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Final Fantasy 16 won't be released in Saudi Arabia


Square Enix's forthcoming Final Fantasy 16 will not be on sale in Saudi Arabia.

The news comes from a tweet by the country's Public Authority for Media, which gives age classifications of video games.

According to the tweet, the game will not be released "due to the publisher's unwillingness to make the necessary modifications" (translated by Google).

Final Fantasy 16 - State of Play 4KWatch on YouTube

Earlier this week, the board's general supervisor Hattan Tawili tweeted "one of the most important and biggest games of the year" is "on its way to being banned due to the company's complete refusal to modify the content to suit the region". Now we, seemingly, know which game he was referring to.

So what exactly are those "necessary modifications"?

Eurogamer has contacted Square Enix for clarification, though is yet to receive a response.

Of course, that response may lead to a spoiler. Until then, we can only speculate.

As we previously reported, Final Fantasy 16 will include more mature themes than previous games in the series. Its trailers have already received an M rating, while last year it was rated in Brazil as "not recommended for children under 16 years old".

The Brazilian rating lists the likes of nudity, prostitution, drug use, suicide, torture, and gratuitous violence as included in the game.

Yoshida has likened the game's Eikon summons to nuclear weapons of mass destruction and Mother Crystal lands as like oil-rich countries, while one trailer for the game has hinted at possible sex scenes.

A more likely reason for the ban, however, would be the inclusion of LGBT+ content. Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and members of the LGBT+ community are severely repressed.

There's precedence for this too, with The Last of Us Part 2 banned in some middle eastern countries due to its LGBT+ representation.

Many Final Fantasy fans online believe the inclusion of an LGBT+ character is a key reason for this ban, although this has not been confirmed by Square Enix.

Square Enix is certainly open to including LGBT+ themes and characters in its games. Final Fantasy 7 Remake was praised for its queer representation in the Honey Bee Inn scene, while more recently farming-sim Harvestella became the first Square Enix game to offer a non-binary gender option. The company even has a Pride mascot.

Still, if the game does have LGBT+ representation, it's certainly interesting when it's been criticised for a lack of Black characters and racial diversity.

Final Fantasy 16 will be released on PlayStation 5 on 22nd June.

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