The game may be banned, but players should still be able to purchase the game through other methods.
It seems as if Naughty Dog’s upcoming The Last of Us Part 2 may not be released in multiple Middle Eastern countries after a response from PlayStation Support to a user mentions that any games not showing on a regional store means that the game has been banned.
The Last of Us Part 2 is set to launch on June 19 and while it’s available to see on the PlayStation Store for a lot of people, that’s not the case for those in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As you can see from the links, the official store does still allow players to purchase avatars and the official theme, but the game itself is not shown.
A Reddit user (Thanks, VG247) reached out to Sony to ask why the game wasn’t available to pre-order to which they received a response saying, “If any game does not exist in any Store region it means that the game is banned by the competent authorities of the country and we can not do anything regarding that.” (Edited slightly for readability)
There has been no confirmation as to why the game is banned, but there’s a lot of speculation that it’s regarding the ESRB rating which detailed that the game would feature nudity, sexual content, and LGBT themes.
In Saudi Arabia, games banned for featuring sex and nudity involve; God of War franchise, Heavy Rain, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Red Dead Redemption 2, and more. The United Arab Emirates has a similar list of games, but the Wikipedia page uses “Likely” a lot so it appears as if it’s not entirely open about why a game has been banned.
VG247 does point out that players in these countries should still have no issue with buying the game from other PlayStation Stores due to pre-paid PS Store cards for other countries being available for purchase online. It also mentions third-party stores in these countries who would no doubt import the game on release.
For now, the game is still set to launch on June 19 for PS4 and will require at least 100GB of free space. Tomorrow we’ll see a State of Play video that should breakdown some more gameplay that fans are eager to see.