A lot of gamers around the world are eagerly anticipating the release of Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us Part II. However, depending on their geographic location, that anticipation is likely to be unfulfilled on launch day.
VG247 caught a post from a Reddit user in the r/DubaiGaming subreddit complaining that they were unable to preorder the game from the Middle East PlayStation Store. When the user in question contacted Sony's PlayStation Support team, they received a reply that if a game does not appear in the Store, "the game is banned by the competent authorities of the country, and we can not do anything regarding that."
Although the screen capture of the response carries some typos, several replies to the Reddit post seem to corroborate that The Last Of Us Part II has (for now) been banned in countries such as Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is one. The most likely reasons for the ban are the game's nudity and sexual themes (as tagged by the ESRB), as well as the LGBT themes.
What's curious is that the game is being promoted on Sony's PlayStation Middle East Twitter feed and is in the Store's "Coming Soon" section. There is some speculation that, since the game is a PlayStation Exclusive, Sony will have some means of enforcing its release, pointing to the example of Final Fantasy VII Remake not being available for preorder but ultimately getting released in that region.
Should the game not be released in the Middle East on June 18, there are known ways around the ban, such as registering a PlayStation Network account in a non-ban country like the US or paying extra for importing the game from a country where it was released without any restriction. It's a few additional steps, but gamers who've been looking forward to the game are likely willing to undertake them.