Naughty Dog’s upcoming and highly controversial continuation of Ellie and Joel’s story is set to see another setback to its release, as Sony has seemingly confirmed that The Last of Us II has been banned in The Middle East.
The confirmation first appeared on the subreddit /r/DubaiGaming, when user /u/ghostechful shared a screenshot of an e-mail he had received from PlayStation Support.
After being unable to find the game on the PlayStation Store, /u/ghostechful reached out to support staff to ask “why last of us 2 wasn’t available for pre-order” in the PlayStation Store, only to receive a statement informing them that “if any game did not exist in any Store region [it means] that the game is banned by the competent authorities of the country.”
Confusingly, the PlayStation Twitter account and official website for the Middle East region has publicized the game’s release, promoting the upcoming The Last of Us II-focused State of Play broadcast and featuring the game on a “Coming Soon” list, respectively.
Though no official reason for the ban was given by the PlayStation Support staff member, speculation has centered on the region’s heavy adherence to the Islamic religion, which takes particular issue with sexual content, nudity, and the promotion of LGBT+ lifestyles.
Thanks to the region-free nature of the PlayStation 4, Middle Eastern players can still access the game through the creation and use of a different region PSN account or the import of a physical copy.
As of writing, both Sony and Naughty Dog have yet to publicly confirm or deny the existence of the alleged ban.