Violent and adult-themed games have been thrown a lifeline in the potentially lucrative Middle Eastern market after a new alliance was formed that hopes to take on the task of editing titles to suit local sensibilities.
English language Abu Dhabi news portal The National reports that media firm Rubicon Group Holding and Sony distributor Modern Electronics Company plan to add Arabic localisation and, if necessary, make cuts to games so their sale will be made legal.
Recent titles to succumb to the region's strict censorship rules include Mafia II, Dead Rising 2, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, Dante's Inferno, GTA IV and Darksiders. Most titles are caught out either due to religious references or iconology, or often for sexually explicit content or nakedness.
Those games that are extra-violent, or have sensitive issues for the region, will be edited for content,” Rubicon's Gulf director Ghassan Ayoubi stated.
It's not purely dubbing in Arabic, but eliminating things that may be inappropriate for the region, introducing one or two elements that will be specifically for the region – maybe introducing a new character.
There are titles that we wouldn't even choose to Arabise or localise, because they are off the chart, because they would need reinventing. It's not censoring. It's tailoring or customising it for the market. It's not deviating from the game itself.”
The company plans to kick off by working on an unnamed existing PS3 title – possibly Uncharted 2 – and hopes to churn out between two-four alterations every year. It also plans to get involved with games that are still in development.