The Crush Crush Nightmare Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and two pandas were settling in for a nice pot pie.
“What a good year we’ve had!” exclaimed Artist Panda as she let out a sigh.
Indeed, it had been a busy year and this was their chance to finally take a break.
Launching new content and many events, looking back, all of that was no piece of cake.
“Well at least the Android launch went smoothly!” Programmer Panda said.
In that moment he checked his phone and felt a sense of dread.
He jumped on the table and let out a loud cry:
“Google took down our app! Why… WHY!??”
“No! It can’t be!” shouted Artist Panda in a mad dash.
She grabbed the phone so fast it gave her whiplash.
“For having tight-fitted clothes?” she whispered and then froze.
“But there’s nothing in the app we overexpose?”
Yet Google had spoken. The app was taken down.
“They must hate waifus” Artist Panda said with a frown 😦

Soooooo – hey! This post is written by Artist Panda. And it’s the tale of how Google took down our game, Crush Crush, on Christmas Eve. Yes, it really did happen just as we were sitting down to enjoy a nice meal with friends and family. I’ll rewind the story a bit first, so you have all the facts.

Imagine a happy Christmas scene like this… before disaster strikes!!

Crush Crush’s mobile version had been in development for a few years, and was a side-project Programmer Panda and I hacked on in our free time. It was a big undertaking for us because many things had to be built from the ground up. Mostly because I wanted the mobile version to be portrait-mode. The version on Steam, Nutaku, and Kongregate all shared the same code base and most of the UI was hooked up the same way – for landscape mode. There were lots of other things that took a lot of work; I re-exported every single piece of UI and artwork to work on the mobile sizes, and have things like full-body characters and taller pinups. So the mobile version was full of our blood, sweat, and tears and it finally soft-launched October 1st in Canada and New Zealand, and then the rest of the world October 29th. Since then, it has slowly but steadily been growing in installs and has held a high rating (above 4 stars) which is really exciting to us pandas! We didn’t know what to expect, but the response from fans and new people discovering the app was really awesome. It has inspired us to work harder on it and get more of the PC features ported over to the mobile app. We’re also working towards getting it on iOS, so there’s still lots to do but the future was looking bright.

We’re so proud :”)

Now… with those art changes that I mentioned earlier, a few other things had to be fixed up in order to abide by Google’s ‘Play Store’ guidelines. In other words, we had to censor a bit of the art and writing to make sure it was squeaky clean for mobile. This pained me to do so, but I respect that it’s their platform and they might not be as chill as Steam is with anime cleavage. I’m a bit desensitized to it all because I watch so much anime, and cleavage + adult humor just seems to be the norm in every show. Even so, I did my best to scrub through all the art and make it suitable for all audiences. It took a great effort and amount of time to do this, so you can imagine my surprise when we checked the email from Google and saw a screenshot of Quill circled for having “too tight-fitting clothes” : ( Here is the email we got and the image they attached:

An itty bitty cleavage line can be seen :”(

My heart sank so far down after reading that, I was mortified. Everyone at the dinner table was sorry about the news, but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying to me. I was miles away thinking about all the work we put into the app, all the amazing people who downloaded it and gave it a good rating, and all the disappointment they were going to get when they found out the app was taken off the Play Store. Oh – just to clarify, when an app gets taken down, if you already have it installed then it stays in your phone. It just means you can’t update it and if you delete it then it won’t be in the store anymore for you to recover.

So I was bummed. Not only was it a kick in the pants to have our app taken down, but there was no warning or anything to have given us a chance to fix it, and it was Christmas Eve 😛 I messaged OjiPanda and he was flabbergasted. We all were.

After sipping back a wine glass or four, I took to Twitter. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea, but I wanted to put the news out there in case the app being removed caused some weird glitches in people’s games. I don’t know how it works… Anyway, people were really fast to send words of support and some even shared photos of the app still showing up in the Play store. It was very heart-warming to see so many messages from fans on Twitter ❤ I would have had a pretty depressing night if it weren’t for their kind words.

Everyone is so nice :”)

Programmer Panda was quick to take down the screenshots from the Play Store page that had girls in ‘tight fitting clothing’ and resubmit it for another review. And within a few hours, we were all surprised yet again when the game was suddenly restored without notification.

All in all, the game was down for a total of around 4 hours. And we’re not 100% sure what went on behind the scenes at the Play Store – the game had gone through multiple rounds of reviews and approvals by this point, so we can only guess as to why at this particular time Quill’s wardrobe was problematic. Perhaps there was a poor soul working Christmas Eve that just needed to express themselves via banhammer. Or maybe their ancestors had been attacked by cat girl waifus. Again, we can only speculate. Either way, it was a bummer after having worked so hard to conform to Google’s guidelines, and we sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again.

Anyway I guess the lesson I learned is that my standard for ‘squeaky clean’ might not be the same as what mobile platforms are expecting, so there might be some art updates in the future. I really hope we don’t get negative reviews for that, because some players don’t understand that it’s out of our control… I want to see the app stick around and grow, adding more cool features and things people are looking forward to. If a few skirts need to be lengthened, then I guess that’s what I’ll have to do.

If you want to help support the app, consider downloading it and giving it a 5 star rating 🙂 It means a lot to us that so many people have downloaded it! We have tons of cool things in the works, and as long as the app doesn’t get taken down (again, lol) we will do our best to keep making it awesome. Thanks so much ❤

~Artist Panda

One thought on “The Crush Crush Nightmare Before Christmas

  1. Gustavo

    This is clearly a case of a small developer being bullied. There are plenty of other games with content way more risqué than yours. Don’t give up and keep up the great work.

    Like

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