Distributors of Disco Elysium video game successfully appeal against being banned by the Australian Censorship Board
May 2021 |
Thanks to Daniel
See press release
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is a 2021 role playing game by ZA/UM
A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, is classified R 18+
(Restricted) with the consumer advice High impact themes, coarse language, and drug references.
In the Classification Review Board's opinion Disco Elysium: The Final Cut warrants an R 18+ classification because the themes, coarse
language and drug references have a high impact. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the game was high. The Review Board also considered the appeal of the game to be skewed to an adult audience.
In the Review
Board's opinion, while drug use linked to incentives and rewards cannot be accommodated at R 18+, this game does provide disincentives related to drug-taking behaviour, to the point where regular drug use leads to negative consequences for the player's
progression in the game. It was, specifically, the disincentives for drug use that influenced the Review Board in making their decision. Drug use is not explicitly depicted within the game. The game contains frequent strong coarse language, often used
aggressively, which has a high impact. The themes within the game are related to a detective investigating a murder while also attempting to manage his own alcohol addiction, and getting his life back together after his substance abuse. The themes and
drug references within the game are inextricably linked.
The Review Board convened on 11 May 2021 in response to an application from the original applicant, Zaum Studio OU, to review the decision made by the Classification Board
on 18 March 2021 to classify Disco Elysium204The Final Cut RC (Refused Classification).
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review.
This Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
Games connections appeal against being banned by the Australian games censor
April 2021 |
See article from classification.gov.au
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is a 2021 role playing game by ZA/UM
The Classification Review Board has received an application to review the classification of the computer game, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
was banned by the Classification Board on 18 March 2021. The Australian Censorship Board banned the game presumably because the core gameplay mechanics prominently include drugs and alcohol and which is a bit of a no-no for the country's censors. The
Classification Review Board will meet on Tuesday 11 May 2021 to consider the application.
The latest game to be banned by the Australian Censorship Board
Thanks to Daniel
See article from
See decision from classification.gov.au
The Medium is a 2020 Poland single player psychological horror from Bloober Team
The game has been banned by the Australian Censorship Board for reasons unknown. Neither the censors nor the developers have specified any particular reasons for
The censor's database notes that the film was rated as Refused Classification (banned) in July 2020. The database also notes that the game was submitted under the automated random rating generator process known as IARC. This has a long
history of ludicrous ratings that eventually get overturned by human censors. The game's developers, Bloober Team has made a name for themselves thanks to the line of horror video game titles but it looks like The Medium will be their largest project
launch to date. It is claimed that due to computing requirements, it will only run on the latest consoles, notably Xbox Series X.
It is reported that Bloober Team are making cuts to secure a presumably R18+ rating.
Mary Skelter 2 console game is unbanned in Australia
||6th January 2020 |
See article from
Mary Skelter 2 is a 2018 Japan console game by Compile Heart
The game was originally banned for its October 2019 release by the Australian Censorship Board. But now it has relented and awarded the
game an R18+ rating.
It is reported that all traces of the earlier ban have now been removed from the Australian Censorship Board's online database.
The change of heart
is typical of Australia's automated games classification scheme This produces random MA15+, R18+ or banned (refused classification) ratings for games. If the game is of sufficient economic importance then human censors are asked to jump in
and sort out the mess.
Australian Censorship Board bans video game DayZ, and a cut version for Australia will then be distributed worldwide
August 2019 |
8th August 2019. See
article from gamesindustry.biz
ban details from classification.gov.au
also The cannabis feature isnít even in the game yetfrom techradar.com
DayZ is a 2018 Czech first person shooter by Bohemia Interactive
The video game DayZ has been banned by the Australian Censorship Board, despite having been previously granted an MA15+ rating under an alternative rating system.
DayZ has been available online via Steam since December of last year. As an online title it was rated MA 15+ for strong violence, online interactivity under the International Age Rating Coalition system. This is an automatic rating assignment
software programme providing ratings based on forms filled in by the games company.
More recently the game was submitted for PS4 retail release by distributor Five Star Games. This time around it was assessed by human censors and was promptly
gamesindustry.biz plausibly suggests that the ban is probably due to
the game mechanism of using morphine to restore health. The Australian censors have strict rules prohibiting anything positive about drugs.
The game remains available online to Australian players via the Steam games distribution platform.
