Final Fantasy XVI blocked from release in Saudi Arabia

final fantasy saudi

Final Fantasy XVI won’t be available for sale in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, apparently because Square Enix won’t “make the necessary modifications.”


For most of the world, Final Fantasy XVI will finally get its launch in June – but not in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the game has been blocked from sale.

We know this because Saudi Arabia’s media authority put out a statement on its Twitter account – one handily translated by Resetera.

“For #FinalFantastXIV fans, we would like to clarify that it has not been released in the Kingdom,” the tweet reads, “due to the publisher’s unwillingness to make the necessary modifications.”

We’ve known for some time that Final Fantasy XVI is going for a darker, more sombre tone, but it isn’t remotely clear what, exactly, the kingdom’s media authority has taken exception to.

As pointed out by Kotaku, though, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) does provide an insight into some of FFXVI’s saucier moments. The game’s rated M for “Blood and gore, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language, violence.”

Meanwhile, the rating summary describes all sorts of gore and mayhem, including blood-spatter effects, throat-slitting, and assorted impalements. Meanwhile, “The game contains some sexual material,” the summary adds:

“…a character caressing and straddling a man in bed; references to prostitution—sexual moaning sounds in a brothel; dialogue such as, ‘I’d be happy to show you…provided I can afford it’ and ‘…thank you for your service. My chamber is just upstairs.’ Some characters are depicted with partially exposed breasts and buttocks.”

All of which sounds amazing, obviously. Whatever it was that had Saudi Arabia’s media authority clutching its pearls, Square Enix clearly isn’t backing down.

Final Fantasy XVI is out on 22 June 2023 for PlayStation 5.

Read more: Final Fantasy XVI | Logical evolution, or follower of action RPG trends?

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