The console game Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia.
The censors said that the game was 'Refused Classification'.
Warner Brothers said:
The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in
Australia. We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat , one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers. WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate
for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all
options available at this time.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association had this to say:
The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.
And indeed the BBFC, with a complete range of age classifications avaialbale, passed the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence.
Update: Decapitations, dismemberment and spraying blood
Australia's Government censorship board said that the game contains excessive levels of violence, and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play, specifically citing more than 60 death scenes, with graphic images of decapitations, dismemberment and
spraying blood .
Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed.
Warner Brothers is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat .
Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had banned Mortal Kombat due to its violent gameplay.
Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment Australia said it had decided to appeal to the Classification Review Board over the Mortal Kombat decision. It refuses to budge and submit a cut version of the game, arguing that wouldn't be Mortal Kombat .
After reviewing both the game play and the Board's original decision WBIE Australia believe the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market .
As such the company wants to exhaust all options to make the game available to Mortal Kombat fans in this country. An identical version of the game will be submitted for appeal.
Warner Bros. said it was considering hiring Classification Board ex-deputy director Paul Hunt to help in its appeal. Hunt now runs his own consultancy, MLCS Management, and has previously helped overturn the banning of other titles by Australian censors
including F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and Aliens vs Predator.
Mortal Kombat remains banned in Australia after an unsuccessful appeal against the ban. The appeal board released a statement:
A four-member panel of the Classification Review Board has by majority decision determined that the computer game Mortal Kombat is classified RC (Refused Classification).
In the Review Board's opinion, Mortal Kombat could not be accommodated within the MA15+ classification as the level of violence in the game has an impact which is higher than strong. As MA15+ is the highest classification category
available to computer games under the Australian Classification Scheme, the Classification Review Board must refuse classification to Mortal Kombat.
Computer games classified RC cannot be sold, hired, advertised or demonstrated in Australia.
Namco Bandai has confirmed to Kotaku that The Witcher 2 has been cut for Australian release under an MA15+ rating.
According to Namco Bandai:
In the original version your character Geralt was given the choice of accepting sex as a reward for successfully completing this particular side quest. The Australian Classification Board originally refused classification
as they deemed the inclusion of sex as a reward as not suitable for an MA15+ classification.
The change is only minor, in that the character choice is now made automatically for him. The character and the side quest are still in the game but presented in a slightly different context. No other cuts have been made and this change has no impact
on gameplay, storyline or character development.
A noted online distributor of popular video games such as The Witche r series has removed restrictions from
its platform which limits some features to customers based on what country their internet address is from, potentially allowing Australians to clandestinely escape local video game censorship rules.
The feature, known as geo-IP or geo-location, is used by many online video game delivery platforms to restrict what forms of content customers in different countries can consume, and how much they will pay for it.
For example, it is common for Australian video game players to complain that the price of video games bought online can be different locally than in the United States with the price being set by determining a customer's IP address, despite the same
content being delivered.
In a statement on its site published this week, game distributor Good Old Games said it had come to the conclusion that there were a number of issues with using a customer's IP address to determine what offer they were being presented with.
A good number of users can find themselves negatively impacted by a policy of using geo IP to set their region, the company said. For example, customers may be travelling when they want to purchase or download a game from GOG.com. In
this case, automatic IP address capture might change the price or the content of the game they're ordering (such as the default language of the installer).
Furthermore, the company said, geo-IP data collection didn't always function correctly --- and could report an incorrect region for users. And lastly, it didn't want to violate its users' privacy by collecting data it didn't need to --- so had taken
the decision to trust customers to voluntarily tell it their correct region when making a purchase.
It's a particularly strange decision, considering the fact that the original Wii version was released as MA15+ without incident, but the Classification Board's issue is with a new Hardcore mode which has been added to the game.
The Hardcore game mode allows players to play in a manner that exceeds strong in impact, claims the report, engaging a headshot-only mode which results in frequent, detailed blood and gore as the zombies and mutants [sic] heads explode
into bloody pieces that spread around the environment and onto the screen. The game also contains an Extra mutants mode which increases the amount of mutants the player must kill to proceed, resulting in an increased intensity and frequency of
violence. In addition the game contains a baby mutant that jumps onto the screen and explodes into bloody chunks when killed.