Update: Knocked out of joint
9th August 2019. See article from kotaku.com.au
Classification Board first granted an RC rating to DayZ on June 4, following an application from local distributors Five Star Games to have the game sold in brick-and-mortar stores across the country. According to the report, which was supplied to Kotaku
Australia on Friday afternoon, the game was banned over illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards.
Through general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry, the report
says. One of the options to restore the player's health is a marijuana joint, labelled 'cannabis', which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player's inventory.
Kotaku Australia also reveals that the Classification Board is also working to have
the game pulled from sale digitally in Australia.
Update: An Australian cut version will be distributed worldwide
13th August 2019. See
article from kotaku.com.au
Bohemia Interactive confirmed to Kotaku Australia that DayZ would be getting modified globally to comply with the Classification Board's requirements. Bohemia could have opted to exclude Australians from DayZ s next major release to give themselves time
to work out another solution, but in an email the studio explained that they did not want Aussie gamers to be separated from the rest of the world. Bohemia Interactive said:
At the moment, we are editing the global
version of DayZ so it will fit into the Board's requirements. The key objective is to keep the gameplay as authentic as it was, so players are not affected by this change.
Update: It was the cannabis that done
15th August 2019. See press release [pdf] from
Dayz is a survival computer game set in the fictional post-Soviet Republic of Chernarus, where a mysterious plague has turned most of the population into zombies. The game is set in 1st and 3rd person where, as a survivor, the player must scavenge
the land for food, water, weapons and medicine while killing or avoiding the "infected".
Dayz was initially put through the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) Tool (the IARC Tool). A computer game developer
answers an online questionnaire and the IARC Tool generates a rating and consumer advice which is consistent with current Australian classification guidelines. Based on the information provided by Bohemia Interactive in relation to drug use when
completing the IARC questionnaire, the IARC Tool generated an MA 15+ classification with consumer advice of 'Strong violence, online interactivity' for the digital version of Dayz . The IARC Tool produces classifications for digitally delivered games for
When Five Star Games Pty Ltd applied to the Classification Board for a classification for an upcoming PlayStation 4 release of the game in Australia, they advised that drug use in the game included cannabis. The aim of
Dayz is to stay alive and healthy during the conditions of the outbreak and the player's health is measured by vital statistics. Throughout general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry, with one
option to restore the player's health being a marijuana joint, labelled "cannabis," which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player's inventory. The player is able to select and use it when their vital statistics are low. When the player
smokes the cannabis, their vital statistics of food and water increase and their temperature decreases. Therefore, in the opinion of the Classification Board, cannabis use during the game acts as an incentive or reward to boost overall health and
survivability. The Board noted that there was no instance of intoxication resulting from this drug use depicted within the game.
The Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2012 (the Games Guidelines) state
interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not permitted within the G, PG, M or MA 15+ classification. The Guidelines further state, drug use is permitted within the R 18+ classification, provided any interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not
detailed or realistic. Pursuant to the Games Guidelines, drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted at any classification level.
Accordingly, on 4 June 2019, the Classification Board had to classify the computer
game, Dayz , RC (Refused Classification) . The RC category is commonly referred to as being 'banned'. This means that the game cannot be sold, hired, advertised, or legally imported into Australia. The IARC Tool classification has been updated to
RC (Refused Classification).
The Board noted that if the use of cannabis within the context of this game did not act as an incentive or reward, its impact could have been accommodated within the R 18+ classification.
Further, if this instance of drug use was absent from the game, then Dayz would be able to be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.
Australia's censors also announce a review of the censorship rules
On 28 June 2019, the Council of Attorneys-General agreed that the Australian Government will coordinate a public consultation process on reviewing the Games Guidelines to ensure they reflect contemporary Australian community
values. The review will be undertaken by the Department of Communications and the Arts.
Perhaps the censors can now quietly ditch their silly and embarrassing rules about drug use in games. The clause was only introduced as a political compromise
when the R18 was being introduced for games. They were trying to say to reluctant politicians something along the lines of: Don't worry about allowing R18, we'll still have tough censorship rules for such games.
Update: Australia's the laughing stock of the world
19th August 2019. See article from sbs.com.au
Australia's decision to ban the popular zombie video game DayZ because of in-game drug use has been criticised in the Victorian state parliament.
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Quilty said:
The ban was absurd and has
made Australia look like the wet blanket and laughing stock of the whole world.
