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Thailand's military rulers ban Tropico 5 as threat to national security (update)

Thailand's military government, which seized control of the country in May, banned a video game that allows players to take on the role of the dictator of an island, citing concerns for the country's national security, according to Tropico 5'slocal distributor.

The game, which was released in North America the same month in which Thailand's military overthrew the democratically elected government, has players "create a social utopia where every citizen is heard and accounted for or forge your own tyrannical grip over the nation and turn it into a gold mine for your Swiss bank account," according to the game's website.

New Era Thailand's marketing manager, Nonglak Sahavattanapong, told the Associated Press that censors at the ministry of culture banned sales of Tropico 5 as they believed it would impinge upon Thailand's national security.

"It's a good game with positive reviews," Nonglak told the Associated Press. "We've had licenses to distribute Tropico 3 and 4 before, but in the fifth installment, the storyline has developed further and there might be some part of it that's not appropriate in the current situation."

New Era posted the news on their Facebook and Twitter accounts late last night. The translated comment referenced a threat to Thailand's peace and notes that the game will not be released.

We have reached out to both New Era and game developer Haemimont Games and will update this story when they reply.

Update: Reached for comment this afternoon Kalypso Media confirmed that Tropico 5 have been refused distribution in Thailand and said they will not appeal the decision.

"The Board of Film and Video Censors (part of the Ministry of Culture) informed Kalypso Media's Thailand distributor New Era that Tropico 5 would not be granted a release status in the country," according to a statement provided to Polygon. "They stated that 'some contents of the game are not appropriate for the current situation,' but did not pinpoint the exact content which caused concern. After consideration, New Era has decided not to appeal the decision."

"We are disappointed to hear that Tropico 5 will not be released in Thailand," commented Simon Hellwig, Global Managing Director Kalypso Media Group. "Tropico 3 and 4 both enjoyed successful releases in the country and although the Tropico brand does have a realistic political element to it, the scenarios and content are all delivered with a certain trademark tongue in cheek humor."

Stefan Marcinek, global managing director at Kalypso Media Group, said that the decision sounded like it could have come from "one of El Presidente's own edicts from the game."

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