A hot potato: Life is Strange: True Colors, the latest entry in the long-running series, is getting review-bombed on Steam. The hate isn't being directed at the gameplay, story, or other elements but stems from the inclusion of a seemingly innocuous flag.
Life is Strange: True Colors has earned a Very Positive rating from its 1,937 reviews so far, thanks to 87% of them praising the game. Looking at the negative reviews shows that the majority are written in simplified Chinese.
The reason behind the Chinese users' anger is the inclusion of a symbol banned in their country. On the main street of the game's Haven Springs setting is a shop called Treasures of Tibet, which displays a Tibetan flag prominently outside the store.
For those who don't know, Beijing considers Tibet to be a breakaway province and claims it is part of China. As such, China has banned the Tibetan flag for being a symbol of independence. It's a political minefield for many westerners; Fast and Furious star John Cena recently apologized for calling Tibet a country.
"Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet have been Chinese territories since ancient times. No matter how the obsolete think, they will eventually return to the mainland.I suggest that NEETs read more books, stop being stupid, and find a job to support themselves.Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet is part of China forever," writes one Steam user.
This isn't the first time Chinese Steam users have reviewed-bombed a game for political reasons. Horror title Devotion was singled out for referencing a meme that compared president Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh—something that got the lovable bear banned by Chinese censors in 2017.
Other examples of previous review-bombing include Total War: Rome 2 for increasing the frequency at which female generals appear, the Metro games for Exodus' first-year exclusivity deal, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider going on sale too soon after launch.