Refusal of classification should be reserved for illegal materials, things like child pornography and snuff films that should never have been created
in the first place. It should not be used for zombie survival video games.
Update: Duly banned from Steam
21st August 2019. See
article from kotaku.com.au
While DayZ is still available for purchase on Steam in other territories that option isn't no
longer available to Australians, unless you use a VPN. This does not affect anyone who has already bought the game, and they will continue to be able to play the game.
Update: Cut version duly rated MA15+
2019. See article from
After being banned by the Australian Censorship Board, the distributors have made cuts to the game to remove references to cannabis as a health restorer, and resubmitted the game.
The censors duly passed the game as MA15+ with consumer advice that
noticeably doesn't mention drugs: Strong themes and violence, online interactivity
|22nd August 2018
The Australian Classification Board is Letting Us Down. By Cai Holroyd
See article from doublejump.co
The Australian Censorship Board launches into yet another chorus of Michael Jackson's 'Just Ban it, Ban It'
August 2018 |
Thanks to refused-classification.com
The Australian Censorship Board has banned another console, Song of Memories published by PQube. It is another Japanese games no doubt featuring too sexy behaviour by characters of indeterminate, but young looking age.
The censors have yet to
explain their reasons with just a worthless catch-all statement posted so far on their website.
Australian games censors to hear appeal against the ban on We Happy Few
27th June 2018 |
See article from variety.com
The Australian Censorship Review Board is currently reviewing the ban on Compulsion Games' upcoming dystopian adventure game We Happy Few .
The review is the result of an appeal from Compulsion Games, as the decision was made due to the
appearance of the incentivization of drugs in the game. As the Cesnorship Board's report explained, A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly.
The appeal argued
that the usage of Joy is indeed negative, as Joy itself is a product of a dystopian society that exercises drug-induced control over its population, and should not in fact be seen in a positive light.
The Board has scheduled a meeting for July 3,
where it will review public submissions from those who want to discuss the matter as a interested party to this review, specifically as the process relates to We Happy Few. From there, a decision will be made in the coming weeks following the review.
Australian censors ban the video game We Happy Few
|24th May 2018
23rd May 2018. See article from en.wikipedia.org
article from bloody-disgusting.com
We Happy Few is a 2018 Canada survival horror from Compulsion Games
We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial in the city of
Wellington Wells. In this alternative 1960s England, conformity is key. You'll have to fight or blend in with the drug-addled inhabitants, most of whom don't take kindly to people who won't abide by their not-so-normal rules.
2018, the Australian Censorship Board announced that We Happy Few has been banned in Australia.
The censors noted that the game's depictions of drug use related to incentives and rewards, in this case the beneficial effects of using Joy pills,
could not be accommodated within the R 18+ category.
The Soma-like drug Joy is used in the game to detract the citizens of Wellington Wells from the Orwellian reality they live in.
There's no word yet on if Compulsion Games will make cuts
to the game to satisfy the Board, but it s often the case.
The game is set for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this summer.
Update: A few unhappy developers
24th May 2018. See
article from compulsiongames.com
The game developer Compulsion Games has responded to the ban:
To our Australian fans, we share your frustration. We will work with the ACB on the classification. If the government maintains its stance, we will make sure that you can get a refund, and we will work directly with affected Kickstarter backers to
figure something out. We would appreciate if you give us a little bit of time to appeal the decision before making a call.
We Happy Few is set in a dystopian society, and the first scene consists of the player character
redacting material that could cause offense to society at large, as part of his job as a government archivist. It's a society that is forcing its citizens to take Joy, and the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back. In this
context, our game's overarching social commentary is no different than Aldous Huxley's Brave New World , or Terry Gilliam's Brazil .
The game explores a range of modern themes, including addiction, mental health and
drug abuse. We have had hundreds of messages from fans appreciating the treatment we've given these topics, and we believe that when players do get into the world they'll feel the same way. We're proud of what we've created.
would like to respond to the thematic side of We Happy Few in more detail at a later date, as we believe it deserves more attention than a quick PR response. In the meantime we will be talking to the ACB to provide additional information, to discuss the
issues in depth, and see whether they will change their minds.
Australian censors ban Japanese console game Omega Labyrinth Z
February 2018 |
6th February 2018. See
The Australian Censorship has banned a Japanese console game titled Omega Labyrinth Z .
The game was released in Japan last year and doesn't seem to have stirred any controversy. It is set for a European release on 30th June 2018.
The Australian censor has not yet published any meaningful reason for the ban but it is probably related to the depiction of young characters mixed with sexy themes.
Update: Simulated stimulation
9th February 2018. See article from
kotaku.com.au has managed to get hold of the Australian censor's reasoning behind its
ban of Omega Labyrinth Z . The censors write:
The game features a variety of female characters with their cleavages emphasised by their overtly provocative clothing, which often reveal the sides or
underside of theiur breasts and obscured genital region. Multiple female characters are also depicted fully nude, with genitals obscured by objects and streams of light throughout the game. Although of indeterminate age, most of these characters are
adult-like, with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavages that are flaunted with a variety of skimpy outfits.
One character, Urara Rurikawa, is clearly depicted as child-like in comparison with the other female characters. She is
flat-chested, physically underdeveloped (particularly visible in her hip region) and is significantly shorter than otehr characters in the game. She also has a child-like voice, wears a school uniform-esque outfit and appears naive in her outlook on
At one point in the game, Urara Rurikawa and a friend are referred to as "the younger girls" by one of the game's main characters. In the Boards opinion, the character of Urara Rurikawa is a depiction of a person
who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
In some gameplay modes, including the "awakening" mode, the player is able to touch the breasts, buttocks, mouths and genital regions of each character, including Urara
Rurikawa, while they are in sexualised poses, receiving positive verbal feedback for interactions which are implied to be pleasurable for the characters and negative verbal feedback, including lines of dialogue such as "I-It doesn't feel
good..." and "Hyah? Don't touch there!," for interactions which are implied to be unpleasurable, implying a potential lack of consent.
The aim of these sections is, implicity, to sexually arouse these characters to
the point that a "shame break" is activated, in which some of the characters clothing is removed - with genital regions obscured by light and various objects - and the background changes colour as they implicitly orgasm.
In one "awakening" mode scenario, thee player interacts with Urara Rurikawa, who is depicted lying down, clutching a teddy bear, with lines of dialogue such as "I'm turning sleepy...", "I'm so sleepy now..." and "I
might wake up..." implying that she is drifting in and out of sleep.
The player interacts with this child-like character in the same manner as they interact with adult characters, clicking her breasts, buttocks, mouth and
genital regions until the "shame break" mode is activated. During this section of the game, with mis-clicks, dialogue can be triggered, in which Urara Rurikawa says, "Stop tickling...", "Stop poking..." and "Th-that
feels strange...", implying a lack of consent.
In the Board's opinion, the ability to interact with the character Urara Rurikawa in the manner described above constituted a simulation of sexual
stimulation of a child.
Australian censors ban Outlast 2 video game but then pass a cut version with an R18+ rating which will be distributed worldwide
April 2017 |
19th March 2017. See article from kotaku.com.au
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.
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.
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.
Update: Australian worldwide censors
25th March 2017 See
article from pastemagazine.com . See also
listing from classification.gov.au
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
1st April 2017 See
article from press-start.com.au
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 Barrels
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.
The Australian Censorship Board bans another computer game
||28th August 2016 |
See article from refused-classification.com
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.
Australian game censors ban The Bug Butcher video game
July 2016 |
21st July 2016. See article from gameranx.com
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
Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored
24th July 2016. See article from refused-classification.com
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.
When banning video games. By Matthew Sainsbury
||4th July 2016 |
See article from dailyreview.com.au
The latest game banned by Australian censors
|6th January 2016
See article from kotaku.com.au
See censorship details from classification.gov.au
game from desura.com
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
I have asked if we can resub [Paranautical Activity] without the item, waiting for a reply.
Hotline Miami 2, banned by the Censorship Board
||19th January 2015 |
15th January 2015. See article
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:
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
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.
And so the game was banned.
Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored
18th January 2015. See
article from devolverdigital.tumblr.com
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:
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. See video .
Australia's Censorship Board reveals that a large proportion of its postbag were complaints about the banning of 2 computer games
October 2013 |
See article from
Report 2012-13 [pdf] from classification.gov.au
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 its ban.
A cut version of Saints Row IV sees the game unbanned by the censors
|6th August 2013
3rd August 2013. See article from
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 play.
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
6th August 2013. See
article from ausgamers.com
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
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
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 Censorship Review Board upholds the ban on Saints Row IV
||30th July 2013 |
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.
