On February 25, the Australian Classification Board slapped a Refused Classification (RC) tag on Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's reboot of the classic fighter Mortal Kombat, effectively banning the title from sale or distribution in this country. Five days later, Warner Bros. announced it would appeal the decision and would be resubmitting an identical version of the game for reclassification by the Classification Review Board.
It seems that the appeal process is already well under way, with confirmation that the Australian Classification Board met last Friday, March 11, to consider the Mortal Kombat case. A decision is expected soon, so stay tuned to GameSpot AU for news as it comes in.
According to the board's original ruling, the game's "explicit" violence, blood spray, and limb dismemberment during fatalities made it unable to be accommodated within the maximum MA15+ guidelines. Since Australia still remains without an R18+ classification for video games, Mortal Kombat was therefore rated RC.
"The game includes over 60 fatalities, which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment, and other brutal forms of slaughter," the board report on the Mortal Kombat decision said. "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. In the opinion of the board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play. The game should therefore be Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Board."
Warner Bros.' statement about its appeal stated, "After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia have decided to appeal to the Australian Classification Review Board against the RC (Refused Classification) decision given to Mortal Kombat. After reviewing both the gameplay and the board's original decision, WBIE Australia believes 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."