“A game of this nature has no place in our society,” Bardell said while speaking before Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “I’m glad that it has been pulled by gaming site Steam, but their response was woeful. It did not even accept or acknowledge the risk it could pose. At a time when 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence in their lives, and in a week when it’s International Women’s Day, will [the DCMS] work with me and others to launch a review into how this game even got to the development and approval stage and make sure it appears on no other platform?”
“Rape Day” is a visual novel from indie developer Desk Plant that reportedly contains 500 images and over 7,000 words enabling the player to “verbally harass, kill, and rape women as [they] choose to progress the story.”. Its content includes “violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sex, obscene language, necrophilia, and incest.”
While the game hadn’t officially launched yet, its product page was offensive enough to catch attention and widespread condemnation. A Change.org petition gathered nearly 8,000 signatures calling for the game’s removal from Steam. Valve, the company that owns Steam, delisted the title on Wednesday saying, “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 added.
First Minister of the Scottish Parliament Shona Robison supported Bardell and her call for a government review, according to GamesIndustry.biz. She urged parliament to “strengthen the legislation around this area.”
“For any online gaming platform to allow the publishing of a so-called game, which glorifies the killing and raping of women, would be disgusting and deeply offensive,” she said.