with Red Candle Games. For the context, both the aforementioned publishers are based in China. The game has also been removed from the Chinese version of Steam.

Proof:

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
Cached Game Page
Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
Current Game Page

Detention is being review bombed as well

Updated on 23rd February, 1:42 pm IST

Red Candle Games’ award-winning 2D atmospheric horror, Detention, is being review bombed as well. The game boasts an Overwhelmingly Positive overall rating but the recent reviews are Mostly Negative and the conversion is happening on a massive scale.

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
As captured on 23rd February, 1:41 pm IST
Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
As captured on 23rd February, 1:41 pm IST

Google Trends in China

Terms like Devotion, Winnie-the-Pooh, Taiwan Independence, Red Candle Games, Xi Jinping, Steam and Video Games are currently breaking in China.

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
As captured on 23rd February, 3:42 pm

A rough translation of one of the top reviews

The name used by the cult is the name of the Chinese national leader: Written on the character, it is your mother 87, and the red seal is written “Xi Xping, Wei X Xiong”.

If the game is noticed by the competent authority, then the entire Steam may be blocked by the competent authority. You, the group of game producers, do the game and do the game well. You have to do something like this, after all, the pattern.

Some people still regard this as a “domestic” game conscience. People don’t take you as a family. Take you as a 426 [Editor’s note: 426 is a Taiwanese term for disrespecting people from the People’s Republic of China. The pronunciation of 426 sounds similar to “damned mainlanders” in Taiwan’s Hokkien dialect. What’s on Weibo]

You still have a hot face to stick to people’s cold butt. If your surname is Qin, if someone talks to you about how Qin Qin is. Is that simply saying, Qin? That is the way you change the law!

Even though you may not agree with the policy, you may think that other people who believe in it around you are “brain-washed dogs”, but is there a difference in the eyes of others? People can ignore your thoughts. In the eyes of others, you are a dog, just like the people around you. Why do you have a face to talk to others, is it awkward? I am sorry for you.

Game Removed From Steam

Updated on 26th February, 8:47 am IST

Devotion has been completely pulled out of Steam following the controversy. Here’s the official statement from Red Candle Games –

1. Red Candle Games herein confirm the following information spreading on the Internet is incorrect.
(1) The highly-estimated sales number of Devotion
(2) Extensive implication about the game content
(3) Photoshopped statement screenshot made by the forged official account

For the official information, Red Candle Games’ Facebook account and the Steam page are the only reliable sources. We kindly remind you not to be misled by other incorrect information.

(At the moment, Red Candle Games’ official Weibo account has been shut down. But we will keep contacting Weibo officials in hope to provide an official channel with correct information to all the player.)

2. The theme of Devotion is about how cult does harm to people, leading to the tragedy caused by pure parental love. For the earlier sensitive art material incident, the whole team of Red Candle Games bears the responsibility of this awfully unprofessional mistake. It is not Red Candle’s vision to secretly project extensive ideology, nor is it to attack any person in the real world. Even if the sensitive art element was wrongfully placed before, we kindly ask you not to over interpret other game material.

3. As a game company, Red Candle Games’ only goal is to provide an impressive and good playing experience to all. However, we failed our players’ anticipation and offended many others due to the said mistake. For that, we feel awfully sorry and devastated. Again, we would like to reaffirm that the severe art material mistake is made by Red Candle Games. It has nothing to do with any of our partners. Red Candle Games take full responsibility and bear all the condemns. We sincerely hope that this end with Red Candle, and that please do not take it out on all the innocent partners.

4. It is our genuine hope that everyone can remain calm and shift the focus back to the game’s core message, which can be obtained through playing experience of Devotion. After all, it is a mistake to insert the unrelatable material to the game content. Not only does it destroy how people experience the game, but also affect many more people. It is our regret to say that this is not Red Candle Games’ original aim for game development.

5. At the moment we are in the process of business mediation. We kindly ask for everyone to remain calm and give Red Candle some time to address the incident. This will be the greatest support for us. Thank you.

Vincent Yang, Coffee Yao, Henry Wang, Light Wang, Doy Chiang and Hans Chen
Co-founders, Red Candle Games


Review #2

On the morning of February 23, 2019, I saw on the Internet the news that Devotion was a game with private goods. The evidence was sufficient and well-founded.

For a moment, all the feelings of yesterday’s harvest turned into deep disgust. I have to say that the Red Candle Company has been very successful at this point, and you have succeeded in disgusting me.

But what can you do? You support Taiwan independence and insult your own national leaders, and still cannot change the trend of history. You use the game to satirize white horror and satirize the cult, but you are playing a ridiculously jumping clown, doing a daydream of arrogance and unreality, and complacent about it, as if taunting your compatriots is incomparable. Glorious, extremely successful things.

Taiwan, China’s territory since ancient times.

I suggest that you go to see Japan and South Korea next door. If you go to see what is going on in the United States, will their people really be happy, or is it just your wishful thinking? You are just like Du Feng. I feel that I am doing the right thing, being a devotee, but I personally push my people into the heat!

