Welcome to Arstotzka: Short Film Edition

Ever since a few photos were leaked on social media, I have known about the Papers, Please short film. Ever since then, I have been excited for this film. It wasn't until recently that a full on trailer released for this eleven minute film, and I cannot wait to see what is to come of this film.

I have talked about video game films on multiple occasions now. The one correlation between all of it is that video game films are garbage. Financially, some do fine but critically, they are low for both the movie and the video game community. Short films hold a different kind of light. They generally don't make the spotlight because they aren't full-on releases seen by the masses in a large theater with overpriced popcorn. Despite that, I have had more good to say about video game short films than I do about feature length films. It was only in late June when I talked about a trailer for the game Everything being eligible for an academy award. Well, I have come back to talk about another short film that I believe could lead to greatness, and that is the adaptation of the game Papers, Please.

For those who don't know, Papers, Please is a game where you play as an immigrant inspector whose job is to check people's passports and see if they are valid to enter the country in a dystopian communist society. Now this may sound incredibly boring, but don't let the premise hinder you from this game. The game tells many stories from many unique characters about the world you are in and the struggles both you and the person have to go through to stay alive in this tyrannical world. On top of the great story is a surprisingly fun, as for the items needed to get into the country become more complicated and people find smarter ways of forging papers, even down to a single letter mistake.

The only other environment piece shown in the trailer besides the checkpoint building.

The only other environment piece shown in the trailer besides the checkpoint building.

When it comes to film, I have high hopes for it for multiple reasons. The biggest reason by far is that you don't have to know the game to somewhat enjoy the film. To a person who doesn't know what Papers, Please is, this film could just be a drama film about what the law says is right versus what you say is right. They don't even need to know about the characters in the game, only that they are important to the main character. The second line in the trailer has the person behind the glass saying "I'm from Sergiu. He said you could help me." And right when she said "Sergiu," the main character paused. I honestly can't tell you if Sergiu is a character in the game or not because it has been so long since I played the game, but from that scene I know that their are people who are important to the main character and that these moments test his will. I believe that someone can still find enjoyment in this world and in these character, even if they don't know the game. If it was my film, I would put some text in the beginning saying what this world is and who you are without going into too much detail, just like the game did. After people know what kind of world this is, I believe the film could be enjoyable.

But let's face it: fans of the game will find more enjoyment out of the film because they know what everything is and is something they love being put to another use. As a fan myself, I have to say that I love the set piece of the film. It is perfect in almost every way. The room in which you are in looks excellent, and the one other shot not in the building of the guy walking outside also looked great. It's a small thing to talk about, but I believe that pouring so much effort into the environment would also mean pouring a lot of time into making this as accurate to the game as can be. Finally, the creator of the game Lucas Pope is working on the project. Again, more things that show that this will be an authentic experience from start to end.

Papers, Please the film is something I am looking forward to, but I just don't know when it will come out. I believe that this is a film worth watching whether or not you have played the game, because I think it will be enjoyable for both. Now only two questions remain: when will it come out and how will the film end?

Here is the final trailer for the film: