Update, September 13: PQube have announced that, after contact from Thailand authorities, they’re removing Fight of Gods from sale in that region.
Boy, Fight of Gods, huh? The divine fighting game didn’t seem like it was going to stand out from a sea of other Early Access titles, but then the Malaysian government went and banned the entirety of Steam over it. Now Thailand are following suit, albeit in much less broad ways.
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An announcement from publisher PQube revealed today that they’d received “formal communications” from authorities in Thailand over the content in Fight of Gods. “After careful consideration and consultation,” reads the announcement, “we have started proceedings to remove Fight Of Gods from sale in Thailand. We wish to thank all of our fans in the affected regions for the support you have shown us.”
At least they’re not banning Steam altogether.
Update, September 8: Valve have removed Fight of Gods from sale in Malaysia, and Steam has since returned in that region, though some ISPs are still blocking the store.
It seems the kerfuffle over religious-themed brawler, Fight of Gods, is about to come to an end. After the Malaysian government blocked access to Steam across the country due to the game’s religious content, Valve have removed it from sale in that region. Now the block has largely been lifted, though some internet service providers are still not allowing access to the Steam store.
“We have contacted the developer, removed the game, and are attempting to make contact with the officials in Malaysia to remove the block,” Valve’s Doug Lombardi tells GamesBeat. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
The full block apparently lasted for about three hours, but folks have largely had success getting around it by using VPNs. I suspect that, despite the game’s lack of availability in Malaysia, developers Digital Crafter and publishers PQube have to be happy about the publicity for Fight of Gods, which released in Early Access this week.
Update, September 8: The publishers of Fight of Gods have released a statement saying that neither they, nor the game's developers, were contacted by Malaysian officials in advance of the coutry's decision to block Steam in response to the game's release.
The publishers of Fight of Gods, PQube, deny that they were contacted by the Malaysian government in response to the religious fighting game, which has been labelled "blasphemous."
In a short statement, PQube and developers Digital Crafting have defended their game, and stated that "we never received any communications from Malaysian officials here at PQube."
A statement delivered on behalf of both teams in response to the decision by the Malaysian government says, "Fight of Gods is a video game that takes a humorous approach to religion in the same way that other entertainment formats have."
The statement goes on to say that "the game is not promoting any religious agenda and is not designed to offend," and that the developers respect the decision of anyone who decides not to play their game.
PQube also say "we are disappointed that such freedom of choice is not given to everyone and in particular that the game has been forcibly removed from sale in Malaysia," and that they have reached out to Steam in an attempt to resolve the situation quickly.
Original story, September 8: The Malaysian government have banned access to Steam, in its entirerty, across the country. The move was made in response to controversy of the recently released game, Fight of Gods.
The issue, first highlighted on NeoGAF, stems from the release of the fighting game, which features, among others, Jesus and Buddha as playable characters. While perhaps vaguely distasteful, none have responded to this artistic choice as strongly as the Malaysian government, who appealed for the game’s digital availability to be disabled in their country.
Yesterday, Salleh Said Keruak, Malyasia’s communications and multimedia minister, asked for the game to be taken down “within 24 hours.” If that didn’t happen, the minister said “further action will be taken.” It would seem that Keruak’s requests were not met, and that further action seems to have been disabling the entirety of the Steam digital platform across Malaysia.
In the NeoGAF thread mentioned above, it was revealed that trying to access the Steam store webpage took users to a page that simply read, “Access to this site has been denied under Section 263(2) Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 as it violates the following Malaysian law: Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.”
If you’re not up to date on your Malaysian intellectual property law, that act forbids “making, creating, or soliciting any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.”
The Early Access game, which was released last week, features Odin, Zeus, and Anubis as part of its roster, but the depictions of Jesus and Buddha in particular prompted Keruak to slam the game as blasphemous, and to say that “it is in the public interest to ensure that immediate steps are taken so that such contents do not continue to harm others.”
You can (and probably should, it’s quite funny) check out Fight of Gods’ Jesus Returns Trailer above. You can also watch the game’s launch trailer here. If you don’t live in Malaysia, you could even pick the game up on Steam.