This game! The irony of doing it is a cult! Or are you yourself? !

The game is really good, very touching. So I don’t want to have many years later, your company is being made into materials in the game… to become the object of irony or ridicule.

Red candle ah… With the heart still alive, open the door and save her?


Twitter Outrage

Red Candle Games’ Apology

Rough Translation via Google Translate.

ABOUT ART MATERIAL STATEMENT

Our team often [uses] popular internet memes for placeholders in the prototype stage. It was a temporary material, but it was not completely deleted due to the version synchronization problem. It was an accident and there was no attack or abusive intention. Removed from v1.0.5 on 2/21 night.

This turmoil reflects the fact that the team is not rigorous in the production process. As a game company, Red Candle does have a lot of room for improvement, and we are extremely sorry for the troubles of all parties. Please forgive us.

All responsibilities are on us.


Indievent’s Apology

Rough Translation via Google Translate.

Devotion XI JINPING WINNIE THE POOH MORON
Publisher Indievent apologies and states it would end its co-operation with the game. What’s on Weibo

TERMINATION OF COOPERATION

Hello everyone. We are Indievent, and this time is responsible for the mainland issue of “Responsible”. After learning about the incident at 11 am on February 23, 2019, we immediately checked and issued an apology statement. At this point, our company has carried out mandatory internal rectification and severely punished the relevant principal responsible personnel to ensure that such situations will not occur again in the future.

According to the last commit, we have tried our best to check whether there are still similar politically sensitive issues in the game, and the player reports that the latest version of the game still has metaphorical political elements. After careful consideration, we announced the official termination of the partnership with the Red Candle Games!


Spiel Times reached out to Red Candle Games multiple times today. However, the Red Candle team didn’t pick up the call.

The art material has now been removed. But as the controversy has already reached the depths of the internet, Devotion would still be a heated topic of discussion for weeks to follow. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Make sure you subscribe to our push-notifications and never miss an update on Devotion and the discussed controversy. We’ll update the article when there’s a response from the developers. Until next time, Careful Gaming!

120 COMMENTS

  1. “`the game has also cursed everyone in mainland China and have told them to “die”.“`

    I see no evidence of that. Could you elaborate?

  2. Some clarifications.

    No one is offended by Winnie the Pooh. People are offended that the game cursed everyone in mainland to die on top of cursing Xi after selling the game as being made by compatriots.

    First, they put Xi’s name and Winnie the Pooh on a dark magic spell paper. It’s the Chinese equivalent of having a stabbed voodoo doll. It is not a generic duly done by normal Taoist monk. It’s a curse spell that is considered very evil in traditional Chinese culture.

    Second, the antagonist cult leader is called Lu Gongmin. Lu 陆 means mainland. Gongmin is homonyms with the words for “ citizen” or “populace”. Under his leadership, the cult sacrifice is committed on October 1. One of the main characters also with the last name synonymous with mainland was killed on his 49th birthday. Chinese Independence Day is on 1949, October 1.

    In addition there was another piece of writing in the scene with the paper that translates to something like you dumb shit.

    Finally, in mainland, multiple social media influencers were paid especially to promote the game as a “made in China” game with traditional Chinese culture elements to sell it.

    Basically people felt like they were tricked into paying for something that was literally cursing them in both sense of the word.

    Also note that no one in mainland even picked up on any of the above until someone posted on a Taiwanese forum gloating about how mainlanders got tricked into paying for it without noticing the “Easter eggs “.

      • Please retract the comment from the main article. It’s complete lies. You can ask anyone else, and they can confirm that all of this is nonsense.

      • This game didn’t curse everyone in mainland to die, the seal “xi Jin ping wine the pooh” is actually the maker or speaker of the magic, so it’s xi ji ping Winnie the Pooh say “you r mom idiot” to others

      • This is an over-interpretation, you can ask any other Mandarin-spoken people with common sense except the Chinese and they will never have this understanding at all. And you even put that explanation in your main article, how ridiculous.

      • BTY In the first picture you posted, the four characters u circled are homophones as “ur mother is a idiot”. So on the same spell paper u have “ur mother is a idiot” and “Xi Jinping Winnie the pooh moron” with red highlights, plz explain this to me how this is not a hate crime and politic insults.

          • The real question is why should this affect any other country’s ability to access the game? Why was the game pulled internationally? No one outside of China gave a fuck to the insults, and are all just confused in general. Free speech and satire are just every day life in the US, and none of the evidence proposed showed anything… ANYTHING substantiating the hatred this game is getting from China.

            Also who in the FUCK would believe they are being “cursed” by a video game? First of all, curses aren’t real. Secondly, if they were, why would ANYONE consider a 3D rendering of a piece of paper to have any sort of power to begin with?

            It’s control. It’s all control by the Chinese government to continually keep their citizens in check. It’s sad, and I feel sorry for those who live in countries that cannot express their opinions openly.

            Hell, people make millions in the US satirizing their government. No one cares.

