A fighting game about world religions on Steam is causing trouble in Malaysia. PQube Games, publisher of the recently released PC game Fight Of Gods, says that the Malaysian government is taking steps to ban the game including blocking access to Steam within the country.
Update #2—Sep 9, 12:35 p.m.: Steam is now unblocked in Malaysia although Fight Of Gods has been removed from the storefront.
Fight Of Gods is a fighting game where religious figures like Jesus and Buddha duke it out, and although it looks pretty rough, players have taken to it. But Malaysia, an Islamic nation that is known for heavy censorship of all media including books, TV, and music, appears to take issue with the depiction of deities. It’s worth noting that while Mohammed is not portrayed in the game, Islam does consider Jesus and Moses as prominent prophets. Both appear in Fight Of Gods. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, a regulatory government group, has called for a ban on the game within 24 hours.
“Malaysians respect all cultural and religious sensitivities, and the sale and distribution of the religiously insensitive and blasphemous games must be stopped immediately,” they said according to Malaysian newspaper The Star.
“We never received any communications from Malaysian officials here at PQube,” the publisher said in a press release. “However reports seem to indicate that Malaysia has now blocked access to all of Steam in order to prevent access to Fight of Gods.”
Malaysian players on social media and NeoGAF claim that their access to Steam has been completely blocked. Representatives for Valve and members of the Malaysian consulate in North America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update #1—Sep 8, 2:50 p.m.: Valve has replied with the following statement:
Right now players in Malaysia can access the games they own on Steam, but the Steam Store is being blocked by some local telcos in Malaysia. From reports we are reading, this is due to a single game that conflicts with local laws. We have contacted the developer, removed the game, and are attempting to make contact with the officials in Malaysia to remove the block. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Malaysia’s government has a track record of attacking video games and the people who play them. In 2013, a member of the country’s parliament called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto V.
“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,” said PQube’s press release. “Nevertheless we respect any rules and censorship imposed in any given territory.”