Insomniac Games’ PlayStation 5 exclusive Spider-Man 2 may not be released in the Middle East. Following the country’s history of banning games and movies with LGBTQ+ content, the new superhero sequel may never see the light of day in the region.
Just hours after the new PS5 game went live on Middle Eastern PSN stores, digital listings for Spider-Man 2 were swiftly removed. Fans in the region revealed that the game has been completely wiped from stores with many speculating that the inclusion of LGBTQ references, scenes or storylines could be the reason.
MSM_Access, a Spider-Man fan account on Twitter, announced that the game was no longer available on Middle Eastern PSN stores. Afterwards, a fan followed up with screenshots of PlayStation Qatar and UAE stores showing the game’s lack of availability.
While Sony and Insomniac have not confirmed the removal of the game on Middle Eastern storefronts, the game is still unavailable to pre-order. Furthermore, this ban follows an ongoing trend affecting PlayStation games in the region.
Earlier this year, the Middle East banned another PlayStation exclusive, Final Fantasy XVI, after developer Square Enix refused to cut LGBTQ content. These anti-LGBT bans have also affected Marvel movies such as Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, a film that featured a character with Lesbian parents.
The truth of the matter is that LGBTQ characters have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and that is only reflected in modern media. Marvel’s incarnation of Loki is genderfluid, just like the mythological Norse character they’re based on.
In fact, Marvel’s decades-long support of LGBT characters has resulted in myriad different queer superheroes, from the X-Men’s Iceman to a gay Captain America. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has also confirmed that more gay superheroes are inevitably coming out.
As for Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2, the game was always expected to include at least some LGBTQ+ references. In past games, pride flags can be seen in the streets of New York, and the first game prominently featured Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, a canonical bisexual, in its main story and DLC.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 is scheduled to release on PlayStation 5 on October 20, 2023.