What Happened to Domina on Steam?

Domina is a unique management sim from the indie developer DolphinBarn. You assume the role of a gladiator school owner and trainer who aspires to restore glory and honor to her family name. The developer released the game on Steam in 2017 and provided regular updates to the game until Steam delisted the game in September 2022. The game was loved by many and maintained a Very Positive rating on the platform until it was review bombed, so what happened to Domina on Steam?

The developer, Nicholas Gorissen, began having fun with the game’s patch notes early on. Patch notes in video games are usually dry and most people don’t pay attention to them, so it’s easy to see why a developer would want to inject some personality into them.

Unfortunately for the developer, critics felt he went too far and those in power at Valve/Steam shared the sentiment. If you’re here looking for a place to pick up this highly praised indie title, Nicholas made it available on GumRoad, a self-publishing digital marketplace platform.

If you’re here to find out what happened, read on, gladiator.

What happened to Domina on Steam
The training yard of your Ludus

What Happened to Domina on Steam—The Infamous Patch Notes

Below, you will find a few examples of the patch notes in question. I have highlighted in bold the fun that the developer had with his patch notes.

May 26, 2021 Patch Notes:

– balancing: prestige stamina training scaling nerfed (max stamina +/-1000 nerfed to +/-250)
– fixed: anachronistic medicus training procedures
– new: unarmed men will *sometimes fight, instead of just running around, looking for weapons
– new: charioteer’s whip now has a higher disarm chance if you whip a gladiator in battle. (Use Key: [E])

(* some men still wont fight. they’re weak. there’s no accounting for weak men. weak men lack character. strong moral fibre is hard to come by. it’s earned through hard work and sacrifice and it cannot be had via onlyfans or pornhub. no, those fuckin’ things are demonic posessions waiting to show you a succubus tiddy in the hopes you’ll waste a load on her instead of spending that energy studying how to weld or grow a potato or learning a new language or how to program a computer. listen, kids … get off them porntubes and do something with your life becuase no one is gonna give you a goddamned thing and this whole mess we call civilization is only getting harder. we need solutions and we need smart men who can work hard and implement those solutions. masturbating to egirls isn’t gonna solve the energy crisis is it? get to work.

.. or play video games and have a relax and then get to work, fresh, tomorrow. i can’t possibly know whats best for you in your individual situation.

really… don’t let strangers on the internet tell you how to live your life. if you want to be told how to live your life, read the new testament. the internet will only give you lies.)

June 24, 2021 Patch Notes:

no big deal: Tactical Multiplayer Gladiator Battles in OPEN BETA via new employee: ‘Fight Promoter’

How to join beta: Steam Client > Library > Right-click Domina > Properties > Betas > Opt-In (no password.)

Please Note: Tactical Multiplayer is still VERY EARLY in development – only basic functionality is supported at this time. The game can, and likely will, crash at any stage of multiplayer handshake and we apologize for any frustration.

Please be patient and report bugs to the forum. Supporting the developer with CASH MONEY because he lives in a socialist utopia where nothing works, is the best way to ensure timely updates – buy the first wave of DLC and the soundtrack, and we’ll do our best to keep going in to work every day, despite civilizational collapse.

no way John McAfee killed himself. highly dubious. highly fuckin’ dubious.

March 8, 2022 Patch Notes:

– fixed: ministrator might not buy wine/water even when it is available in market.
– new: ministrator is now available in regular game mode, not just endless
– fixed: charioteer stops whipping horse during 2nd race
– new: voxel model drawing resolution x 2
– OPTIMIZED: gladiator render/draw routine (FPS++)
– OPTIMIZED: particle/dust effects rendering/drawing (FPS++)

TAKE OFF THE FCKN MASKS – Next time you’re at the grocery store, try showing a woman your face. Be confident, unafraid of the LIES — you might get a girlfriend. Women like confidence. Women don’t like dudes who cover their faces in fear. What are you afraid of? Getting laid? Grow up.

