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Papers, Please was developed by Lucas Pope beginning in November, 2012 using the Haxe programming language and the NME framework, both open-source. As an American living in Japan, Pope dealt with immigration in his international travels and thought the experience, which he describes as "tense", could be made into a fun game. Before release, Pope had set up a name submission form for the public, where people could submit their own names to be randomly assigned to scripted characters in the game. Papers, Please was submitted to Steam Greenlight on April 11, 2013 and was greenlit on May 1.