        • “plz explain this to me how this is not a hate crime and politic insults.”

          It’s certainly a political insult, but if you consider this a hate crime then you are truly a 玻璃心 yes-man to your divine emperor Xi Jinping.

          • So when your mother is being called as an idiot, that does not count as a hate crime. Xi’s mother was cursed simply because Xi’s nationality and politic role.
            And verbal abuse and insults are two major incidents that involved in hate crime. I hope u just misunderstand the term
            I wasn’t offended by calling Xi as the Winnie. But cursing someone’s mother an idiot, that takes whole thing to the level of hate crime for sure.

      • Hi Pingal,

        Mac’s post is full of lies as has been pointed out by several other people. This makes your article rather biased in the eyes of non-mainland Chinese like myself.

        I see you are still using the statement “However, the Fulu talisman that appears in Devotion is not a generic [task] duly done by general Taoist monk[s]. It’s a curse spell that is considered very evil in traditional Chinese culture. It’s the Chinese equivalent of having a stabbed voodoo doll.”

        These sentences are complete lies. First of all, the talismans are called ‘Fu’. ‘Fulu’ is the class of taoist priests in legend which had the ability to empower the talismans. This is actually explained by the wikipedia article you linked.

        Second, while some Fu can be used to curse, most are usually protective and used to ward spirits and ghosts, or to ask for blessings. You can order some here for yourself if you wish: http://www.taoistsecret.com/taoist.html

        Of course, the stuff about cursing all Mainland Chinese people is complete fabrication, as has been pointed out by other non-Mainland Chinese speakers.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if commenters like Mac work for PRC internet propaganda divisions such as the 50 Cent Army or the Internet Water Army to slander a Taiwanese developer.

    • Kinda over-interpretation.
      When you need to hate something, you will try to find any clues to against your imaginary enemy, no matter how far-fetched it is.

      • And that is why Taiwanese players only found the Winnie meme, while Chinese players could find so much “obvious memes” that Taiwanese players not even noticed.

      • Agreed, the second point where they used the names and such are really pushing it. It’s really a slippery slope from the first reason onward that the whole game’s hidden message is Taiwan #1…
        I do feel that the apology for the talisman with the meme is enough.

      • You guys just ignore the fact that at the beginning mainland Chinese loved the game so much. Many of them had bought the game and given a very good comment on Steam. It is mainland Chinese players made the game get a 92% good rate on Steam. The key point is, it is this company did the insulting first and people just found it. Players did not try to find a thing to hate on purpose. It is the company who offended them first. Why you people don’t mention that who is the first one to hide the spell? Can you tell me why a game about cult has to make a curse spell to a leader who does nothing to the game or the story? Who is the one showed hating first? Players????

        • I’m here to give everyone the truth. First, among more than 100000 owners of the game, only less than 9000 are from china. But among 10k reviews, more than a half are from china. Plus, when Chinese players reviewed the game, most of them would said “This is a product made in our country, and we proud of it.” which implies some political things related to “country”. And the game did not insult any Chinese people, while you do not see “Winnie” as a negative word. In the US, most people may make jokes even on their president. That is not a big deal, since we all know that does not mean to the U.S as whole. Anyway, except for the game rates, I do not think there would be any lost for the game publisher, since most of chinese player have the game without purchasing.

          • The media is only telling the half of the story here. If u can read Chinese, on that same spell paper, except the red character “xi jinping Winnie the moron”, there are four other words which pronounce same as “your mother is a idiot”. U can check the first image that posted above, that four words were already circled with red for u. Anyone who implanted this is absolutely hating crime and politic bias against people on mainland.

            Ps:u should really check about ur data about that geography of players.

          • It’s not a fucking hate crime to make fun of people. China just has zero tolerance for free speech.

            Grow some fucking thicker skin Yodel.

    • come on…As a taiwanese, I’ve never though of Chinese citizen while we heard of Lu Gongmin. It’s just overly interpreted since Chinese feel irritated for some out-of-nothing reason.

    • It’s a fulu, and fulu can be used as warding purpose. Considering the game’s MC is worrying his daughter might be under “supernatural influence” and the fulu next to it is literally Warding Against Evil Spirit (抗邪神煞), I honestly don’t know why your interpretaion is “that is a curse”.

    • “spoiler alert”

      ‘Second, the antagonist cult leader is called Lu Gongmin. Lu 陆 means mainland. Gongmin is homonyms with the words for “ citizen” or “populace”. ‘
      1. This character is called Lu Gongming (standard mandarin), not Gongmin.

      ‘Under his leadership, the cult sacrifice is committed on October 1. ‘
      2. The date Octorber 1 is prepared for the date October 7, 1987 when the sacrifice is finished after 7 days, and the October 7 in that year is the Mid-Autumn festival. Acoording to the legend of Zigu Guanyin (prototype of Cigu Guanyin in the game), Mid-Autumn is the day Zigu died in the toilet. So the date is purely plot-related.

