Apple has refused to include Auroch Digital's Endgame: Syria on the Apple App Store and has removed Sweatshop HD – a collaboration between U.K. studio Littleloud and Channel 4, according to this Polygon report. Both games, it seems are a little too controversial for Apple. Auroch Digital's Endgame: Syria recently suffered its third rejection from Apple because it mentions specific groups and uses the word "Syria," according to what the developer told Polygon.
"We've come to the end of three rejections and one appeal and the only way we've been able to get Endgame: Syria out on iOS was to remove all references to the real world and, sadly, that changes it from a 'newsgame' into just a 'game'," Developer Tomas Rawlings said in a statement.
"We've released this game version so at least players with Apple devices can get a feel for what we originally intended for the platform," the developer added. "We are of course disappointed to not be able to release the game and hope that our experience informs a wider debate about how games have matured into a form that would benefit from a reappraisal by some."
The game is described as a "newsgame" that focuses on the brutal ongoing conflict between the Syrian government and rebel forces.
Meanwhile Littlecloud's game about managing a sweatshop is a little too much for Apple. The iOS game is based on a web game released in 2011 (see our story about it here) where players are charged with managing off-shore clothing factories. Playing as the middle manager, players deal with issues child labor, unfair work hours and poor work conditions.
Littleloud's head of games, Simon Parkin, told Polygon that the game was removed from the App Store last month because Apple was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop." Parkin said that "they specifically cited references in the game to clothing factory managers blocking fire escapes, increasing work hours for labor and issues around the child labor as being reasons why the game was unsuitable for sale."
He added that was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."
Littleloud altered the app to note that it was a "work of fiction" and that it was created with fact-checking input of charity Labor Behind the Label. The developers also added that the game doesn't force players to play the game in any particular way. Still these changes were not enough to appease Apple.