When Valve launched Steam Greenlight five days ago, the studio said it would be a platform that "enlists the community's help in selecting some of the next games to be released on Steam." It would allow developers and publishers to post information and media about their game in an effort to convince the Community that the game should be released on Steam.
Thus, not only would Greenlight connect developers and publishers to gamers, but serve as an advertising tool. If the game gets enough votes, it becomes an actual product sold on Valve's Steam platform – a really awesome idea. Greenlight even piggybacks on Steam Workshop's flexible system that organizes content and lets customers rate and leave feedback, Valve said.
Unfortunately, not every idea will get a chance to be voted onto Valve's platform. According to the official Greenlight guidelines, a submitted game "must not contain offensive material or violate copyright or intellectual property rights." Developer No Reply Games found out the hard way after submitting its game Seduce Me on Greenlight's launch day, only to be quickly removed by Valve.
"We submitted the game on Thursday, when Steam Greenlight launched," explained Miriam Bellard, co-founder No Reply Games, "but they took it down almost straight away. Many people still view games as 'for children' in spite of the fact that the average gamer is 30 years old. The gaming establishment is fine with violence and gore but is uncomfortable with sexual themes."
According to the description, Seduce Me is an erotic game with light strategy gameplay, pre-rendered backgrounds, and hand painted images of glamorous women. "Explore Pietra's luxury villa and meet its glamorous occupants," it reads. "Do you have what it takes to seduce your way into the hearts and bedrooms of Seduce Me's gorgeous women."
The game centers around four women: Pietra, a rich, beautiful, celebrity socialite; Cecelia, a sexually aggressive, confident, older divorcee; Lilia, Cecilia's daughter who is a University student and a "proper" English girl; and Esper, the group's wild child. Players interact with the girls by responding to events and playing card-based mini games that mimic real world situations like chatting, flirting, confronting and more.
"High scores and winning mini games can earn you erotic cut scenes," reads the game's description. "The girls are not passive. They can and do respond to how you act. Maximizing your scores with one of the four main characters allows you to win the game. This leads to a final erotic cut scene with that character."
Hmmm. Maybe Valve was on to something when it swung the Greenlight banhammer, especially after watching the gameplay video and reading some of the in-game dialog. "Steam has never been a leading destination for erotic material," Valve's chief spokesperson Doug Lombardi told Kotaku. "Greenlight doesn't aim to change that."
No Reply Games eventually received an email saying that the game was pulled for violating Steam or Greenlight's terms. The developer said the removal "obviously was not a mistake so we interpreted the situation as a non-negotiable one."
Nevertheless, Seduce Me will still be released in November, just not on Valve's platform. Meanwhile, Valve said it will update the terms of service to "more clearly reflect content restrictions."