Papers, Please Out Today For PS Vita

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Papers, Please Out Today For PS Vita

Three years to cross the border.

A Long Time

First item, top of the page. This version of Papers, Please was announced over three years ago. That’s a long time brewing for a relatively simple pixel-art game. There’s a few ingredients in the mix for this delay but the main fault lies with me.

I had a great bunch of people to help with this project — all the port programming was handled by James Gray and others, engine support from WayForward, testing by Ratloop Asia, and submission assistance from Coatsink.

My responsibility was gluing it all together and in the long tradition of “one simple job”, the best I could manage was the slow-setting kind of glue that takes forever to dry. Working as a single developer has its advantages but managing multiple projects is not one of them. Unfortunately it was Papers, Please on PS Vita that suffered the most and I apologize for that.

The Game

Ok, the game is available today so let’s turn this around and segue into what we’ve got here: Papers, Please on PS Vita. The most portable version yet, document inspection and stamping in the supple palms of your capable hands.

Content-wise, this version has all the features of the desktop and tablet versions. All 31 days of singleplayer story mode with branching narratives, 20 endings, “endless” mode with online leaderboards, and stamping so much stamping.

Papers, Please for PS Vita

The Squeeze

Even though it’s a low-resolution pixel-art game, Papers, Please was originally designed to be played on a big screen. When I wrote it back in 2013 I’d just come off a mobile-only project and wanted to rebel against the low-density large-touch-target design necessary for mobile. So the game packs a lot of small stuff into a big space. There’s three separate sections of the screen that need to be visible at all times: booth, desk, and checkpoint.

The big challenge in making it work well on PS Vita was fitting everything onto the smaller screen without sacrificing the core document shuffling mechanics. Luckily Vita has a great touchscreen and, critically, nearby physical controls. For this version we increased the desk size slightly, floated the booth over the border view only when needed, and added vertical scrolling to shift between the booth+checkpoint and the desk. The analog sticks and directional buttons can be used to quickly scroll up/down and after a small adjustment it feels completely natural to use your left thumb for scrolling and your right fingers for touching (or vice versa, no preference, left=right, all love.)

The Tech

Papers, Please was developed in a programming environment called Haxe/OpenFL. Haxe is the language and OpenFL the engine that enables Flash-like applications to run natively on desktops (PC/Mac/Linux) or mobile devices. When taking a game from desktop to console, it’s not uncommon to just rewrite everything with a more console-friendly engine. I had a few offers for that sort of thing early on but as a hopeless engineer it felt like a waste to ignore Haxe/OpenFL’s inherent multi-platform capabilities.

A few years ago there was no way to build Haxe/OpenFL projects for consoles but with a little time, money, the hard work of James Gray, Lars Doucet from Fortress of Doors, OpenFL’s Joshua Granick, Nilsen Filc, and the generous contribution of WayForward’s engine tech, we were able to create a console target for Haxe/OpenFL. One of our goals with all that extra work is to hopefully benefit other games in a similar situation.

The Destination, Finally

This version was a long time coming and I appreciate your patience. Thank you to all the fans of the game that have encouraged me over the years and I hope you enjoy playing it on PS Vita too.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Comments are closed.


4 Author Replies

  • Thank you! It’s so nice to see support still for the Vita, the best little portable console out there.

  • Is this PSTV compatible? This is awesome news :-)

  • Nice to see this on the Vita (Perfect for looking up guides while playing). Had fun with family playing this a few years ago.

  • LOVE IT!!! VITA LIVES with this support from passionate developer. Paper Please its a wonderful game and I am grateful to revisited on PS Vita, a platform that for me, completes the PS family repertoire

  • Thanks everyone!
    @levantine21: Gameplay uses the touchscreen primarily, so no PSTV support unfortunately.

  • I really want to send out a monstrous “THANK YOU!” to Lucas Pope, as well as Sony for making this happen!

    Too many ever-promissed-but-never-coming games fizzled out for the Vita (Hyper Light Drifter, Banner Saga, Bioshock, etc.)
    I’m going Day One on this one to show my continued support for the handheld.

    I look forward to playing this!


  • Is a PS4 port ever planned? I have been waiting to play this game for too long! :)

  • OMG what a wonderful surprise !
    Thanks for support the best handheld ever made

  • I’m still not seeing this is the PS store. What gives?

  • Such a great surprise! Christmas has come early!!! I’ve been so pumped for Papers Please on the Vita since it was announced. I’m glad it’s finally here and it’s a reality!!!! Thank you for supporting the Vita!

  • YES! I thought the project was dead for so long, and now it’s out. I feel…. accomplished.

  • GIANT thanks for this, you’re GREAT! love your game to death, and will gladly re-experince it on the go.

  • Glory to Arstotzka! I really enjoyed this back in 2013, thanks for bringing it to Vita and supporting a great platform! I’m looking forward to playing it again.

  • thanks you

  • Cool, this is a nice surprise! I know very little about this game; I’ve just heard many times that it’s a great game that everyone should experience.

    So Lucas Pope, I’ll be picking up your game 1) to see what all the fuss is about ; ) (I’m sure it won’t disappoint) and 2) to support you for supporting the vita. Thanks!

  • Yes! I just KNEW one day I would be playing Papers Please on my Vita. It seemed like such a great fit. Though as time wore on I had my doubts – but you pulled it off. Thank you!

  • Great! I will play It as soon as i can.
    Thanks for port this Game and i hope tha PS vita be your main home for your games.

  • Glory to Arstotzka!

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