Steam game about raping women will test Valve’s hands-off approach

Midway through last year, Valve made headlines after announcing that it would allow anything on its storefront that was not illegal or “straight up trolling.” Such a vague edict might explain why, as of this writing, there’s a visual novel that promises to let you play as a sociopath that can violate women during a zombie apocalypse. It’s literally called Rape Day.

The game, which is not out yet, is marked as an “adult only” title — which means that you can’t see it unless you’re logged in to Steam, and have opted to see games of that nature in your feed. The game’s description, which lists “evil choices” as a feature, says that it will let players “verbally harass, kill, and rape women as you choose to progress the story.” Rape Day boasts that it has over 7,000 words, though judging from writing on the screenshots, it appears to be an amateur creation. Players will be able to read through chunks of the story, and occasionally click on outcomes to the scenarios, which are illustrated with 3D renders of characters.

Rape Day - woman holding a gun to a kneeling man’s headDesk Plant

Valve did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but on the game’s website, the developer seems aware that its creation is controversial.

“You can’t reasonable [sic] consider banning rape in fiction without banning murder and torture,” the developer says.

“Most people can separate fiction from reality pretty well, and those that can’t shouldn’t be playing video games,” the developer continues.

Technically, Rape Day does not appear to violate Steam’s current content rules, but the developer appears unsure if the game will make it to the final release without getting banned off the platform. Already, the game has been modified to avoid potential content issues — in one news update, the creator says they got rid of a “baby killing scene” in case it gets marked as child exploitation. Rape Day’s website also lists out a couple of plans of action for what may happen to the game, and the developer, should anything get taken down.

“I have not broken any rules, so I don’t see how my game could get banned unless Steam changes their policies,” the developer wrote. “My game was properly marked as adult and with a thorough description of all of the potentially offensive content before the coming soon page went live on Steam.”

In the last year, Steam has been criticized for its hands-off approach to game curation. While it was seen as a boon that the platform allows for games with sexual content, the fact you have to log in, opt in, and look for the games in question means that games with LGBT themes are treated the same as games like Rape Day by the platform.