Dark Sector banned in Australia

UPDATED: Digital Extreme's sci-fi themed shooter gets refused classification in Australia due to high-impact violence.

Australia is well known for having a strict games rating regime, a fact that was demonstrated yet again today with the banning of another title. This time around, violent sci-fi shooter Dark Sector was refused classification by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), making it illegal to sell the game down under.

Dark Sector, which was due out for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in Australia at the end of March, is a third-person action game which sees players taking the role of a virus-infected black ops agent endowed with superhuman abilities. In Australia, the highest rating available to a game is MA15+, as opposed to other forms of media such as film or DVDs which have an R18+ classification (the R rating prohibits sales to anyone under the age of 18). Games which feature content deemed unsuitable for a MA15+ rating are refused classification and are effectively banned from sale.

Adam Zweck, sales and product manager for AFA Interactive (the local distributors of the game), told GameSpot AU that the OFLC banned Dark Sector due to its high-impact violence, particularly the finishing moves the game's main character can perform on various enemies.

"Obviously we're disappointed in it [the decision]," Zweck said. "We feel there is justification for an appeal. However, we're exploring several avenues at the moment to see what we can do to get the game on Australian shelves."

UPDATE: The OFLC has sent through its official ruling to GameSpot AU, which says that Dark Sector "contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play."

"The finishing moves and most violent game play includes decapitation, dismemberment of limbs accompanied by large blood spurts, neck breaking spurts, neck breaking twists and exploded bodies with post-action twitching body parts. These moves are relatively easy to accomplish and once the player has mastered the moves and is able to get close to his foes, these violent moves can be executed," the OFLC's ruling said.

"Successfully shooting an opponent results in the depiction of blood spray. When Hayden cuts off his opponent's limb with the glaive, large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump and the injured person screams in agony which increases the impact."

Dark Sector is the latest game to be banned in Australia due to its content. Last year, sports game Blitz: The League was banned due to depictions of drug use, while shooter Soldier of Fortune: Pay Back was banned for excessive violence (Soldier of Fortune was later reclassified after content changes by publisher Activision). Other games to be refused classification include Eidos' Reservoir Dogs, Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, BMX XXX, Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, Postal, Postal 2, Narc, and more. The two GTA games listed eventually made it back onto the market after some content changes.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

319 comments
travis_y
travis_y

wtf this looked like an awsome game but nooooo the had to screw everything up.

Itsleaking
Itsleaking

If its just the one politician that is against an R18+ just ban them in S.A. I mean if oyu can ban certain states from having fire works (you can get them in canberra) then why not do the same here?

spunkybob123
spunkybob123

@Rochie101 i love you, you took the words rite out of my mouth. and @X_Del Don't forget to add there is prob a naked chick hacing sex with the devil at the same time

buckwa_inc
buckwa_inc

In gears of war.... you get decapitation from the sniper, cut people down with a chainsaw accompanied by large blood spurts, neck breaking twists and exploded bodies now this game gets through with the excat same type of "high impact violence" as ruled by the OFLC...but for some reason dark sector gets banned???

CellAnimation
CellAnimation

Banned = importing... Over priced retail = importing... like nearly every game on my PS3 I'll be importing it.

Smoolander
Smoolander

Because we are continuously ripped on game prices, and Michael Atkinson in South Australia, is the sticking point on an R+ rating, simply import the game for PS3 and get a region free US version from playasia or similar. They want to ban it fine. Everyone wise up and import it any way, together with other games to stick it up the local distributors for their pricing.

killer_rabbit20
killer_rabbit20

Seriously this is lame. Countries should let the parents decide if there kids can play the games not just ban every M-Rated game from the country.

JackieEstacado
JackieEstacado

I wonder if this applies to NZ :( I hope not @ ta1snake - If that happens, the world is over.

LinkANDWander
LinkANDWander

and thats why im not moving to Australia! Plus my chronic fear of small bears...

