Valve Reneges On Not Being The Taste Police, Bans Hello Goodbye VN From Steam

Hello Goodbye

Another visual novel has been banned from the Steam store ahead of its supposed release this year. Lump of Sugar and NekoNyan’s Hello, Goodbye has been banned from Steam. Unlike other games that have been banned recently, such as Maomao Discovery or Imolicious, the visual novel Hello, Goodbye was supposed to be released as an all-ages game with an adult patch offered at a later date, sort of like the old days before Valve implemented the new adult filters.

Nevertheless, just ahead of its release the game was pulled from the Steam store. If you check the Steam Database, you’ll note that the app was updated on December 5th, 2018 and that it’s no longer accessible on the Steam store.

The all-ages version of the visual novel is story-oriented around a young military officer named Kaito who has to infiltrate the Trenshudo Academy located in the Special District of Morino. He’s supposed to gather intel and report back to his superiors, however, he ends up messing up and revealing his identity to one of the girls there, jeopardizing his mission. It’s a casual visual novel with some light romance elements and geopolitical subplots brewing underneath. You can check out the launch trailer below.

The old web store cache also reveals that Hello, Goodbye maintains a clean store page with no lewd content or adult material present. It offers up to 30 hours of content with multiple branching storylines, and multiple endings to match.

So far NekoNyan has yet to make an announcement or issue a statement online as to why the game was removed from the Steam store.

Some users on the forum discussion were asking about the game’s uncensored status, and the developer revealed that the current version did not contain 18+ content, but there would be an uncensored patch made available as DLC.

So the game was not removed for being uncensored, since the version that was submitted to Steam was censored. An uncensored patch was planned for release, though.

However, it doesn’t appear as if any of that will go according to plan since the game has been banned from Steam. This also seems to go against Valve’s stated claim that they would not be the “taste police”.

Originally, on June 6th, 2018 Valve wrote…

“[…] we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling. Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see.”

So what does Valve consider “illegal”? Because according to their current behavior, they have not been keeping to a consistent standard at all. The reasons for the bans are oftentimes vague or in some cases go directly against Valve’s policy on supposedly allowing anything that wasn’t “illegal” or “straight-up trolling”.

On September 5th, 2018 Valve clarified their stance on what games constituted as “straight-up trolling” but failed to clarify what was considered “illegal”.

For instance, The Key to Home was banned for a second time for allegedly containing sexually suggestive material featuring minors, even though the version that was submitted to Steam was rated ‘T’ for Teen. There’s also been games like Imolicious, which was banned because they said it exploited children. Another game was also recently banned for the “exploitation of minors” called Cross Love – Episode 1, which was about college students engaged in a tryst with a crossdresser.

Now in majority of these cases (although it hasn’t been confirmed with Cross Love) only two of Valve’s employees have been banning the games from Steam, Jason Ruymen and Arisa Sudangnoi.

Gamers have been trying to get a clear answer on why Valve is censoring and banning games from the platform even after they said that they would no longer do so. I did reach out to Valve’s Doug Lombardi and Jason Ruymen a couple of times since the new bans have taken place but so far they haven’t responded to the inquiries.

There hasn’t been any updates from NekoNyan yet regarding any possible availability of Hello, Goodbye outside of Steam.

[Update:] Following the publication of this article, NekoNyan did update the community that they were reaching out to Valve for clarification on why the game was banned.

(Thanks for the news tip Richard)