Malaysian Gov't Temp Bans Steam Over Religious Fighting Game Starring Jesus

The game’s publisher claims it wasn’t consulted before the move was taken.
September 8, 2017, 4:04pm
Image courtesy of PQube

Recently, a goofy fighting game on Steam called Fight of Gods received a ton of attention because the characters you're brawling with include high-profile religious figures like Jesus Christ, who, naturally, enters the arena with a crown of thorns and pieces of the cross on his arms. But it's also attracted the attention of the Malaysian government, who recently banned its citizens from accessing Steam, according to a report by The Malaysian Insight.

[Update: 2:46 pm: Steam is now unblocked for some, but the game remains unavailable in Malaysia. Valve says it's "contacted the developer, removed the game [in Malaysia], and are attempting to make contact with the officials in Malaysia to remove the block."]

The connection to Fight of Gods was merely speculation, fueled a separate report at another Malaysian publication, The Star, which reported yesterday Fight of Gods was to be disabled within 24 hours, by request of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. According to The Star, the commission said it posed a " threat to racial unity and harmony."

"It is in the public interest to ensure that immediate steps are taken so that such contents do not continue to harm others," they said.

Apparently, those steps involved blocking Steam.

Valve has not responded to my request for comment, but the publisher behind Fight of Gods, PQube, issued a statement in response to the moves by Malaysian officials. The company claims it "never received any communications from Malaysian officials" prior to the ban.

Here's their full statement:

"Fight of Gods is a video game that takes a humorous approach to religion in the same way that other entertainment formats have – across television, film, books and theatre.

The game is not promoting any religious agenda and is not designed to offend. The description of the game on the digital platforms through which it is distributed provide clear guidance on the nature of the game and its content so that people can freely choose whether or not to play it. We fully respect the choice of those who would not wish to play it.

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, although no direct communication has been received by us as to the reasons for this. Nevertheless we respect any rules and censorship imposed in any given territory."

Malaysian Steam users on the service's subreddit are reporting they still can't access Steam, though some are getting around it by changing DNS settings.

PQube said it's reached out to Steam "and are working with them to resolve the situation as soon as possible." Whether that means Fight of Gods remains accessible for Malaysian players (a selective blocking) remains to be seen.

You might have to sit this one out, Jesus. Tough break, son of God.

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