There’s a month and a half to go until the release of ‘Final Fantasy XVI’ and, apart from repeating the cycle of every Final Fantasy (fans saying that the previous one was the good one and this one isn’t), this new instalment of Square’s saga is really getting people talking because it promises to be a game for adults in which we’ll find drugs, torture scenes, sex, prostitution and hate crimes. It’s like a crossover between Final Fantasy and ‘GTA‘. However, there is one country that has gone beyond “for adults”: it has erased it from existence.
Final fantasy, but final at all
According to ESRB, the US rating system, the voices saying it’s too edgy aren’t lying: there will be moaning in a hotel room, dialogue like “I’d be happy to show you… if you can afford it”, half-exposed asses and breasts, and words like “fuck” and “shit”. OK, yes, we don’t think it’s anything to shout about either, but it was enough to give it an M rating, i.e. recommending that children under 17 stay away from it. PEGI, for its part, has also rated it for 18+.
Of course, the essentials of the game are still there: orcs, magic, swords, fireballs, that sort of thing. After all, it’s still ‘Final Fantasy‘, even if there are suddenly scenes written by a fifteen year old. However, in Saudi Arabia, the company in charge of rating the game has refused to do so and, consequently, the game will not be released and will remain unreleased in the country.
The reason is that Square has steadfastly refused to censor the game and make the necessary modifications to make it look good, so the hardcore fans out there may already be preparing “alternative ways” to get it. Wink, wink. The ratings body hasn’t said exactly what it is that’s been bothering them, but rumour has it that it’s a homosexual couple. Frankly, good for Square. There’s money to be made that isn’t worth stooping for.
This is not the first game to be censored in Saudi Arabia, which has a long tradition of banning experiences for the most bizarre reasons. For example, ‘The last of us II’ had a homosexual couple, ‘Dead rising 2’ had gambling and nudity, ‘God of war’ had religious and sexual content and ‘Spec Ops: The Line’ had a fictional representation of Dubai. There are many others, including ‘Roblox‘ or ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’, and ‘Final Fantasy XVI’ is just one more on the list.
Not least because Saudi Arabian laws apparently don’t follow censorship enforcement and games end up appearing in shops without anything happening, so fans of Japanese RPGs in the country will probably be able to get their hands on it anyway. The censorship issue is a curious one: for example, no games were banned in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021, except for one, with the idea of protecting the younger generation from a bad influence. You’re thinking of ‘Manhunt 2’ or ‘Carmageddon’, right? Well, it was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. What you have to see.