|Apple has blocked a game about the Syrian civil war from appearing at the App Store, developer Auroch Digital says. Called Endgame: Syria, the title is meant to raise awareness about the ongoing conflict, and is already playable on Android and the company's website. In its rejection, Apple cites a guideline banning apps that "solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity."
"This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world," reads a statement from Auroch's Tomas Rawlings. "We had hoped that Apple would be more nuanced in how they applied this rule but we got a bit worried when it had been in submission for around two weeks without a decision — we then figured that because of the controversy of using the gaming medium to cover an ongoing war meant passing the game had become an issue for them.
"Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this do make it a lot harder for us," he continues. "I get that Apple want to make sure really offensive titles don't pass into their store, but ours is far from that." Auroch is making changes to the game for the sake of resubmission, but Rawlings notes that in the process, some of the game's meaning and context will be removed.
Apple has been criticized for taking a heavy hand with politics in the past. The company once briefly blocked an app by a political cartoonist, for instance, and in another incident was forced to reverse course on a wallpaper app featuring Shepard Fairey's famous "Hope" poster for Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign.