Final Fantasy 16 has been banned from releasing in Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday on May 3, the Saudi Arabian General Commission for Audiovisual Media Twitter account announced that Final Fantasy 16 had not been cleared to launch in the country. In short, this means the Square Enix RPG won't be releasing in the country for the foreseeable future, until both Saudi Arabia and Square Enix can come to some sort of agreement.
لمحبي لعبة #FinalFantasyXIV، نود التوضيح بأنها لم تفسح بالمملكة، وذلك بسبب عدم رغبة الناشر بإجراء التعديلات اللازمة.الهيئة العامة للإعلام #المرئي_والمسموع #تصنيف_الألعاب pic.twitter.com/5OuWZJGEvXMay 3, 2023
That tweet (translated via Google and Systrans) alleges that Square Enix was unwilling to make "necessary adjustments" or "modifications" to the game. That sentiment appears to have also been stated by the GCAM's general supervisor of video games, Hattan Tawili, who tweeted (opens in new tab) yesterday (also translated via Google and Systrans) that "one of the most important and biggest games of the year" would be banned "due to the company's complete refusal to modify the content to suit the region."
Right now though, it's not clear what changes Saudi Arabia supposedly requested of Square Enix in order to release Final Fantasy 16 in the country, and how the game would be altered as a result.
Saudi Arabia has been pretty active in recent years when it comes to banning certain media from launching. Last year, Pixar's Lightyear was banned due to a same-sex kiss, and before that, Marvel's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was prohibited from launch. It could be that Final Fantasy 16 features similar material to the two movies.
Elsewhere last year, Saudi Arabia was the first country to approve Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The attempted acquisition now faces its biggest roadblock yet from a UK government agency, who ruled against Microsoft's acquisition last month due to the possibility that it could create less competition in gaming and cloud spaces for gamers.
Check out our Final Fantasy 16 pre-order guide if you're looking to get your hands on any of the special editions of the game before launch on June 22.