If you’re a fan of good video games, or a person with a beating heart, you probably enjoyed Naughty Dog’s feverishly popular 2013 zombie survival title The Last of Us. As the highest grossing PS3 game of all time, its sequel, aptly titled The Last of Us Part II, ranks as one of the most hotly-anticipated releases of recent memory, and soon enough, everyone in the world will be able to enjoy it. That is, as long as you don’t live in the Middle East.
Interestingly, news that some Middle Eastern countries had banned the upcoming game did not make it to the west via direct reporting to media organizations, but rather, through Reddit. When one user from the United Arab Emirates contacted PlayStation Support to ask them why he was unable to pre-order The Last of Us Part II through his PlayStation Store account, Sony allegedly responded:
“If any game did not exist in any Store region it mea[ns] that the game is banned by the competent authorities of the country and we can not do anything regarding that.”
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Apparently, if you search for The Last of Us Part II on the PlayStation Store of a device registered in either the UAE or any of the Middle Eastern North African countries, you’ll only find copies of the original game along with its remaster, but not the sequel, and that’s despite the fact that Sony has promoted the title on several social media accounts it uses for these regions.
Although no exact reason for the ban has been given as of yet, GameRant, along with several other publications, suggest it has something to do with the Sharia law, a set of codified legal practices dictated by the faith of Islam which set out standards for what the media can show and what it cannot. It’s not uncommon for films, TV series and video games to receive some minor forms of censorship based on this law before releasing in Middle Eastern countries. However, with only a few more months to go before The Last of Us Part II hits stores, it’s unlikely Naughty Dog would be able to make changes to their product before it’s time to ship out copies.