Sony Censors LGBT Content From Saudi Arabian Release Of ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’
In yet again proving that corporations’ only ever care about their performative allyship so long as it does not affect their profits, Sony has been found to have censored all of the LGBT content from Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 in order to comply with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s local media regulations.
This latest instance of Middle Eastern censorship was first brought to public attention courtesy of Twitter user @Mangalawyer, who on October 23rd revealed, “It’s confirmed. Spider-Man 2 Middle East version has removed LGBT dialogues, side missions, and all gender spectrum flags”.
“Are you going to insult me too or accept the corporation see your identity as pure money?” the frustrated user added. “To the gay people who defend me just for showing the truth. Thanks”.
In support of their claim, @Mangalawyer provided two screenshots, both taken from a live-stream of the game provided by an unidentified Arabic-language streamer.
The first, taken from ‘Homecoming’ mission in which Miles Morales must assist one of his classmates at the Brooklyn Visions Academy in asking his boyfriend to homecoming, shows that the game clearly removed an instance of dialogue wherein the boy at the receiving end of the dance proposal, Lucas, recalls upon seeing a specific movie poster, “Aww, that’s the movie we saw when we had our first kiss.”
Further, according to an exchange between fellow Twitter users @daniyalkhan2000 and @pohuopol, the censored version of Insomniac’s title still features this sidequest, though it reportedly changes the boys’ relationship from romantic to strictly platonic (though still keeps their mission-ending instance of hand-holding).
The second, snapped while Miles is on his way to the R.A.F.T. prison in the ‘Not On My Watch’ mission, reveals that the Arabic release has also completely scrubbed the game’s digital representation of New York of any and all LGBT-related pride flags, replacing them with nondescript or generic textures.
Notably, these changes were first confirmed, though not explicitly detailed, by Saudi Arabia’s own General Authority of Media Regulation.
Announcing on October 17th that the web-slinger’s latest outing had cleared their approval process, the censorship board vaguely revealed via their official Twitter account, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was classified after the publishing studio [Sony] approved the modifications required by the General Authority for [#MediaRegulation].
As of writing, it is unknown whether this censorship extends to the game’s release in other Middle Eastern countries, but given the region’s history of censorship, particularly when it comes to LGBT iconography, it is currently presumed that the sale of this particular version of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is not isolated solely to Saudi Arabia.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is now available exclusively for the PlayStation 5 console.