      ‘One of the main characters also with the last name synonymous with mainland was killed on his 49th birthday. Chinese Independence Day is on 1949, October 1.’
      3. There is no such a character who is killed on his 49th birthday in the game. The game does have a birthday cake with three “4” and three “9” birthday candles on it, but the cake is for the little girl in the game, who is the purist and most positive character as well.

      I’m also from mainland China. I hope everyone, including Mac, can see this and know that these are just over-reading.

        • Winnie the Pooh is the truth, so I didn’t explain it. But the same “meme” is being frequently used by mainland Chinese and everyone is totally fine with it. I don’t believe there’s anyone who could feel offended by it. You may say that Red Candle didn’t tell players about this single political content, but I don’t think they meant it, as everyone is taking it as a meme in daily life, and mainland Chinese is saying that “mainland and Taiwan are peaceful and belong to one country’. If they truly wanted to be friends with mainlad players, they would not consider Winne the Pooh as something serious.

          • The thing is they are mad. And they found it offensive. It’s like saying the N word to a black person and hoping they find it ok because they say that to their friends all day. It is not ok obviously.

          • I don’t think the whole studio is mad and feel happy to sacrifice their market and supports just to upset mainland people.
            And after knowing well how players dug out their ingame details so carefully from Detention, teasers and ARGs, RC couldn’t be such a dumb ass to think that they can hide this message from our eyes.
            And its not obvious that its not OK. Don’t forget that Red Candle showed no sign of “Mainland enemy” or “foreingers” to us. On the contrary, Mainland people have said that we’re willing to make friends with those Taiwanese who are not enemy to us..
            Also, there was no experience Red Candles can learn from and found it offensive from. They’re the first studio who put such thing into a product.
            It’s only after this incedent when people found it offensive, and that’s because its from Taiwanese.
            We regarded RC as foreingers but not friends at the first hand. But they were just trying to be nice.

      • Come on. Is Lu a main character in this game? He only appeared in the setting of ARG. And who’s the one lying that Lu is the main character? Do you have to relate someone died in the 49th birthday to politics?
        By the way, “4” and “9” are both unlucky numbers in Chinese tradition, anyone who’s interested can google them. Therefore the numbers are also totally game-related.

      • By this logic, then little girl must be an anti-American since you may also interpretate her name “杜美心” as “With a heart to eliminate American”.

        This is 2019, not Qing dynasty.

      • 1987.10.07 is the date of the mid-autumn festival that year. And according to the legend of 紫姑 (the reference for Cigu, the deity in the game), Mid-autumn festivals is a date suitable for her summoning in rituals. What is special about the mid-autumn festival that year is that a lunar eclipse occurred, and was considered to be a bad omen (a lunar eclipse on the the festival which you were to celebrate a full moon). The developer chose that specific day for a very good reason, not because they want to reference it to the Chinese= =.
        The Chinese are just paranoid by the case that Winnie the Pooh was included and are trying to make every possible connection that makes it look like they were attacked.
        The memes was used to mock Xi-Jinping, and was used thoroughly in their own country for that purpose, in I don’t see the logic of seeing it as an attack on Chinese people in general. Red-Candle gain it’s reputation in “detention” by challenging the authoritarian regime’s (Taiwan before democratization) control on the freedom of speech and expression. The courage to “tell the tale” is what is so valuable about Red Candle in the first place, I don’t see why they should apologize for being coherent with their original values.

    • Why are you lying? There’s no one that died in the 49th birthday? No Lu Gongmin? Why are you making up stuff? This is exactly why no one takes this kind of stuff seriously.

      • You are avoiding the key point. All the “making up’ stuff is because of the curse. If people did not find the curse, they will not relate everything together. But now we know what the company’s action, they did put hiding information to insult others for a political aim. So now everything can be thought of a connotation. And actually lots of people have taken it seriously, go to check the ranking on Steam.

        • Well I just can say you have a great imagination. This is a good ability for detectors, but not a game player. If you always react like that, everything in your life may be suspicious. That’s definitely a hard life. And NOT lots of people, only losts of ” Chinese people” would take it so seriously. By the way, devotion is still on the popular list, and in some of tags it is the top one. From steamspy, the rate of devotion is still the top 1.

          • It is because of Chinese expectations of devotion that led to top1,but after that devotion breaked Chinese player’s heart

        • You have a really great imagination. That’s a good talent for detectors but not game players. If you need to deal with anything like this way, everything would be suspicious. That is definitely a hard life…By the way, not lots of people would take it seriously, they should only be Chinese people. Few people care about this. And I’ve checked the ranking. I think you mean the popular list? Devotion is still on it, and on some of the tags, it is the top one. From steamspy download rates, Devotion is still the top one, and the number of owners have exceeded 200K.

        • 1). There is no ‘curse’, unless you count calling a political leader’s mother an idiot to be a ‘curse’.

          2). Even if there was a curse, that is not justification for flat out lying and making things up. That just shows you can’t compete with actual facts and have to resort to fabricating fake news.

        • The game’s ranking and reviews on Steam means NOTHING. Rankings via reviews are democratic and are susceptible to rank tanking, especially if you piss off a country with more than a billion people.

