Final Fantasy 16 Has Been Banned In Saudi Arabia

Final Fantasy 16 Has Been Banned In Saudi Arabia

Final Fantasy 16 is one of the many massive games launching in the next few months, but gamers in Saudi Arabia have just had some time freed up. The next instalment in the long-running series will not be launching in the country, though the exact reason for the ban remains unclear at this time.

“We would like to clarify that it has not been released in the Kingdom, due to the publisher’s unwillingness to make the necessary modifications,” a translated tweet from the Saudi Arabian authority for rating games in the country reads. There could be any number of reasons for the ban as many games, shows, and movies have been either censored or outright prohibited in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East for various reasons.


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Reasons for bans in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries include violence, sexual themes, and perhaps most notably, depictions of same-sex relationships. One of the most recent examples of something in the Middle East falling into that final category is the kiss between Ellie and Riley in episode seven of HBO’s The Last Of Us. The brief moment was removed from the Middle Eastern version of the show.

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Saudi Arabia and other countries keen to remove queer references from movies and games have also butted heads with Disney, particularly when it comes to the MCU. Eternals was not released in Saudi Arabia due to the inclusion of a gay character. Disney then refused Saudi Arabia’s demands to remove a queer reference from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Last Of Us Part 2 was also banned in the Middle East, likely because, and mild spoilers ahead for those still avoiding them, Ellie’s relationship with Dina is integral to the plot and referenced throughout.

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Considering it’s so close-minded regarding the themes and elements a game can include, and issues blanket bans on any that don’t conform, it’s a little worrying how big a stake Saudi Arabia has in the video game sphere right now. It plans on developing 30 competitive games before 2030, and last year its government bought a $1 billion stake in Embracer Group. That presumably means it has a lot of say in what its games can and can’t include.

As for Final Fantasy 16, while receiving a ban in any country will be a blow to potential sales, Square Enix refused to bend to pressure and alter the game.

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