Top Hat Studios’ Cross Love – Episode 1 was banned from Steam because one of Valve’s employees said that it featured the “exploitation” of minors. Top Hat hasn’t received a lot of communication from Valve regarding the ban, which has become common practice from Valve regarding the new censorship policies being applied to select visual novels and anime titles.
Top Hat decided that instead of trying to play at guesswork of what is and isn’t allowed on Steam, they would be making some drastic changes to the kind of games they would be submitting to Steam in the future, which includes no longer submitting uncensored games to the platform.
In a message to their fans, Top Hat issued a statement regarding their situation on December 6th, 2018.
We’ve taken the time to write a small blurb about what we’ll be doing going forward on Steam and regarding Cross Love for now – or at least until they hopefully get back to us, if ever. We’d like to know if people be interested in seeing the series come to Patreon for one thing. pic.twitter.com/TZORkuBH3t
— Top Hat Studios, Inc (@TopHatStudiosEN) December 7, 2018
If you’re unable to read it from the tweet, it states…
“Thank you to everyone who’s helped us or reached out to us so far regarding the issue with Cross Love, as well as those especially who have supported us on Nutaku or Itchio. While we continue to try and spread awareness and make the best we can out of the situation through those who have reached out to us and the sites we are available on – as well as in talks/process with like JAST and Fakku – the best we can do is wait until we get a definitive response from Valve, which in truth, may be never, as we have inquiries from as far back as a month now – when the game first entered build queue – which haven’t been answered.
“That said, in the future, we will be re-evaluating our approach to Steam and what games we will be developing and publishing for distribution on the platform. For now, which we know is going to be much to the detriment of Steam consumers, we will not be publishing or developing any further games in “school” settings beyond those we have already nurtured a relationship with (most of which will be announced soon). Whether this will extend to college/university games as well is currently to be decided. For titles we are exclusively publishing ourselves, we will also no longer be posting fully uncensored games on Steam until further notice. Adult patches will still be distributed for free to all consumers, perhaps in the form of (again, free) DLC, as this is something important to us. If Steam/Valve clarifies any of this to us, then these policies may not persist, but for now, these are unfortunately measures we will need to take.
“Regarding Cross Love, we again thank everyone who has supported the game so far. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback, and we’re glad people are enjoying the title despite the issues with distribution. However, it’s currently not financially viable for us to continue the series with a major distribution outlet like Steam closed to us. Epic Games not seem like they will be allowing AO content, and as far as we know, neither does Humble or GoG. We are considering the series to Patreon due to the episodic structure, but for the place we’re currently in and with Steam blocked off for now, we don’t have much [of] a choice for this title/series specifically. We hope you will understand, and we’re looking forward to your feedback.”
Top Hat Studios joins other publishers who have also been shunned by Valve when it comes to communicating the rules of Steam’s unannounced censorship policies that have been directly affecting visual novels.
Yume Creations was also hit hard by Valve when their game Imolicious was banned from the Steam store as well.
NekoNyan had their game banned from the Steam store as well, a visual novel called Hello, Goodbye. Their case was particularly odd given that the game that they put on Steam was the all-ages version, and they were withholding the release of the R18+ patch until after the game launched on Steam. So it wasn’t even the adult version of the game but it was still banned.
Thank you really much for your support, guys! That means a lot to us!@steam_games hasn’t responded to us as of yet.
On a happier note, we still have our two new announcements which we will reveal over the weekend to you guys, so stay tuned for that! pic.twitter.com/5cwy0SznSa
— NekoNyanSoft (@NekoNyanSoft) December 7, 2018
We’ve reached out to Valve multiple times now regarding the censorship of these games and asked for clarification, but just like the developers whose games are being banned without much clarification, Valve has opted not to respond.
(Thanks for the news tip Richard)