A new trailer for the upcoming Papers, Please short film has been released. For those not aware of the property, Papers, Please was an obstructive bureaucrat simulator released in 2013.
In the game you take on the role of an immigration officer at a border checkpoint in the fictional country of Arstorzka. Arstorzka is a corrupt, draconian nation clearly based on the Communist Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, and it is your job to follow the increasingly complicated regulations and accept or decline people trying to enter the country.
While it sounds like an incredibly dull game, Papers, Please is anything but; majority of the people who come to you have their own sob stories, and you have to decide whether or not letting them through is worth the government docking your pay cheque. The game really puts you inside the mind of a low level border officer, as you are just a tiny cog in the huge government machine you represent. The game was hugely popular on the indie circuit, receiving wide acclaim critically.
Papers, Please is a rather strange property for a film, however. Much of the meaning of the game comes from its interactivity: You are the one who has to choose whether you should let this woman with the forged pass through or send her home to be killed by her government. Removing the viewer’s choice as is necessary for a film adaptation might lessen the impact.
Despite this, I am quite excited for the film. It is being made into a short film by Nikita and Liliya Ordynskiy, two Russian independent filmmakers. The shorter length is appropriate, as I don’t think that watching a guy check border passes for two and a half hours would even entertain a stamp collector.
Additionally, the nationality of the filmmakers is interesting: They come from a country that Artstorzka is a pastiche of, and so probably have personal experiences of the government oppression the game is commenting on. Lucas Pope, the game’s developer, has apparently had a big role in the film’s production too, so hopefully it will be as surprisingly entertaining as the game was.
Please watch the trailer below:
The Papers, Please short film is scheduled for release later this year.