Saudi Arabia’s ratings board has announced that Final Fantasy XVI, the huge upcoming PS5 exclusive series entry, will not be releasing in the country after it a decision was made to bar the game from sale.
A statement shared to social channels from the General Authority for Audiovisual Media in Saudi Arabia reads (translated by Twitter/Google), “For fans of the Final Fantasy XVI game, 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.”
The Authority’s General Supervisor of Video Games, Hattan Tawili, had also pre-empted this statement in a slightly more vague tweet, saying that “one of the most important and biggest games of the year” was “on its way to being banned” due to the publishing company’s refusal to modify the game’s content to suit the region.
It’s been widely speculated, and in some cases detailed in full-on leaks that have proven accurate as the game’s marketing has rolled out, that at least one of Final Fantasy XVI’s main cast is queer and that the game potentially features an intimate gay scene – something that Square Enix reportedly refused to change or censor to appease ratings boards in regions where depictions of LGBTQIA+ relationships are a no-go.
For those of us residing in places where the game is set to launch as planned, Final Fantasy XVI is just around the corner on June 22nd, exclusively for PS5.
Just prior to that, there will also be a Final Fantasy XVI Pre-Launch Celebration happening in LA and streamed online at the below local times:
FINAL FANTASY XVI CELEBRATION AUSTRALIAN TIMES – MONDAY, JUNE 12TH
8.00 AM AEST (Melbourne/Sydney/Hobart/Canberra/Brisbane)
7.30 AM ACST (Adelaide, Darwin)
6.00 AM AWST (Perth)
10.00 AM NZDT (Wellington)
We got the chance to go hands-on with a few hours of Final Fantasy XVI earlier in the year and said, “Regardless of the session having a more narrowed focus on combat and Eikonic battles, the two-and-a-bit hours I spent immersing myself in Final Fantasy XVI has painted a reassuringly positive picture. It’s been in good enough hands this whole time that I’ve always felt rather confident in the game to really bring the single-player Final Fantasy experience back into good stead, but knowing what I now know and playing what I played I’m almost certain that this will be the Final Fantasy to truly wow the world once again.”