At issue is the game's setting: Dubai, after a massive sandstorm has ravaged the city. The game's location would likely have been fine with censors a few years ago, when the UAE city was a massive global boomtown filled with dreams, cash and utterly insane buildings, but since the world economy took a massive, global crap, Dubai has fallen on rough times, and a view of the city as a post-apocalyptic hellscape may hit a little close to home for the men in charge of the nation's government.
“We will have to review the game first before issuing any decision on whether to ban it or allow it,” said Mohammed al Mutawa, a video-games censor at the UAE's National Media Council told The National. “If it becomes an international matter, various avenues are taken through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow this up.”
“This is not a contemporary version of the setting,” said Greg Kasavin, the producer of Spec Ops, “It takes place after an unimaginable natural disaster has struck the region.”
I'm looking forward to this game, in spite of its terrible title, because I'm intrigued by the setting. Dubai viewed as the ultimate physical expression of man's self-glorification, with a plotline that echoes Conrad's Heart of Darkness seems like video game perfection. In fact, if I were 2K, I'd take out the sandstorm completely and set the entire thing in Dubai, circa 2035, after the Arabian oil reserves have dried up, when the city really might be a post-apocalyptic nightmare world of shattered dreams and horror.
Anyway, check out the trailer to see what has the UAE censors so upset:
Source: The National