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App Store reviewers rejecting games for depicting guns or violence in screenshots - report

Apple reportedly asked Team Chaos to alter the original icon for Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, left, because it depicted an NES zapper gun.

Apple may have altered its guidelines for marketing violent games in the App Store, as reviewers are reportedly rejecting some games that have guns or show human violence in their screenshots or app icons.

Multiple game developers have been forced to alter their games' App Store promotional materials to remove images of guns and violence, according to PocketGamer. Among those that ran afoul of the new criteria was Splash Damage's recently-released Tempo, which now features guns censored via pixelation in its screenshots.

Pascal Bestebroer, the developer behind pixel-art shooter Gunslugs 2 —  which initially suffered a rejection, but was later accepted without any changes —  told Kotaku that he believes Apple is worried about cleaning up areas of the App Store which are not behind an age gate.

"The idea behind it, from what I understand, is that even tho the app has a 12+ rating, they do need icons and screenshots and basically the store-page to be 4+ rated," he wrote. "So screenshots should not show anything that is below the 12+ rating.. which is a bit hard to do for most action games."

If Apple has altered its criteria, the new standards are not being applied evenly. Playdemic's Gang Nations, last updated on Wednesday, shows cartoon gang members pointing revolvers at each other, for instance.

Apple has stayed officially silent on the issue, but Jim Dalrymple of The Loop notes that the company has been "more liberal" about screenshots and images. "I don't know the specifics of individual games," Dalrymple wrote, "but overall, Apple is being more lenient of late."