By Karli Winata / November 7th, 2013
The Australian Government’s Classification Review Board, an independent statutory body that reviews decisions made by the Australian Classification Board (OFLC), will be reviewing the ratings for 12 games. South Australian Attorney-General John Rau, who requested this review last September, felt the new rules have not been applied as strongly as they should have been. The ratings for the following games are under review.
- Killer is Dead
- Alien Rage
- Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist
- Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
- Company of Heroes 2
- God Mode
- Borderlands 2 Add-on Content Pack
- The Walking Dead
- Gears of War: Judgment
- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
Back in September, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Rau as saying, “It is concerning to me, particularly as a parent, when I see that 13 games have been released in Australia as MA15+ whilst exactly the same game attracts up to an R18+ classification overseas.”
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association has come forward to defend the current ratings. “Most people don’t realize that before a video game lands on a store shelf, it has already been rigorously examined against a set of guidelines set out by our Government,” said Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA. “In fact, Australia is one of the few developed nations to have classification guidelines determined by Government.” He goes on to point out that no formal complaints have been made against the current ratings and that a review would be “unwarranted and costly.”
Australia has only recently created the R18+ rating, but only a handful of games (Grand Theft Auto V, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge) have actually received the rating since its inception. Every game on this list has a Mature (M) ESRB rating in the U.S. and Canada or PEGI 18 in Europe. However, the OFLC classified these games unedited as MA15+, just one step below R18+.
To say that Australia’s history with video game ratings has been messy would be like saying you shouldn’t swan-dive into an erupting volcano. Before the existence of the R18+ rating, most mature titles sold in Australia were normally edited or censored to fit the guidelines for an MA15+ rating. But some managed to pass by unedited, such as Dead Space 3 and Dante’s Inferno. Saints Row IV was in the news recently for being denied classification twice by Australia, but after cutting out one mission concerning drug use, the game became eligible for the MA15+ rating.
The U.S. is also no stranger to reclassification. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had its rating changed from M to the kiss-of-death rating that is Adults Only (AO) as a result of the Hot Coffee scandal.
Alien RageAustraliaAustralian Classification BoardAustralian Government Classification Review BoardBorderlands 2: Add-on Content PackCompany of Heroes 2Dante’s InfernoDead Space 3Deadly Premonition: The Director’s CutDeadpoolFuseGears of War: JudgmentGod ModeGrand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto: San AndreasKiller is DeadNinja Gaiden 3: Razor's EdgeSaints Row IVThe Walking DeadThe Walking Dead: Survival InstinctTom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist