Endgame: Syria is a game meant to explore and address the current armed conflict happening in that part of the world. Watching an interview with the designer should explain why this was made and the video shows a little about how the game works.
The reasons for the rejection according the the press release are that Apple forbids games that quote, "solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity". The release believes that since the game, "explores a real news event and aims to show users the range of factions and peoples involved in the situation", it fell under these forbidden guidelines and was thus rejected.
The designer Tomas Rowlings responds. "This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world. 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. I get that Apple want to make sure really offensive titles don't pass into their store, but ours is far from that. In fact the response to the game has been broadly positive with much of the mainstream media picking up on the story. We'll be making changes to the game and re-submitting it but it does mean we'll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple's submission process and that is not ideal."
Now obviously this breaches the subject of the purpose of games, but as it was stated in the video above, comics have been used to touch on some very pertinent and serious issues, and there are still people who believe the artform is merely entertainment for children and adolescents. As uncomfortable as it may be, games like this help us to understand and explore a situation that we might not be too familiar with, and possibly reach an opinion on how such a serious issue may be able to be resolved.
Hopefully the changes made to the game can allow the title to be released on the App Store without watering down its content. For those interested the game is available on Google Play, and since the game is HTML5, can be played on iPhone and iPad. Both can be found on the game site, which can be accessed here.
We'll let you know if it becomes officially available.