          The game was fine. China, and Chinese gamers, are the only ones who got butthurt.

      • Come on. Is Lu a main character in this game? He only appeared in the setting of ARG. And who’s the one lying that Lu is the main character? Do you have to relate someone died in the 49th birthday to politics?
        By the way, “4” and “9” are both unlucky numbers in Chinese tradition, anyone who’s interested can google them. Therefore the numbers are also totally game-related.

    • I’m here to give everyone the truth. First, among more than 100000 owners of the game, only less than 9000 are from china. But among 10k reviews, more than a half are from china. Plus, when Chinese players reviewed the game, most of them would said “This is a product made in our country, and we proud of it.” which implies some political things related to “country”. And the game did not insult any Chinese people, while you do not see “Winnie” as a negative word. In the US, most people may make jokes even on their president. That is not a big deal, since we all know that does not mean to the U.S as whole. Anyway, except for the game rates, I do not think there would be any lost for the game publisher, since most of chinese player have the game without purchasing.

    • I am from mainland China, honestly I hate watching people fight, especially we have just had a good time. When I played this game i really enjoyed it and because the East-Asian culture share so much in common, I think communication could make both learn more on the game. And today I just woke up to such a scene, game blocked and people fighting and throwing trash on each other again.

      On the one hand, I think it is not normal, it is not ok to simply block a game, or even a platform by political tendencies shown in a game. And that is why I think the interpretation of the mainland civic part (“陆公民”) became a thing. It feels like someone just wanted to pick up a fight, and the one with president seems to be too weak to attract more mainland players to join the fight, so there came the mainlander curse. I am not sure whether the October 1 thing to be right or not, because that is the mainland national day. So here comes my second point, I think if Redcandle wanted to express their political pursuits, they could be more clear, which exactly are they anti against? The socialist China? Marxism? Mao? Or authoritarianism represented by the communist leadership in mainland china?

      Because right now it seems very unclear at which level are we fighting about?

      其实我觉得互联网世界大家太容易吵起来了,一哄而上,然后也没有讲清楚道理。看到现在我都没明白到底大家争吵的是什么……

      • yep, 陸公銘 is actually the homophonic pronunciation of “光明” (light) in Taiwanese (Minnan). So “陸公銘” actually implies “入光明” (into the light), which serves as a satire against cults, nothing to do with mainland China, some people just over interpreted it…So the only conflict here is the fulu which mocks the Chinese leader, and yes, Red Candles have gotten their punishments and they did apologized. People have to chill and calm down…smh, it’s not a freaking war, just a stupid dev accidentally implemented a stupid fulu in-game which he thought was a smart move.

  3. Your article is very neutral, and most of them are partial to China. From what you think Taiwan’s leader is Xi Jinping, you can learn that you are not enough to trust.

  4. I’m Taiwanese.
    In our culture, the spell can be divided into two groups.
    One is curse,the other is blessed.
    In Devotion,the father prays for his daughter,so he definitely prays blessed spell.
    Beside,spell will seal the god’s name in general.

  5. come on…As a taiwanese, I’ve never though of Chinese citizen while we heard of Lu Gongmin. It’s just overly interpreted since Chinese feel irritated for some out-of-nothing reason.

  6. “`the game has also cursed everyone in mainland China and have told them to “die”.“`

    I see no evidence of that. Could you elaborate?

    • Some Chinese misinterpretate that Winnie the Pooh fulu as a cursing purpose. While my Han Folk Religion is a little rough and I can’t say I actually know the function of said fulu, from a Tao and folk beliefs practice’s point, I can tell you it can’t be for cursing since the fulu next to it is literally for warding against evil spirit (it has 驅邪神煞, which can be roughly translated as “To exorcise evil, ward against the spirit”). You simply won’t put that next to a cursing fulu, since you need the evil spirit to help you cursing.

  7. The developer says that one of the developer put the text in while making/testing the game. No other noticed the word on the fulu. They do apologize shortly after this easter egg was found. In the unused game file, someone also discovered some memes in it.
    The outrageous was pretty stupid in my opinion. Why?
    1. Half of those review were written with a play time of less than an hour. Which means they write the negative review, and refunded their money back.
    2. One of those review says: “Now if you excuse me, I’m going to have a refund.” What make this looks stupid is the word written on top of the review:”This user received this product for free.” What does this mean? They download the hacked version of the game.
    3. Rumor says about 9000 of copies were sold, and 8000 were refunded in China. And yet they claimed that without China’s player, they won’t be getting any money.

  8. Fulu talisman is a tool for Taoist priest to reveal a god’s power. The red seal represents the name of which God empowers them. DEFINITELY NOT A CURSED.

  9. China is exporting censorship to the world, and the first stop is Taiwan!

    Some Chinese player mentioned the fulu, said it had curse Xi, and Chinese people, but the fulu only effective when it summoned some deity, and finished some spell writing in the right way. the fulu in the game Devotion didn’t meet those conditions, thus it’s just a pattern.