House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut has been re-classified MA15+ on appeal.
A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the computer game should be classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice strong horror violence, strong coarse language .
The decision overturns the ban imposed by the Film Classification Board. The Review Board convened in response to an application from Sega Australia Pty Ltd, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 23 August 2011 for the computer
game House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. The Board classified the computer game RC (Refused Classification).
For perspective, the game was passed 18 uncut by the UK censors of the BBFC.
The review board outlined their decision as follows:
It is the view of the Review Board that the violence in this computer game, occurring in a familiar fighting game format, is stylised, unrealistic and graphically relatively unsophisticated compared to other computer games available
in the Australian market. Given the fantasy theme of zombie horror and the characteristics of that genre, the violence, although frequent, is justified by context. The zombies and mutants themselves and most of the combat action involving them is lacking
in realistic detail and occurs at a distance rather than in close up. The zombies and mutants are visually homogeneous and with a couple of exceptions that are individually grotesque, are not humanised. Victims and blood and gore disappear within seconds
from the game. The settings in Bayou City are stylised and not realistic. It is therefore the opinion of the Review Board that the cumulative impact of the violence in the game is no higher than strong and as noted above, is justified by the fantasy
zombie horror, rail shooter context.
In addition, the game contains frequent strong, coarse language which is not aggressive and is used conversationally. The cumulative impact of this language is no higher than strong.
As the impact of both the violence and the language in House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut is strong, the game is not suitable for persons under the age of 15.
The Australian Classification Board has banned the upcoming computer game Syndicate. No doubt it would have qualified for an 18 rating, but as there isn't one then the game was banned.
The Australian censors justified their decision as follows:
In the Board's view this game warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with rule 1(d):
Computer games that: are unsuitable for a minor to see or play will be Refused Classification.
The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.
The game is set in a futuristic dystopia where people have computer chips in their heads that allow them to interact with the "dataverse", It is a first person shooter with realistically rendered graphics. A player controls Kilo, an agent of
one of the "Syndicates" (powerful corporations), as he moves through levels completing objectives such as rescuing Eurocorp employees and extracting chips from people's heads.
In order to complete the missions, a player has to engage in intense combat with swarms of enemy combatants who are clad in light armour. A variety of weapons is available and these often cause decapitation, dismemberment and gibbing during frenetic
gunfights. For example, an intense sequence of violence commences when a player collects a "G290 minigun", which operates much like a Gatling gun. A player moves through a building rapidly firing at enemy combatants. Combatants take locational
damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated or bisected by the force of the gunfire. The depictions are accompanied by copious bloodspray and injuries are shown realistically and with detail, Flesh and bone are often exposed while arterial
sprays of blood continue to spurt from wounds at regular intervals.
Similar injuries can be caused by many other weapons, including shotguns, high-calibre revolvers, sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers, laser guns and grenades.
The game also allows a player to repeatedly damage enemy combatants' corpses. This is shown in realistic depictions. For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs.
Depending on the weapon used, it is also possible to bisect a corpse, with realistic ragdoll effects noted. The depictions are again accompanied by arterial sprays of blood and detailed injuries that include protruding bone.
Throughout the game, a player consistently encounters unarmed civilians and has the choice of whether to target them or riot. Civilians can be shot, accompanied by copious bloodspray, but it is not possible to decapitate or dismember them, whether they
are alive or dead. Their corpses can still be targeted, resulting in bloodspray only. In single player mode, the game treats civilian deaths neutrally, but it is noted that in cooperative gameplay, points are awarded for civilian casualties.
In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic post
mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact.
It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and is therefore Refused Classification.
The Sony PlayStation Vita version of the Warner Brothers classic
fighting game reboot Mortal Kombat has been banned by the Censorship Board.
The game was submitted to the misleadingly named Classification Board of Australia by Warner Brothers despite previous console versions of the game being similarly banned for explicit violence. The publisher felt that the impact of the violence in
the Vita version of Mortal Kombat would be lessened by the portable console's smaller screen size.
Obviously, the censors didn't agree.
Warner Bros. clarified that the version submitted was the same, unedited version of Mortal Kombat for the Vita that will be released globally, except Australia, on April 19.
The Acting Director of the Censor, Board Donald McDonald, has announced that Saints Row IV
was the first computer game in Australia to be banned under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that commenced on 1 January 2013.
The Classification Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification). In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes
elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are banned by the computer games guidelines.
Meanwhile Jeff Strain, the Executive Producer for the Microsoft game, State of Decay , has said that this has also been banned by the Australian Censor Board. Strain explained on a games forum:
State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain
medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit.
The Australian Classification Board has issued a report detailing why Saints Row IV was banned in Australia. According to a statement sent to GameSpot, the game was banned on the grounds of implied sexual violence , pertaining specifically
to the Alien Anal Probe weapon and the use of illicit drugs referred to as alien narcotics . The report outlines the reasons in detail, stating:
The game includes a weapon referred to by the applicant as an 'Alien Anal Probe'. The applicant states that this weapon can be 'shoved into enemy's backsides'. When using this weapon, the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the
weapon between the victim's legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air.
A weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context.
Smoking the 'alien narcotics' equips the player with 'superpowers', which increase their in-game abilities, allowing them to progress through the mission more easily. During the mission, onscreen prompts guide the player to 'Go to deal location' and 'Get
drugs'. In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'alien narcotic' available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs.
Publisher Deep Silver has issued a statement announcing the developer's intention to create an edited version of the game.
The Censor Board has supplied IGN with a report that outlines the reason State of Decay was banned:
The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of medications throughout gameplay which act to restore a player's health or boost their stamina. These medications include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone,
morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, trucker pills , painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term stimulant is commonly used to refer to
a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.
Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a Medical Lab . When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a
pill bottle or syringe. Within the Medical Lab players are prompted to make substances such as Potent Stims , Mild Stims and Painkillers . The laboratory includes a research library and chemical dictionary .
When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption
of the drug instantly increases a player's in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to
complete the game without some form of medication .
In the Board's opinion, the game enables the player's character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.
A cut version of State of Decay has been resubmitted to the Australian Censorship Board. All references to drugs have been
Undead Labs explained on their Facebook page that the game has been edited to comply with the censorship guidelines of the Board:
Stimulants out! 'Supplements' in! Who could possibly not like vitamins? They're good for you.
Meanwhile there are reports that a cut version is also being prepared for the other game banned by the Australian censors, Saints Row IV . A 'low violence' version is now listed on Steam, a download centre for computer games.
The Australia's Censorship Board banned the video Game Saints Row IV citing issues with drug use related to incentives and rewards.
The distributors then appealed the ban to the Censorship Review Board who have turned down that appeal.
A three-member panel of the Censorship Review Board unanimously confirmed the ban. In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. The
detailed reasons for the decision will follow.
It is expected that the game distributors will now submit a cut version.
A cut version of the computer game Saints Row IV has been classified MA15+ by the
Australian Censorship Board.
An optional side mission has been removed. The mission contained the use of a substance Volition referred to as alien narcotics which improved certain superpowers temporarily within the game. The cut episode represents about 20 minutes of game
The anal probe weapon, which was highlighted as problematic when the Censorship Board initially rated Saints Row IV RC back in June, is due to be available in Australia as part of scheduled online update which has been agreed with the censors.
Update: Aussies thrown out of international gameplay
Game developer Deep Silver has revealed that the recent Australian cut version of Saints Row 4 will not enable play with international fans in the optional co-op mode. The company explained:
We feel that you deserve to know what you are getting in Australia. Due to the changes we were forced to make, this version is different than the version rated by rating boards like the ESRB, USK, and PEGI, which is why it will be incompatible with those
versions in co-op.
The Facebook post also revealed that the other controversial topic for classification, the Rectifier weapon that acted as an anal probe, is still under consideration on whether to be included in the Season Pass for Australian versions.
Uncut in New Zealand
Those in New Zealand who are concerned they may also be getting a cut version will be happy to know that this isn't the case. Gamers will have access to both international co-op and the Rectifier weapon in the uncut version.
Australia's film and games censors has published its Annual report revealing some facts and figures about game censorship.
The Australian Classification Board considered 695 computer games during the year, with 291 receiving the G classification as suitable for viewing by anyone. 17 games received the new R18+ classification, which has been available only since the start of
the year. And 2 games were banned.
Saints Row IV , in which players seek to destroy the alien Zin empire, was given the thumbs down for implied sexual violence and use of alien narcotics to increase a player's in-game skills.
The same went for State of Decay , a zombie apocalypse game in which players can use morphine, amphetamines and other drugs to enhance in-game abilities.
Censorship rules bar any sexual violence or drug use related to incentives and rewards. Both games are now available after their producers made cuts to meet the rules.
During the year, the Censorship Board received 795 complaints, the vast majority presumably from gamers objecting to the bans. Saints Row IV attracted 507 complaints, most opposing the RC rating. State of Decay prompted 270 complaints, with most opposing
The Australian Censorship Board has just banned the upcoming video game, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
The censors were offended at an implied rape featured in the game. The censors wrote in a report:
In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter.
After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down,
partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction
of implied sexual violence is emphasised by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.
The censor's rules say that games that
depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by
reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; will be Refused Classification.
Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Dennaton Games have released a joint statement explaining that the censorship board had stretched the facts to justify their ban:
We are aware of the recent report published by the Australian Classification Board in regards to Hotline Miami 2 and have been in
communication with them. As such, we and Dennaton Games would like to clarify a few things:
First, to clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way. We also want to make clear that players are given an choice at the start of the game as to whether they wish to avoid
content that alludes to sexual violence. The sequence in question is presented below in context, both after choosing the uncut version of the game and after choosing to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence.
Second, in response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific
thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review.
Though we have no plans to officially challenge the ruling, we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game and look forward to delivering Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to fans very soon.
And if you want to see the silly censorship for yourself than the scene causing the ban has been uploaded to youtube.
Paranautical Activity is a 2014 first person shooter by Code Avarice developed further by Digerati in 2015 as the Deluxe Atonement Edition
The PC and consolde gamen Paranautical Activity made the news in 2014 when developer Mike Maulbeck got involved in a twitter storm over incorrect details and was pulled from Steam.
The game reappeared in February last year as a Deluxe Atonement Edition . But this has now been banned by Australian censors.
The Classification Board listing is dated 5th January 2016 and lists the film as banned or 'Refused Classification' The Australian censor does not give reasons for the ban beyond vague words about it not fitting within the censorship rules.
Current distributors Digerati told kotaku
they would look at removing the 'offending item' to comply with the Classification Board's requirements:
The reason they gave was 'illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives and rewards' -- the prescribed drug in game is Adderall and picking up the item gives you a 15% speed increase.
I have asked if we can resub [Paranautical Activity] without the item, waiting for a reply.
Bug Butcher is a fun shoot 'em up computer game from Awfully Nice Studios.
It has just been banned by the Australian Censor Board for reasons which are not yet apparent. The censors have provided just an uninformative stock statement on the website noting the game as 'Refused Classification'.
The description of the game does not really make the game sound very bannable:
You play Harry, an exterminator who gets tasked with slaughtering bugs in a futuristic research facility, in order to buy the surviving scientists time until the total decontamination process is complete. It's a simple game where you face wave after wave
of enemies, picking up new weapons and power-ups in order to enhance your slaying skills.
Awfully Nice Studios explained a little more about the ban:
We have been in the age rating process for our upcoming console release in Australia. Seem like this triggered the ban from Steam as well. The reasoning behind is, is sad but at the same point also funny. We have a powerup called Speed powerup where
Harry injects himself a syringe. Looks like the combination of the injection with the word Speed someone could assume that it's a drug. We are shocked but are trying to get in touch with Australia to see if we can fix this.
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuhni is a 2016 Japan fight game
From the creators of Senran Kagura - Valkyrie Drive is an intense brawler set in a universe where girls turn into giant super-weapons when sexually aroused. Wielded by partner girls called Liberators, players must use this power to take on levels
swarming with enemies and giant bosses. Box Contains
The console games has been banned the Australian Censorship Board.
The board claims that the game promotes elements that offend standards of morality, and also uses sexuality as an incentive and reward. A major factor in the refusal of classification is due to implied sexual violence in the game, especially if
they pertain to incentives or rewards..
In the game, the girls are able to turn into weapons by kissing and touching one another. This may be part of the reason for the ban.
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.