DaDude253
DaDude253

Is the PS3 seriously region free that might exsplane the American copy in EB

Vampire_Turtle
Vampire_Turtle

Seems they're almost as bad as the BBFC. - Vamprie Turtle

JumboSpaceman
JumboSpaceman

Countries playing mommy make me barf. Adults should be able to chose the type of entertainment they enjoy.

guitarcamel
guitarcamel

it is definatly going to be hit game, kinda feel bad for the land down under

cooper797
cooper797

Import People PS3 Region Free, Cant wait to play...

Rochie101
Rochie101

The one thing I don't get about this stupid country is that you can buy, sell & view XXX porno & movies like HOSTEL 1&2, Nightmare on Elm St saga, the Jason saga & any number of more & more gory and sexualised films and literature that can all get a R18+ (the highest rating in the AU) but they wont let a simple video game have the same privilege. And considering that the average age of an Australian gamer happens to be 20-25, why is there so little adult games? I'll tell you why it's the fault of the SOCCER MOM! The SOCCER MOM is the gamers natural enemy, like Snake & Mongoose, Tarantula & Wasp, Fence & Cripple. These are the parents that go out and buy little 6 year old Timmy GTA: San Andreas with a classification that says "HEY B!T#H NOT FOR KIDS!!!!!" and they get all upset when they catch Timmy hooning down the main drag of Las Venturas with a mafia Lt. on the hood of the car trying to get the guy to talk about the cash delivery, so that he can plan & host a raid so they can ruin there competitors and get more business in there own casino. Then they go out and sue the publishers and producers as if its there fault that they have an extra chromosome! If these parents were able to follow the rules and say to Timmy "SORRY BUT THAT'S NOT FOR YOU, BUT YOU CAN HAVE ZELDA INSTEAD OK" the rest of us would not have to suffer for there ignorance!

monkeyd_93
monkeyd_93

wait...if this is on PS3, can you imagine the graphics of the blood! that would certainly be gory

xiiraveniix
xiiraveniix

I've always been disgusted that there is no R rating for games in Australia, as it has resulted in the unjust banning of several games. However, I think there is an even bigger problem, and that is the fact that neither Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo allow adults only games on their systems (as seen with the Manhunt 2 debacle, which was released with a Mature rating as opposed to an AO rating). At this stage, even if the OFLC did institute an R rating, these games would still not get released due to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo's stubborn refusal to allow adults only games on their systems.

vivi_orniter52
vivi_orniter52

Golly, nappan! We're not that old fashioned are we? Why, I was at the local milk bar the other day and I saw two teenagers holding hands! Now that's some pretty far out behaviour!

X_Del
X_Del

That's not fair!!! and while there're movies/anime that features "large blood spurts, neck breaking spurts, neck breaking twists and exploded bodies with post-action twitching body parts" still be classified as MA15+ (Helsing for example).

Armed_psycho
Armed_psycho

Australia needs to harden up, and how are they going to enforce it anyways.

Spawned_Bug
Spawned_Bug

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Bathyj
Bathyj

"The finishing moves and most violent game play includes decapitation, dismemberment of limbs accompanied by large blood spurts, neck breaking spurts, neck breaking twists and exploded bodies with post-action twitching body parts. These moves are relatively easy to accomplish and once the player has mastered the moves and is able to get close to his foes, these violent moves can be executed," the OFLC's ruling said. "Successfully shooting an opponent results in the depiction of blood spray. When Hayden cuts off his opponent's limb with the glaive, large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump and the injured person screams in agony which increases the impact." STOP STOP, you're just making me want it more.

Bathyj
Bathyj

OFLC CONTROLLING your choices.

ta1snake
ta1snake

Bet Ninja Gaiden 2 will be banned as well.

snyper01
snyper01

Walksunseen - check if your edition was made before or after this article was posted up, but i hope that the magazine is more recent as I would love to see this game over here. For everyone else, I agree that in reality the OFLC (not Australians in general) are ultra sensitive and are outdated in their views. I also agree that they are also stereotypical of games as "a toy for kids" rather than a separate market aimed at all age groups. I hope one day that they revise their criteria, as these days kids are desensitized to this form of violence, and even if they ignore this, there is a healthy size of gamers here that are mature and have the right to buy whatever game they like, as long as they know what is in the game. This whole regulations thing is not on with me, as smart people research a game if it is suitable for them before they buy it. Catering for ignorant people that do not check if a game is good for their kids and suddenly get surprised with mature content just continues to fuel this issue (along with the outdated view on what audience games are for). But i guess only time will tell if this trend dies off any time soon.

