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Spec Ops: The Line may face censorship; Dubai taking the 'wait and see' approach

"It takes place after an unimaginable natural disaster has struck the region," says former GameSpot editor-in-chief and current video game producer Greg Kasavin, discussing 2K Games' recently revealed shooter, Spec Ops: The Line. The unimaginable natural disaster he's referring to is a catastrophic sandstorm and the region is the financially precarious Dubai. With the one-time booming city-state finding itself in something of a bust, following the global economic downturn, scenes of Dubai's world-famous skyscrapers buried in sand surely struck a nerve.

"We will have to review the game first before issuing any decision on whether to ban it or allow it," Mohammed al Mutawa, a video games censor at the United Arab Emirate's National Media Council, told The National. Juma Obaid Alleem, the director of media content at the NMC, told the newspaper that 'before a video game is released in the UAE, the NMC assesses whether it conforms with local laws and notifies authorities if it does not.' From there, we see references to "international matter" and "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" and we figure it best to take the 'wait and see' approach Mr. al Mutawa referred to.

For his part, Kasavin is playing up the setting as a "fantastic location from an architectural standpoint" but is quick to point out that "the game uses the location purely as a location." He explained to The National that 'the enemies ... in the fictional Dubai would not have any clear religious or political beliefs associated with them' and that 'none of the shoot-outs took place in mosques.' With myriad games having angered religious or national groups before – everything from Resistance and the Church of England to LittleBigPlanet and the Qur'an – the Spec Ops team has plenty to learn from. We'll know more closer to the game's expected 2011 release.

[Thanks, mister_jOBe; via LA Times]

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