I've been greatly looking forward to Fortune's Run, despite absolutely sucking at the demo. Scandalously, we don't appear to have covered this indie sci-fi FPS on these golden pages, so here's a quick overview: you're the high-jumping, sword-wielding, bullet-pumping lovechild of Deus Ex and DOOM, galloping through a world that recalls the Imperial bases and sewers of Dark Forces, taking down grungy pixelart sprites by means of precision parries, grabs, combos, headshots, terrain traps and much more besides. Between dust-ups, you can play basketball and leave crayon graffiti for other players care of a Dark Souls-style messaging system. It's a feast!
The game was due to launch into Steam early access tomorrow, 27th September, but unfortunately, there's been a delay. Valve's testers have denied Fortune's Run approval to launch on the platform. Among the reasons, according to developer Team Fortune themselves, is that Valve don't feel the game's content warning for sexual assault is actually necessary.
"Bad news everyone," reads a statement on the Steam page. "We have been rejected by Valve again. We are now two days from release. Valve has frivolously rejected our launch for the third time." The statement explains that Valve kicked back the build initially because testers couldn't locate one particular "huge combat level", which the developer resolved by giving them console commands. This led to a week's delay.
But Valve have also now found fault with Team Fortune's labelling of their game's subject matter. Be warned that the following two paragraphs contain a brief description of sexual assault.
"Our protagonist's journey is motivated by a past traumatic event involving sexual assault," the statement continues. "For this reason, we chose to disclose both in-game and on the store page that there was mature content, and that the player would be allowed to opt out of direct references. Direct references include, in the current EA build, a sequence where the player views one of their attackers doing the deed from the first person perspective.
"We were disappointed by how many games depict sexual assault as being gratifying and arousing, so we chose to depict it as simply disgusting and revolting. The sequence involves an emaciated, wrinkled alien creature bobbing up and down while licking the camera. This, to us, is so disgusting that it required advance warning and an option to disable the content.
"Well, according to Valve, this is not sufficiently explicit to be a reference to sexual assault. So they rejected our build again.
"Currently we are removing the content warning, which we feel is very wrong. Unfortunately, even doing this, there's a very good chance the build review will not pass before launch day."
Team Fortune consists of just two people, so setbacks like these mean a lot of extra labour. "It's been an absolutely wild amount of work to meet all the deadlines," the post concludes. "We are deeply sorry to delay again. Hope you'll still be with us once Valve decides we can finally be available on the store."
I've emailed Valve to ask for their interpretation of events, and will update this piece when I hear more. Frankly, I find the situation bizarre, though it's certainly in keeping with Valve's historically uneven policing of "adult" content on Steam. In the meantime, I encourage you to try the Fortune's Run demo, which will be taken offline when the early access build goes live.
Update 27th September 2023: Valve have yet to reply to our email inquiry, but they have now approved Fortune's Run for release after Team Fortune removed the content warning above from the game's Steam page. The warning is still shown within the game at start-up.
I'm working so I can't answer everything so I'll put the relevant info up here: all references to the SA content had to be removed from the Steam page. The warning still exists in-game on game launch. That doesn't make me happy either but I guess that's what we had to do.— ䷷ 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦'𝘴 𝘙𝘶𝘯 (@FortunesRun) September 26, 2023