Apex Legends won’t restrict LGBT+ cosmetics at Saudi Arabia event

Apex Legends Pride

Respawn, the company behind the hero shooter battle royal Apex Legends confirmed that no cosmetics, legends, or other content will be restricted at an upcoming event in Saudi Arabia.

Traditionally, even outspokenly progressive companies censor their games when faced with the restrictive laws of middle-eastern countries like Saudi Arabia. For example Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 notably removed pride flags from the game for versions sold in the kingdom.

However this time, Respawn responded to fan concerns about an upcoming event with assurances no content would be removed. In a statement to Kotaku they said:

“We are not changing the game, all Legends will be playable…

No Apex Legends content, Legend or Cosmetic, will be restricted at the EWC event.”

After the EWC (Esports World Cup) event was announced, LGBT+ fans and allies were frustrated that Respawn was hosting an event in a nation hostile to them.

Saudi Arabia -techincally- welcomes gay and trans tourists with a policy reminiscent of America’s defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unofficial policy. On the official Saudi Arabia tourism site it says:

Are LGBT visitors welcome to visit Saudi?

Everyone is welcome to visit Saudi, and we ask that they follow and respect our culture, traditions and laws, as you would when visiting any other country in the world.

Like other governments around the world, visitors are not required to disclose their personal information and we will strongly respect your right to privacy.

Activists have accused Saudi Arabia of using its wealth and investments in gaming as a way to gloss over its documented human rights abuses against women and LGBT+ individuals. The kingdom follows laws based on Muslim Sharia law and has reportedly enforced the death penalty in matters of same-sex relationships and crossdressing.

Respawn’s commitment to leaving their game uncensored is unusual for publishers. Meanwhile publishers like Sony are still happy to take their money despite hosting pride content everywhere else in the world.

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A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.

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