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Valve is re-reviewing some of the older visual novels, clickers, puzzle games, and dating sim titles that contain ecchi or sexually suggestive content in them. Originally Valve sent out letters to developers claiming that they had two weeks to censor their games or risk having them removed from Steam.
Polygon is reporting that Valve is reneging on the initial threat of removing the games. Titles like HuniePop from indie developer HuniePot were given to the end of the month to further censor the content in the game even though the content within the game was already censored back when it first released on Steam more than three years ago.
Other visual novels like Mutiny!! from Lupiesoft were also hit, along with a few other games that had already been on Steam for years. Not only that but the games were also pre-censored before being allowed on Steam or further censored after making it to the platform. Nevertheless, Valve threatened to have the games removed if they weren't censored even more, which sent a wave of confusion through the development community.
After a massive backlash and outcry from the gaming community, the YouTube community, and the developers affected by these changes, Valve sent out a second letter to some of the affected developers stating that there would be reevaluations of the games and that some of the titles would be re-reviewed before action was taken.
So far the games have not been pulled from the digital distribution service yet, but the notice sent a wave of confusion through the gaming community because only some titles were singled out. As pointed out by Polygon, uncensored visual novels like Ladykiller in a Bind were not affected nor were there any requests to have the game censor its explicit hardcore sex scenes.
Many gamers have taken to petitioning Valve to leave the visual novels and dating sims alone, since they supposedly already comply with Valve's Steamworks Partner Program rules of not containing actual explicit pornography.
Valve has always attempted to draw the line on what sort of content is allowed on the service from indie developers, usually preventing visual novels and dating sims from smaller studios from featuring explicit hardcore sex, with the unexplained exception of Ladykiller in a Bind.
Some gamers have pointed to a supposed response from someone at Valve in the Steam sub-reddit, where supposedly the games that Valve targeted allowed gamers to use patches to unlock adult content already packed into the game, similar to the mod to access the Hot Coffee content in GTA: San Andreas. However, Valve has not provided clarification or statements to media outlets detailing exactly why certain games were targeted and why others weren't, and why the evaluations are taking place years after some of these games have been available on the service.
Gamers are continuing to petition Valve and champion for visual novels and dating sims to be left alone on the service, so we'll see how the company responds to the backlash.