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No one knows why The Last of Us 2 just got a ban

It appears as though The Last of Us Part 2 has just been handed a major blow in some parts of the world. Specifically, there's a chance that the game has been quietly banned in the Middle East, but nobody can figure out why.

On the r/DubaiGaming Reddit board, a user called ghosttechful claimed that they were unable to preorder The Last of Us Part 2 or even find it on the PlayStation Store. They then reached out to PlayStation Support to find out what the deal was.

In return, ghosttechful received a puzzling email from PlayStation Support that read, "Thanks for your email. If any game did not exist in any Store region it's mea [sic] that the game is banned by the competent authorities of the country and we can not do anything regarding that. I hope this helps, but if you need anything just let me know!"

The wording is so bizarre and oddly jumbled, including the vague phrase "competent authorities," which has been pointed out by a few commenters in the thread. However, it does appear that this customer service representative is implying that the game may have been banned in the territory where this user preordered the game. 

Several Redditors are attempting to get to the bottom of why The Last of Us Part 2 could possibly be banned in the Middle East. As mentioned by one user in the thread, a violent game like Red Dead Redemption 2 did not receive a ban in the region, so it's highly unlikely that the level of violence and gore would have anything to do with The Last of Us Part 2 receiving a ban. It has also been mentioned that Cyberpunk 2077, a game that will feature a heavy amount of sexual content, is likewise still available for preorder in Dubai. 

Some users have expressed concerns that the game has been banned for featuring specifically LGBT content front and center in its storyline. For instance, the protagonist Ellie is portrayed as a gay woman in a relationship. This may be seen as objectionable by some censors in the Middle East.

The confusion has been compounded by the fact that the PlayStation Arabia Twitter account, @PlayStation_ME, appears to still be hyping up The Last of Us Part 2. PlayStation Arabia tweeted an ad for today's Sony State of Play that will be showing off footage from the new game. 

So what's the deal there? Does that mean that this customer service representative that emailed ghosttechful jumped to a wrong conclusion? If so, then why does the game still not appear to be available through the PlayStation Store for customers in the Middle East?

If the game is in fact banned, then where does this leave gamers in those areas who were looking forward to playing The Last of Us Part 2? Basically, it looks like they'll have to import a copy if they want to play it. At least one user on Reddit is planning to order a copy from Europe, but even that isn't a foolproof solution. Depending on where it's ordered from, some stores in Europe won't take payment methods from outside of the country.

This sounds remarkably similar to a situation currently faced by Chinese gamers who were hoping to get their hands on a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. That game was recently banned within China because of the way some gamers were using it as a platform to protest the actions of the Chinese government. This has led to many fans of that series resigning themselves to ordering copies of New Horizons through unofficial channels.

The Last of Us Part 2 has had quite a rocky path to release. The game was first formally announced back in 2016, but it was a few years before it received a proper release date. Since then, the game has been delayed multiple times for various reasons. At first, it was due to the fact that the game simply wouldn't have been ready in time for its original launch date of February 2020.

The game's updated release date of May 2020 was then delayed once again due to safety concerns surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19. At the time, Naughty Dog and Sony announced that there was a reluctance to release the game in stores due to so many areas being on lockdown. It would have made it difficult to get the game into everyone's hands at the same time, even if the game was given a digital-first release. That was seen as an unfair solution for all of the people who had preordered physical editions of the game. 

Now it appears as though there are some areas of the world that won't be receiving the game at all, at least not through normal means. This has yet to be officially confirmed by Sony, but we'll definitely keep an eye out for any updates regarding The Last Of Us Part 2's availability.