The iPhone maker had previously said that Liyla and the Shadows of War could not be categorised as a game because of its political nature. Conversely, Apple has allowed Israeli Heroes – an Angry Birds-alike featuring cartoon missiles – to be categorised as a game since October 2013.
Following an online outcry, the company has relaxed its stance on Liyla. “Just happening: Apple reconsider its decision, they will publish Liyla as a Game. Thanks to all of you,” the game’s developer, Rasheed Abueidah, tweeted.
WIRED contacted Apple but had not received a response at the time of publication.
While heavily stylised – the game takes place at night, in shadows, as players avoid drones and missiles while attempting to guide a family to safety – Abueidah says Liyla is inspired by true events.
“I’m a father of two kids, I can’t imagine my life without them, but in Palestine nobody is safe,” Abueidah says. “When the war started in Gaza and I saw the images of the killed kids in their parents hands I was shocked, I had a weird feeling, it’s a combination of sadness, fear, empathy and anger, All what I was thinking of is ‘what if this happened to me’.”
“I have chosen to share those feelings in a game to deliver a message of how we are living as Palestinians under this situation,” he adds. “It’s Not Just a Game, It’s a case and call for help.”
The game can once again be found in iTunes’ games section, and is available for iPhone or iPad for free.
Date uploaded: May 24, 2016