Why Left 4 Dead 2 Was Banned in Australia
Post by dotarray @ 02:27pm 17/09/09 | Comments
Left 4 Dead 2 Refused Classification by the Australian Classification Board in September 2009
So - Left 4 Dead 2 has been refused classification in Australia - and the rumours are flying thick and fast over just why Valve's upcoming zombie-huntin' sequel has been effectively banned in this country.
We'd heard stories that there were mysterious "adrenaline shots" thrown into the mix, with many gamers suspecting this would take the game to the 'dark side' by featuring drug use as a way to advance.
However, according to the Classification Board's report, it's much more simple than that - the game's just straight-up more violent, this time around.
Item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Code states that:
"1. Computer games that:
(d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play;" will be Refused Classification in this country.
You guessed it, the high level of "realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence" featured in Left 4 Dead 2 means that the shooter is "unsuitable for persons under 18 years to play", so - due to our lack of an adult R18+ rating - the Board has no choice but to effectively ban the game for all Australians.
The Board's report states that:
The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore. Projectile shots to infected humans can cause abdominal wounds which can reveal innards or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds.
Looking at the report, it's this messy ultraviolence that seems to have upset them so much. The report goes on to explain that players choosing to use a melee weapon will be able to wipe out several Infected "in one blow", causing a pretty graphic display of blood and gore. The Board also observed that after playing for a little while, the player kills a "very large amount" of enemy characters, which then litter the environment - and while no post-mortem damage can be inflicted (another big no-no for the Board), it's all a bit unpleasant, really.
In conclusion, it comes back to one of our favourite arguments - it'd probably be okay if it was a film.
The interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high.
At this point, local distributors EA have stated they "are still working through the submission process with OFLC and want to explore all opportunities before making any comment."
One of those opportunities could be hinted at within the report, where a minority of the Board holds the opinion that the violence featured in Left 4 Dead 2 is merely "strong" in playing impact. If the rest of the Board could be convinced of this, that would be enough to earn it an MA15+ classification with the consumer advice of "strong violence".
At this point though, other than a potential appeal and some appropriate grovelling from Valve and EA, the future looks pretty grim for L4D2, unless we're doomed to get an amazingly castrated version with all the good bits taken out. Removing blood spatter is one thing, and a relatively simple artistic tweak - but taking out what is, essentially, the point of the game? That's a little trickier to pull off.