  10. Although the fulu is just a pattern, now it seems really has some Chinese self-censorship triggered magic!

    And, Chinese imperialism sucks!

  11. The insult at general Chinese people is just over-interpretation which Red Candle Game never intended.
    As for “Xi Jingping Winnie the Pooh,” Chinese people should be aware that it is perfectly OK in Taiwan to parody a political leader (especially a dictator), not to mention it is the Chinese who started this nickname first. (Though it was soon banned as a taboo in China lol)
    BTW, there are still some Chinese players who are amused to see this sarcasm hidden in the game, although needless to say, their posts would be quickly removed by Weibo (the Chinese SNS)

    • Winnie the Pooh is NOT a NICKNAME for Xi Jingping. There was an Insulting incident before. Please Google it before you say these words.

  12. “Taiwan, China’s territory since ancient times”.

    You really dont know about history dont you? if you think that you really dont know what is going on there

  13. cursed everyone in mainland to die on top of cursing Xi ?
    Ok, that’s hilarious.
    First, in the game the witchcraft never existed, it’s all about cult.
    Second, I don’t know laughing at the president will equal to laughing at everyone in China, same as cursing.
    Xi is a president, not China.
    Third, that paper isn’t dark magic spell paper, that’s just a paper, one of a papers, for mentor to cheat everyone to get money, so it’s really stupid to said that is a curse.
    Instead of cursing, that’s just a joke, and it’s free to make fun of president in any free country. We don’t need to avoid any political word, we don’t need to put % or @ in our sentences to avoid being deleted.

  14. As a Chinese from mainland, I’m not disappointed or angry, actually I’m just sad. I can’t even find other word to express my feeling as i found out so many people say it’s just a meme and over-interpretation. It’s not about meme of Winnie the Pooh, or the explaination on the name “Lugongmin”. It’s the humilation and hostility toward chinese people which make chiense people really angry. If someone post an article about how bad China and chiense is, at least for me, i can accept as long as it’s based on fact.(which i can already imagine someone saying i’m brainwashed and can’t make judge on fact) However, cursing Chinese president and Chinese people is absolutely unacceptable. If you have any negative view about China, just say it. I admit many Chinese people from mainland are irrational and some of them are stupid chauvinism. And i also understand why people from Taiwan don’t want to Taiwan unite with Mainland China, it’s like the twins sepreated and raised in different families. In fact, i can even accept the hostility toward China, as the comments above, many people are not talking about the game but just talking shit about China. But why Red Candle choose to use such sneaky way, that’s what really hurt the feeling of Chinese people.

    • Hi Allen,

      You sound like a sane and reasonable person. Do you really believe that making fun of a political leader is the same as insulting the entire country’s people? Might I remind you that the Winnie the Pooh meme was actually started by Chinese people in China? Also, Xi was not elected by the people of China. There’s no reason to feel that his sitting on the ‘Dragon Throne’ is something that the average mainland Chinese should feel responsible for.

      I honestly didn’t see more than a few people talking shit about China, by the way, unless the posts have already been removed.

  15. Here it is, the Chinese self-censorship!
    And do you know, how many points did Meisin get in the singing petition? It’s 88! 8*8=64! Bang! Another insult to China lol

    Otherwise, when you Chinese try to avoid censorship to key in the word”邪教xie-jiao, cult worship” in chinese, you just type the initial alphabets “xj”. But do you know? the initial alphabets of your president “習近平, Xi, jin-ping” are “xjp”. Is it a metaphor? Does it means that president Xi is a cult-worship?

    You should fight against the censorship, not use the censorship to inspect what other’s said!

    • A lot of Taiwan people here talk about everything but the core fact: the game company hidden a piece of information to show their political point of mainland China, even though this game has nothing about politic. Also, they did not tell consumers about the political connotation while getting their money. The angry of Chinese players are not about Xi, it is about lying and fooling. The company does not respect their main consumers. Stop using other topics to changing the key point, the company offended their consumers first, that the beginning for every consequence. Taiwan people should admit the fact first before trying everything to defend the company.

      • From what I believe, it wasn’t intentional. They added it as a placeholder during the development process but forgot to retract it in the final version. Sure, it’s offensive, but they weren’t the ones to “create” the meme. It was already floating around on the internet, they picked it up, put it in as a placeholder and continued the development.

        The problem was, they were careless enough to remove it and didn’t foresee how bad of an impact it would create on their game, their company and their values in the eyes of Chinese gamers.

        A question arises, why “that” meme? Well, because, geographically, it’s one of the most accessible memes out there. They could have used a Trump meme, but Trump has no significance in the Taiwanese/Chinese culture. It’s like me picking up a drink which is available in the market. I won’t go for a Coke if it isn’t sold here. I’ll choose a Frooti instead.

        • You are unbeliveble, Pingal! You do treat this issue very seriously and wrote an amazing article about it in every detail.

          one more fact:
          In the update on 2/21, Red Candle has already fixed the winnie problem found by taiwanese on 2/19 or 2/20. When chinese knew it yesterday, it actually couldn’t be found in the game anymore.

