Final Fantasy XVI will be released on June 22 for PlayStation 5, but that won’t be the case in Saudi Arabia. The General Commission for Audiovisual Media for the country tweeted that the game has not been approved for release and complained that Square Enix, the company behind the game, was “unwilling to make the necessary modifications.” The General Commission for Audiovisual Media did not say what stopped the game from receiving their approval.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, a North American nonprofit that rates video games, described Final Fantasy XVI as “Mature.” It gave these reasons for its rating:
“Blood-splatter effects frequently occur when characters are slashed and killed. Cutscenes depict additional acts of violence and blood: a character’s hands severed by a sword; a guard’s throat slit by a knife; a character impaled through the chest; a prisoner’s shoulder stabbed and twisted by an interrogator’s blade. The game contains some sexual material: 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. The words ‘f**k’ and ‘sh*t’ are heard in the game.”
The nonprofit Reporters Without Borders, which describes itself as a supporter of free expression, wrote that, “Virtually all Saudi media operate under direct official control. Self-censorship is ever-present, including on social networks.”
FFXVI gave this description of itself:
“For centuries, people have flocked to her Mothercrystals to partake of their blessing—the abundant aether that fuels the magicks they rely upon in their everyday lives. As the aether begins to fade and the lifeless deadlands spread ever further, so too does the struggle for possession of the final flickers of the Mothers’ light grow ever more fierce. Yet amidst the gathering storm, there are those who believe that the legacy of the crystals has shaped mankind’s destiny for long enough.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.