BALANCING: Prestige Maximum Training Attack/Defense/Strength(HP) — Max Attack: 3-5K Max Defense: 800-1K Max HP: 5-6K

fixed: MULTIPLAYER REWARDS – 1000coin/man should work, again

March 31, 2022 Patch Notes:

– new employee: BESTIARIUS – FINALLY you can upgrade: lions, horses, and behemoth! Train strength, attack, and defense stats! BESTIARIUS also adds a “heal” option — even if you don’t have Medicus, or Medicus Emeritus, or if you’re a man who has inverted his penis into a vagina, the BESTIARIUS will automatically train animals after healing, but it won’t make you a woman.

The developer received criticism from some media outlets, content creators, and gamers. They claimed he is transphobic, sexist, and misogynistic. The usual list of insults to throw at someone who expresses sentiments counter to mainstream thought.

Fans of the game and the developer expressed a mixture of support and condemnation for the path the developer took with the patch notes. This is in stark contrast with the overwhelming condemnation from gaming media outlets. Make of that what you will.

The pages of comments on the game’s Steam message board go on for days. You can read a few of the many supportive responses to the last patch notes before the game was delisted.

User Korig commented: LMFAO I love this dev keep going King!
User The_Outsider commented: I was never interested in this game, but you guys are hilarious. I love you!
User TheBoss commented: Much respect to the Dev team for having a sense of humor. Ignore the perpetually offended sheep that worship corporate politics and cancel culture.
User Whitby2229 commented: all these soyboys in the thread, screeching about nothing.. goes to show how much they have going on in their life atm. The developers are awesome and made an absolutely amazing game.
What happened to Domina on Steam
What happened to Domina on Steam

One Last Attempt

DolphinBarn’s last attempt at satire was to change the name of the game. The patch notes have since been removed from Steam, but you can read them below:

Deadname: Domina

Please don’t mention it any more. We only mention it here to say: don’t mention it any more. It’s totally normal to change the sex of a video game and NOT CONFUSING TO ANYBODY. Please do not be a bigot. If you are confused, please simply stop being confused and remember that DOMINA doesn’t exist and never did, but DOMINUS does exist, and always has, you just didn’t know you were playing a man, who was dressed as a woman, but now that we reveal it to you, you have NO RIGHT to feel deceived, the same way the poor drunk dudes who transvestites like Keffals had sexual intercourse with, without disclosing that they were a man, have no right to feel wronged and you’re a bigot for being confused or even mentioning something like that happening, let alone having an opinion about it.

What happened to Domina on Steam. Russel Crowe says, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?"
What happened to Domina on Steam?

Nerd Night News reached out to DolphinBarn about Steam removing the game from their store. Nicholas Gorissen had this to say, “We’re mystified as to why Steam are being ambivalent about “the publisher” removing our game, when Steam is in fact “the publisher” and they banned us. As far as we’re concerned, we’re being banned for making satire out of the toxicity that’s being directed at us. Beware the humourless.”

What is Domina about?

You assume the role of Libania Ravilla, an heiress to a ludus (a gladiator training school). The Roman empire is nearing collapse and in a desperate attempt to maintain order, the Emperor decreed a year of gladiatorial games.

Your father drove the ludus into the ground before passing the school down to you and passing away. You have one year to transform your ludus from a disgraced school to the mighty ludus it once was and bring glory and honor to your family by dominating the greatest championship the Roman empire has ever seen.

To accomplish this feat, you recruit, train, and arm your gladiators before sending them to their potential death in regular battles. The gladiators are utterly disposable, and will die at the hands of slaves, gladiators, chariots, and beasts.

Such is the life of a bloodsport contestant.

What happened to Domina on Steam
Gladiators aren’t your only enemies

Final Thoughts—What Happened to Domina on Steam?

Nicholas Gorissen, the developer of Domina, expressed his opinions and sense of humor for years in the patch notes of his game. No one seemed to pay much attention until TheGamer published an article in March. Other media outlets picked up on it, controversy ensued, and months later Steam delisted the game. If you would like to pick up this unique management sim that received great praise until the controversy led to many people review bombing it, you can buy it here.

With all that said, do you think the developer was in the wrong? Do you agree with what happened to Domina on Steam? Do we need more strong men? Was this behavior genuinely worth deplatforming a game people enjoyed?

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