The developers of a mobile game called Cecil’s Revenge announced on Thursday that Apple has rejected their application from the App Store due to guideline violations. The gameplay of Cecil’s Revenge is similar to that of the classic 2D game Asteroids, but instead of shooting space rocks, the player is tasked with gunning down images of hunters from a car filled with wild animals.
The game can still be downloaded for Android devices from Google Play.
According to the creators of the app, David Kotkin and Glenn Cutler, Apple rejected the app due to guidelines that forbid mobile games from targeting any specific group or individual.
“Enemies within the context of a game cannot solely target[s] a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity,” Kotkin and Cutler quoted from Apple.
The developers said they are not targeting hunters, but poachers who illegally kill wildlife. The game’s name is a reference to Cecil, the male lion that was killed in July in Zimbabwe by an American dentist, Walter Palmer. The Zimbabwean government has since condemned the kill as illegal and is calling for Palmer’s extradition so he can face charges.
“Cecil’s death empowered us to do a game where animals shoot at the poachers for a change. We have the animals shooting while flying through space for a reason. It has to do with drones and satellites. These modern technologies could track the animals and also track the poachers if they kill another Cecil,” said Cutler.
The developers argue that Apple is being overtly heavy-handed with its rejection and point to other apps that also involve stereotypes. Cutler and Kotkin also say that Apple’s policies are not universally applied.
“There are plenty of games still on the App Store that feature stereotypes of specific races like African Americans and Hispanics and real entities and cultures like gangsters, drug dealers and the mafia depicted in violent acts,” read a press release from the developers.
“I thought the game would inspire Apple to help us with our cause, instead they shot Cecil down, again,” said Kotkin.
The developers claim that proceeds from the game will go towards drones and satellites to stop illegal poaching.
Screenshot from Cecil's Revenge