Hit Dystopian Game 'Papers, Please' Lands on iPad Amid Publicity Over Censorship by Apple
The popular PC "dystopian document thriller" Papers, Please launched on the iPad early this morning, after hitting Mac earlier this year and originally being released on Steam in August of 2013. As noted by our sister site TouchArcade, however, the new iOS version is bringing a bit of controversy with it as one of the game's somewhat adult elements has been removed after facing Apple's family-focused App Store censorship rules.
The game sets players as unlucky border control guards working for the fictional nation of Arstotzka. The entire game revolves around checking the documents of people attempting to immigrate into the country, cross-checking passports, ID cards, and work releases to ensure only those with proper documentation get past.
The focus of Apple's censorship lies in the full-body scanner introduced a few levels into the game that tasks the player with ensuring the person attempting to enter Arstotzka isn't carrying any kind of contraband. The PC, Mac, and Linux versions of the game depicted fully nude (albeit in low resolution given the nature of the game's graphics) versions of characters when put through this scanner, with an option to censor the nudity by including underwear on the characters.
Papers, Please for iPad, however, removes the choice from the equation, automatically covering the characters in underwear when scanned by the player. App Store rules have always skewed toward the more conservative, especially when compared to other content available uncensored through the iTunes Store, but even so, the App Store's rules are on occasion applied unevenly with some games from high-profile developers being approved without censored graphics.
Regardless of the minor censorship issue, the iPad version of Papers, Please appears to be an excellent port of the original game, including all 31 days and 20 possible endings of its desktop counterpart, with optimized touch screen controls enhanced for iPad. It also includes "unlockable multitouch support for faster paperwork, an enhanced inspection mode, Game Center achievements, leaderboards, mid-day resume, and more."
Update 11:50 AM: Papers, Please developer Lucas Pope says that he was contacted by an Apple representative who reported that the initial rejection was the result of a misunderstanding and invited Pope to resubmit with the nudity option enabled. Pope says he will restore the option (defaulted to no nudity) this weekend and resubmit to Apple.