Paris – A computer game in which players rape and kill women has been pulled from a popular digital game store following a major outcry.
Steam said it was pulling the controversial videogame Rape Day, which sees players assume the role of a rapist serial killer as it "poses unknown costs and risks."
"We respect developers’ desire to express themselves…but this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them do that," Valve, the video game developer that owns Steam, said in a statement.
Last year, Steam also pulled a game called Active Shooter, which simulated school shootings.
Rape Day, a visual novel game in which players control how the story progresses, was due to be released on Steam in April.
"Control the choices of a menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse," the game’s store page said, before it was pulled down, according to several speciality publications.
"Verbally harass, kill, and rape women as you choose to progress the story. It’s a dangerous world with no laws. The zombies enjoy eating the flesh off warm humans and brutally raping them but you are the most dangerous rapist in town," according to the description.
News of the game’s release prompted petitions in several countries to block it, with one Change.org petition garnering nearly 8 000 signatures.
The game also met with a wave of criticism on social media.
Hannah Bardell, a member of the UK parliament, on Thursday asked the government to review the game, describing its content as "sick."
"The content of this game is utterly perverted," she said in a statement. "It’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into how tech companies and gaming platforms – specifically Steam – are able to get away with this kind of stupidity."
According to the game’s developer, Desk Plant, Rape Day is intended as a dark comedy and is aimed at the "four percent of the general population who are sociopaths."
"Most people can separate fiction from reality pretty well, and those that can’t shouldn’t be playing video games," Desk Plant wrote in a now-deleted FAQ posting on the Steam store.
"The point of games is to do things, or experience things that you can’t or shouldn’t in reality. If games and movies were just like real life, they would be pretty boring."
The developer has vowed to find another platform to release the game.
"If both my game is banned and I am banned, then I will ensure that a content platform for all kinds of legal, quality porn games exist," the developer wrote.