Today Papers, Please made its debut on iPad, but the game was missing a key aspect: all nudity had been removed after Apple considered it to be pornographic. However, according to the game's developer, it turns out it was a mistake and not censorship.
"Just talked to Apple," creator Lucas Pope tweeted today. "The initial rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. They suggested I resubmit with the nudity option." Papers, Please puts you in the role of an immigration officer, and the offending bits involved scanning potential immigrants with an x-ray, which allowed you to see them in the nude. That feature was present in the original PC version from last year, but when Pope submitted the game to Apple it was rejected for containing "pornographic content." A revised version, featuring characters in their underwear instead, was released today.
Just talked to Apple. The initial rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. They suggested I resubmit with the nudity option.— Lucas Pope (@dukope) December 12, 2014
Apple has come under fire for censoring games before, which it considers different from books, movies, or music, areas where it doesn't have the same restrictions. "It can get complicated," the company says in its review guidelines, "but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store."
While Pope was disappointed with the initial decision, he decided to release the edited game anyways so as not to delay its App Store debut. The plan was to resubmit later and hopefully get the nudity option reinstated. "Obviously I prefer if the game content is unchanged from the desktop version," he says, "but I made a game about experiencing contentious issues from multiple sides so I'm pre-inclined to see Apple's side in this too."
The updated version is expected to be available next week.