Millions of PS4 and PS4 Pro owners across the world are looking forward to the release of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II. However, it appears that the game might not be available in the Middle East.
Many games that are popular in the West have made their way to the Middle East in recent times after making select changes to be approved by the rating board. One of the highest ratings is Mature 18+, which allows the depiction of scenes charged with a lot of violence, including detailed injuries, torture acts, and similar acts. Depiction of drug use is also allowed at this level.
Many Middle East countries and governemnts remain conservative, and this means that the material which contains depictions of nudity or LGBT content is a reason to refuse classification, effectively banning the product.
Several publishers have started to pay more attention to the Middle East gaming market, which is growing at a fast pace in recent years. An official release will also allow the publisher to release a localized version of the game, which is available in the local language and can be enjoyed by a larger number of people.
Censoring sensitive content
To go around such restrictions, some developers and publishers will opt to censure certain scenes or sections of the game, making it eligible for rating. For example, Ubisoft has censored nudity in the latest Assassin’s Creed entry and the received approval for the release of a version of the game, which is localized in Arabic.
CD Projekt Red made the same choice to ensure the release of a localized version of The Witcher3: Wild Hunt.
However, in the case of TLOU: Part II, it would be impossible to censor the LGBT content as it is an integral part of the game. As the game is not available for pre-order in most Middle East countries, it is already thought that an official release or localized version will not be offered.