          • Thank you so much JSade. Yeah, I’ve added the apology at the bottom of the article.

            Keep visiting for more investigative video games journalism.

  16. To the writer of this article, before you add those dramatic content into the article, have you considered confirming whether it is truth or just a malicious rumor? This is a really partial article.

    • Hey “A Taiwanese gamer”. I did mention how, many segments of the article were provided by individuals, just like you. I’ve clearly mentioned which segments of the article I was unable to confirm.

          • Yes actually that’s true. Since most of the people who care about this are Chinese. Most of the source are from Chinese articles or reviews on internet. Thus internet people might think this is an article of Chinese perspective. That’s also correct in some aspects. The author did not make any comments on this, so this is good. But citing some rumors or comments posted by Chinese net people I don’t think this is a good idea. They stand on the oppsites, so it’s not appropriate to endorse either of them.

  17. It’s a disgrace to the Taiwan game industry. Please understand that not all indie developers in Taiwan are like that. The Red Candle is a studio founded by a group of people vouching for Taiwan’s independence, evident in their previous game Detention where they told the history from the perspective of Democratic Progressive Party, the major political party in Taiwan who wants to ultimately claim independence and sever ties with China.
    It’s their doing to insult China and the rest of the indie developers do not wish to be held responsible for, nor associated with the actions of a mere dozen people.

    • Well, Detention’s gaming background was KMT’S martial-law ruling period right? A.k.a. ‘White terror”, many people were throwed to jail by KMT government just because of their anti-KMT ideology, or even just had some left-wing, pro-Taiwan independent friends.

      KMT never apologize for that.

      • “KMT never apologize for that.”

        That is a lie. They apologized in 1995 and the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei commemorates the White Terror. If you want to talk about the lack of apologies for atrocities against unarmed civilians, however, I seem to recall a certain incident that occurred in Beijing in 1989. Around June, I think…

  18. Hello, I just saw this response in a Taiwanese game forum discussing the game, which might offer a new perspective on the incident.
    Unfortunately I am not able to verify the claims.
    Source:https://m.gamer.com.tw/forum/Co.php?bsn=33763&snB=1777
    Since it’s in Traditional Chinese I’m just going to make a summary:

    The Chinese players were supportive of the game initially, since the Taiwanese company managed to make such a Chinese style game, something that is hard for them to do due to the strict laws governing games. Red Candle’s partner in China managed to sort out things with the government in China, so all was well.

    “A few days after the game was released, some players approached 還願吧 (The forum in Baidu Tieba that discusses everything about the game Devotion) about making a pirated version. However most players in that forum thought that they should buy the game since they wanted to support the game. The pirate version supporters were offended by that, thinking that the steam version supporters acted haughty.

    Then the issue with the fulu was discovered, some of the players streaming the game had also seen it and there was even some discussion about it but most were mulled over and kept low-key. Red Candle quickly updated the game after that and removed the picture, so the supporters of the game thought that the crisis was averted.

    Then a well known Taoist priest said that he was interested in the game and wanted to stream it, that’s when everything went wrong. The pirate version supporters sent him a screenshot of the fulu, and he openly criticized the game for having a political agenda. So the pirate version supporters saw an opportunity and started a smear campaign. The streamers had no choice but to join the bandwagon else their accounts get suspended. Same with the game distributor.

    After all the websites and the distributor removed the contents about the game, then came the forums. 還願(Devotion’s Chinese name) became a sensitive word. The managers of the forum let those who raged against the game do as they wished, but for those trying to defend it, their comments were quickly deleted or even their accounts were suspended. Since it’s not easy to make an account in those Chinese forums, the voices trying to defend the game quickly died down. If a newbie to the game asks why is the game being banned, they will only get an answer that the game made slurs against China. And so the information spread.”

    IMO this explains why the Chinese player’s opinion seemingly flipped 180 over night and spread so quickly. People with different opinions weren’t allowed to speak and only one version of the event is allowed to spread.

  19. The game is over-interpreted by the Chinese. It says clearly in the game that every thing is **fictional**. Moreover, they did not studied the background very well. 1987/10/7 is moon-festival and has a lunar eclipse, which is a super bad sign. Also, if the ceremony. Also, “LuXinHui” and “LuGongMin” is from ARG, which is outside of the game, not from the game itseld. Again, all things are fictional.

    The lunar eclipse info is in here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_1987_lunar_eclipse

  20. The game is over-interpreted by the Chinese. It says clearly in the game that every thing is **fictional**. Moreover, they did not studied the background very well. 1987/10/7 is moon-festival and has a lunar eclipse, which is a super bad sign. Also, if the ceremony. Also, “LuXinHui” and “LuGongMin” is from ARG, which is outside of the game, not from the game itseld. Again, all things are fictional.

