Steam “frivolously” Rejects Promising Retro FPS for Adding a Sexual Assault Content Warning, Its Creators Say

2 min

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Fortune’s Run, despite performing poorly in the demo. Surprisingly, we have not yet covered this independent sci-fi first-person shooter (FPS) on this platform, so here’s a quick summary: you play as a high-jumping, sword-wielding, and bullet-pumping character with the combined traits of Deus Ex and DOOM. The game takes place in a world reminiscent of the Imperial bases and sewers from Dark Forces, where you battle grungy pixelated sprites using precise parries, grabs, combos, headshots, terrain traps, and more. In between battles, you can engage in activities such as playing basketball and leaving graffiti for other players using a messaging system inspired by Dark Souls. It’s an exciting experience!

The game was originally scheduled to launch on Steam Early Access tomorrow, September 27th. However, there has been a delay. According to developer Team Fortune, Valve’s testers have rejected the release of Fortune’s Run on the platform for various reasons, one of which is that Valve does not consider the game’s content warning for sexual assault to be necessary.

A statement on the Steam page reads, “Bad news everyone. We have been rejected by Valve again. We are now two days away from release. Valve has frivolously rejected our launch for the third time.” The statement explains that Valve initially rejected the build because testers were unable to locate a specific “huge combat level.” The developer resolved this issue by providing them with console commands, resulting in a one-week delay.

However, Valve has now also raised concerns regarding the way Team Fortune labeled the subject matter of their game. Please note that the following two paragraphs contain a brief description of sexual assault.

“Our protagonist’s journey is driven by a past traumatic event involving sexual assault,” the statement continues. “For this reason, we chose to disclose in-game and on the store page that there is mature content and that players would have the option to opt-out of direct references. In the current Early Access build, one sequence involves the player witnessing the act from a first-person perspective.

“We were disappointed by how many games portray sexual assault as gratifying and arousing. Therefore, we chose to depict it as simply disgusting and revolting. The sequence involves an emaciated, wrinkled alien creature lapping at the camera. We believe this is so repulsive that it requires a warning and an option to disable the content.

“However, according to Valve, this depiction is not explicit enough to be considered a reference to sexual assault. Consequently, they rejected our build again.

“At present, we are removing the content warning, even though we strongly disagree with this decision. Unfortunately, there is a high probability that the build review will not be completed before the launch day.”

Team Fortune consists of only two people, so setbacks like these require a significant amount of additional work. “Meeting all the deadlines has been an extraordinary amount of work,” the post concludes. “We deeply apologize for the delay and hope that you will still be with us when Valve finally decides to make the game available on the store.”

I have reached out to Valve to request their perspective on this situation and will update this article once I receive a response. Personally, I find the situation to be quite strange, although it aligns with Valve’s inconsistent approach to policing “adult” content on Steam. In the meantime, I encourage you to try the Fortune’s Run demo, which will be removed once the Early Access build is launched.

Update: September 27, 2023: We have not yet received a response from Valve regarding our email inquiry, but they have approved the release of Fortune’s Run after Team Fortune removed the content warning from the game’s Steam page. However, the warning still appears in the game upon startup.

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