The New Zealand censor at the Office of Film and Literature Censorship has just banned the PlayStation Vita role playing game, Criminal Girls: Invite Only
The censor explained the reasons for the ban on its website:
Firstly, the Classification Office called the game in due to concerns that the sexual content found within the game focuses on young persons and involves elements of sexual violence. However the Motivation sequences themselves do not encourage
the player to focus on the girls as young persons, and instead concentrates on presenting their embarrassment, powerlessness and humiliation in a sexualised manner. The dialogue clearly establishes that the girls are either unwilling to
participate, or naive about the player character's intentions. Then, once the Motivation is finished, the girls' reaction is positive. The lack of consent presented here - and the idea that Even if you have to force her 203 she'll end up
enjoying it - is a narrative that justifies rape and is presented solely for titillation.
This game requires players to engage with the female characters in sexualised situations where consent is not only absent, but where the protestations of the female characters are part of the attraction. There is a strong likelihood of injury to
the public good, including to adults from the trivialisation and normalisation of such behaviour, so the game is banned.
The game is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and ESRB M rated in the US.
Uzbekistan has banned a long list of computer games claimed to be distorting values and threatening stability. The list includes global hits like Grand Theft Auto and innocuous classics like The Sims.
The ban makes it illegal to import and distribute the games. Authorities claims the games could be used to propagate violence, pornography, threaten security and social and political stability.There is also concern they might disturb civil peace
and inter-ethnic and inter-religious 'harmony'. Another reason given is the potential distribution of false information about Uzbekistan and the distortion of its historic, cultural and spiritual values.
One would have thought that religion might be a more provable and obvious candidate for propagating violence, threatening security, or causing social and political instability.
The list of 34 games ranges from ego-shooters to horror or erotic games and has been approved by a government commission. It lists Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, Doom, and
Outlast 2 is a first person survival horror shooter from Warner Brothers. It is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and and M rated in the US.
Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been banned in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.
Australia's Censorship Board provided a detailed explanation of the reasons to Kotaku. The censors identified multiple scenes where sexual violence is implied in hallucinatory scenes involving the main character, Blake.
One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains. The censors explained:
[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]
In one cut-scene in the game ... a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world. Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face,
yelling, Nope! Nope! before he stumbles into a forest clearing.
His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, It hurts! Oh god!, as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures,
their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.
One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other
pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.
As Blake yells for the creatures to Get away from her! a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying No!
Stop that! the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.
Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board
is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.
In the Board's opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.
The Board's report also notes that the game could be passed R18+ should the offending scene be cut.
The Australian Censorship Board has now passed a cut of Outlast 2 with the adults only rating R18+ for high impact horror themes, violence, blood, gore and sex.
The board told IGN it is satisfied that that the original version of the game that was refused classification has been modified to allow the game to be classified R18+, implying that the game's previously objectionable sexually violent
content has been edited.
Developer Red Barrels then issued a statement saying that they have adopted this cut version for worldwide distribution:
Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.
Update: The cut version was the intended version all along
The game producers have now claimed that the version cut to obtain an Australian R18+ was the version that the intended to release all along and that it should not be therefore be referred to as a cut version when it is distributed worldwide. Red
The original submission of Outlast 2 sent to the Australian Classification Branch contained the final game code and a video file for reference taken from an Alpha version of the game. This video file should not have been sent along with the game
code, as its content was not representative of the final game.
In the second submission, the same game code was submitted with a video file reflecting the final game content. The game was then approved for release with an R18+ rating. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.