Cut version of State of Decay passed R18+ by the Australian Censorship Board
|12th July 2013
See article from
A cut version of State of Decay computer game has been passed R18+ by the Australian Censorship Board. All references to drugs have been removed.
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.
The nominal change meant that the Drug Use category went down from
being higher-than-high impact violence to Mild Impact thanks to the name changes.
Cut versions of banned computer games being prepared to appease Australian censors
|3rd July 2013
See article from
article from polygon.com
A cut version of State of Decay has been resubmitted to the Australian Censorship Board. All references to drugs have been removed.
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.
Australian censors ban 2 video games, Saints Row IV and State of Decay
June 2013 |
26th June 2013. From classification.gov.au
article from kotaku.com.au
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.
Update: Anal Censorship
27th June 2013. See article from
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,
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.
Update: High on Censorship
27th June 2013. See article from ign.com
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
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.
|9th March |
Australia bans Playstation Vita version of Mortal Kombat
article from asia.gamespot.com
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
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.
|24th December |
Australia bans the computer game Syndicate
20th December 2011. See Classification Board's Decision to ban
Syndicate [pdf] from edge.alluremedia.com.au
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
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
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.
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
It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and is therefore Refused Classification.
Update: Meanwhile at the BBFC
24th December 2011.See
article from bbfc.co.uk
has passed Syndicate 18 uncut with the consumer advice: Contains strong bloody violence.
The game includes 1 hour of video or cut scenes.
|26th September |
Australian censors un-ban The House of the Dead Overkill on appeal
Based on article from
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.
Update: Review Board Reasoning
5th November 2011. See
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.
|26th August |
Last victims of Australian ban on games for adults
25th August 2011. See
article from smh.com.au
Available at UK Amazon for release on 28th October 2011
As the Australian Government prepares legislation to introduce a games classification for adults, Sega's zombie shooting game
The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut has been banned.
Sega Australia says
it is determined to appeal the decision immediately and hope to have the classification overturned without making any changes or amends to the final game .
Sega Australia Managing Director Darren Macbeth said:
There are far worse titles currently available in the marketplace which involve more than shooting down mutants in humorous circumstances.
We will do everything we can to prove that House of the
Dead: Overkill is worthy of an MA15+ rating in Australia.
The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut had been scheduled for release in Australia on October 27. It is scheduled for release in Europe at about the same
Update: Reason for Ban
5th November 2011. Based on article
from kotaku.com.au :
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.
Update: BBFC 18 uncut
The BBFC have just passed The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut 18 uncut. The
BBFC added the comment:
Contains frequent strong bloody violence, gore and language
The BBFC also noted that the game contains 61:44s of cut scenes (insert video material).
|11th May |
Games delivery service makes it easier for Australians to get hold of censored games
See article from delimiter.com.au
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.
|3rd May |
Australia cuts computer game, The Witcher 2, to avoid being banned
See article from
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+
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.
|15th March |
Australian appeal board upholds ban on Mortal Kombat game
See article from
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.
|7th March |
Warner Brothers to appeal Australian ban on Mortal Kombat game
2nd March 2011. See
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
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.
Update: New Zealand
7th March 2011. See
article from gameplanet.co.nz
Mortal Kombat has received a rating of R18: Graphic Violence in New Zealand.
It will be available to New Zealand adult gamers on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on the 21st of April.
|27th February |
Australian censors ban Mortal Kombat game
25th February 2011. Based on article from
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.
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
27th February 2011. From skynews.com.au
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 .
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.
|23rd May |
Australia unbans an edited version of NecroVisioN game
The Australian 'Classification' Board has passed an edited version of NecroVisioN with an M rating, making it not recommended for gamers under 15 years of age (but no legal restrictions on this), with the consumer advice: Violence and
In the Boardís view the original version of Necrovision contained depictions of violence that exceeded a strong playing impact and as such the computer game could not be accommodated at the MA 15+ classification and
must be banned.
The Board now finds that the modified version of the game contains violence that is moderate in playing impact and justified by context.
|27th November |
Australia censor bans F.E.A.R. 2 game
Based on article from gamepolitics.com
A vailable at US Amazon
It looks as if censors at Australia's Classification Board have banned yet another violent video game.
games.on.net reports that F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin was refused classification by the censor.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
is the fifth game to have been refused classification in Australia this year.
As Australia lacks an adult R18+ rating, the view of the Board is that anything unsuitable for a 15 year old is unsuitable for everyone in Australia..