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Saudi Arabia has prohibited the sale or distribution of Final Fantasy XVI

According to a recent tweet on @VGAR_SA, Saudi Arabia’s head of ratings Twitter account, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XVI won’t be released in Saudi Arabia and will be banned.

Per the tweet, Saudi Arabia has requested that Square Enix make a change to the game, to which Square Enix has refused to do so. As such, at least for now, Final Fantasy XVI  won’t debut in the country.  As for what the offending material is, one of the main characters in the game is openly gay. Saudi Arabia wants this changed as the country has considered same-sex activity between men and women a crime and does not allow/welcome this in any media, which includes video games.  Due to Square Enix’s “unwillingness to make the necessary modifications,” the game is banned for the foreseeable future.

I applaud Square Enix for standing its ground and refusing to reverse/change the game to satisfy Saudi Arabia’s request. This also corroborates the rumors/leaks that the game does contain an LGBTQ character. As for who it is, I won’t say, though I’m sure a simple Google search will tell you who it is.

As for Saudi Arabia’s attempts, while the game won’t be sold in the country, that won’t stop gamers from importing and playing the game. If anything, this is just going to spare Square Enix from doing extra work and denying the country of sales.

Final Fantasy XVI will be a departure from the mainline series, an action RPG, and a natural evolution from Final Fantasy XV. The decision to do so has still puzzled some series fans, though I welcome the change. According to those who have played the game, the combat is similar to Devil May Cry, which makes sense as Ryota Suzuki served as the game designer for Devil May Cry 5, and is the combat direction for FFXVI.

I still haven’t forgiven or forgotten Naoki Yoshida’s comments regarding the lack of diversity in the upcoming Final Fantasy 16. Blaming Final Fantasy 16’s Medieval setting and the game being “rooted in reality” is a cop-out. Sure, Yoshi-P. It’s a game where people can use magic and other fantasy elements, but it’s somehow rooted in reality. Sure.

Final Fantasy XVI releases exclusively for the PlayStation 5 on June 22, 2023.