    The lunar eclipse info is in here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_1987_lunar_eclipse

  21. The game is over-interpreted by the Chinese. It says clearly in the game that every thing is **fictional**. Moreover, they did not studied the background very well. 1987/10/7 is moon-festival and has a lunar eclipse, which is a super bad sign. Also, if the ceremony. Also, “LuXinHui” and “LuGongMin” is from ARG, which is outside of the game, not from the game itseld. Again, all things are fictional.
    The lunar eclipse info is in here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_1987_lunar_eclipse
    I am glad that you found the truth about Baozi. There are lots of sayings on Chinese websites saying that it is Xi. I assume this is similar to how the Amulet issues were spread.

  22. Please report another side’s opinion about “THIRD POSSIBLE REASON”, and this is not fair to helping spread rumors.

    A lot of China people are crazy about “THIRD POSSIBLE REASON”, but as a Taiwanese, those reasons are really weak, We really not much know about China’s days, so Lu Xin Group (陸心會) Lu Gongming(陸恭銘) or 49 or 10/1 or 7 days, in our culture (Taiwan) they are all have another meanings; Like we have bunch of religion groups were called X心會,and said Kevin: 陸公銘 is actually the homophonic pronunciation of “光明” (light) in Taiwanese (Minnan). So “陸公銘” actually implies “入光明” (into the light), 49 are bad luck number, or 1949 also could be explain to the year KMT came to Taiwan; and 7 days it means a lot of evil’s born needed time or die person’s spirit rest in peace time.

    Fulu was a ridiculous mistake, they should apologizefor that, but other things are crazy over reacting

  23. Please report another side’s opinion about “THIRD POSSIBLE REASON”, and this is not fair to helping spread rumors.

    A lot of China people are crazy about “THIRD POSSIBLE REASON”, but as a Taiwanese, those reasons are really weak, We really not much know about China’s days, so Lu Xin Group (陸心會) Lu Gongming(陸恭銘) or 49 or 10/1 or 7 days, in our culture (Taiwan) they are all have another meanings; Like we have bunch of religion groups were called X心會,and said Kevin: 陸公銘 is actually the homophonic pronunciation of “光明” (light) in Taiwanese (Minnan). So “陸公銘” actually implies “入光明” (into the light), 49 are bad luck number, or 1949 also could be explain to the year KMT came to Taiwan; and 7 days it means a lot of evil’s born needed time or die person’s spirit rest in peace time.

    Fulu was a ridiculous mistake, they should apologizefor that, but other things are crazy over reacting.

  24. non-Chinese or Taiwanese Americans should stay the f outta this discussion as you don’t a thing about the political relationships between the two nations. Go back to review bombing games over microtransactions (of all things) you spineless hypocrites

    • To be fair, a large proportion of mainland Chinese also do not know a thing about the political relationships between the two nations beyond what the PRC government tells them…

      • I wanted to discuss more about the political tension between the two nations, but again, I didn’t want to involve a lot of politics.

        So, just added one paragraph for context.

  25. OMG. It’s silly. 包子(Baozi) is Red Candle’s co-founder, he’s Boazi, his blog’s name is “Boazi’s Game Notes” (包子遊戲隨筆) https://huw12313212.wordpress.com/ , and he also uses the name Boazi publicly whether as a speaker or in media interviews. Everyone can google and get a bunch of information about this game developer Boazi , such as following:

    In 2013, Baozi was one of the speaker of this game conference
    https://igdshare.kktix.cc/events/igdshare130519
    In 2017, the media interviewed Red Candle & Boazi
    https://hkesports.com/w72_20160621_m_t14_01/
    In 2017, the media interviewed Red Candle & Boazi
    https://rocket.cafe/talks/84872

    You can searched hundreds of results about this indie game developer Boazi(包子)
    The newspaper in this game is actually just making fun and joking by replacing all the names in the newspaper by Boazi, including one of the news which says Boazi is a child attacker, it’s actually funny because people who knows Boazi in real life (or follows his FB) know he has Lolita Complex (you can see he mocked himself about it).

    The word “Baozi” in Chinese means dumplings, Pixar’s animation Boa is Boazi. It’s not a bad word as Winnie the pooh.

    In the game, the word in the talisman now has been rewritten to “Wish you make a good fortune”. A talisman itself is neutral, in Taiwan the most common use of talisman is to exorcise ghosts. Why a talisman with the word Xi Winnie the pooh will curse anyone? nonsense

    Crazy…
    What’s wrong with those people?

  26. This bums me out; I love these games and I think the gaming world needs games like this that are innovative, story-based, and asking questions that affect us all in the real world. It had me thinking of stories out here in the US of preachers believing that they, too, could heal kids that suffered from anxiety or illness by the power of prayer and killing them accidentally. And as someone with mental illness, having been told to just “pray to God for help” and all of that, this game renewed my plight as much as “Hellblade” did.

    It’s disheartening to see people’s hard work dragged like this because of misunderstandings. The Red Candle folks are trying to make a living like anyone of us. The international community wants to support them.

    Whenever I’m able to buy this game, I will, and I’m pretty sure that this controversy is going to boost sales.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here