Walksunseen
Walksunseen

This is really weird. I picked up a copy of the Official Australian Xbox 360 Magazine yesterday and in it is a one page spread adverisment for dDark Sector and on it, it had a classification reading MA 15+ For Strong Violence. So this news is just weird.

mitchellzam
mitchellzam

god bless america.....what can i say.....australia sucks and the oflc should go die in a hole.....all of us should sign a petition or something for an r rating in down under........ehhhh who cares i guess ill just download the game like i did with postal 2 and manhunt!!!!!!!!! take that oflc!!!!!!

mitchellzam
mitchellzam

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

streak000
streak000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DoomBringer2010
DoomBringer2010

If what they say is true then this game is going to be brutally awesome can't wait til i get it

freshfighter83
freshfighter83

Is nappan Australian? Saying Australia is stuck in the 50's is just plain ignorant, and saying such a stupid blanket statement based on whether or not a game gets banned or not is better indicative of a poor education system from wherever the hell nappans from. It's just one simple problem that needs fixing and is not an indication of society. They need to be able to rate game as R18 like with films, simple as that.

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

I agree with nappan. Australia has got to get a grip on the fact that it's not just kids playing games anymore and therefore have to expand their rating system to include that like they do with movies. Plain and simple. People who want the game are just gonna import it anyway. All they're doing is losing the tax dollars they could be taking themselves.

nappan
nappan

Oh please, AU is still pretty much stuck in the 50's from a social perspective, so this is hardly disturbing. If anything it bodes well for the gameplay experience not being some tame snooze-fest. If people can't figure out that games are not for kids ALONE, the industry will die in some places, it's that simple. Just as there are movies for kids, and for adults, so there are games.

Sammojo
Sammojo

Rofl, PS3 owners can import, 360 can't. Was going to say "just import it" but I forgot about the region codes. Oh well, I guess it's sort of PS3 exclusive in Australia if you think about it.

Sammojo
Sammojo

I think that some developers might be going a bit to far these days. People are out fighting Wars (iraq) and dying or losing limbs, and we are sitting on our asses playing games, decapitating and mutilating random soldiers. I think we need to prioritise here, and boo-hoo about Dark Sector, it never looked that good anyway...

-owenG-
-owenG-

NUKE CANBERRA NUKE OFLC

Azwhtknight
Azwhtknight

I address this overall issue in a previous GS blog as there is not enough room to do it here. Check it out if your interested.

saragat
saragat

What a lot of people don't realise is that Australia does not have an 18+ rating for games, meaning that some games can not be rated as such, unlike movies which can be rated R18+ and X. This game has not been banned, the issue is that it is illegal to sell it in australia because the proper classification does not exist. NZ does have an R18+ classification, which was what the GTA games were rated. GTA for Australia had to be modified to get the highest rating available of M15+

p00phead
p00phead

im so happy living in nz our oflc is less strict and dark sector is probably just have a toned down version with ragdoll physics.

V-Nine
V-Nine

...reminds me of that age vs hp restriction the AU has going on as well......

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

F*&%#MORONS!! WHEN WILL THEY REALIZE THAT GAMES AREN'T JUST FOR KIDS!!!!!! Oh man I hope Ninja Gaiden 2 survives:'( Ahhhhhhh what happened to democracy?????

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

yeah...well if jack thompson gets his way america will be the same...

smp13
smp13

oh well, im sure i will be able to buy one on ebay

Heretix_Aevum
Heretix_Aevum

There's a good chance that there will be some content change, maybe less blood, or no abilities to rip limbs off or something. It isn't that big a deal, although it is unneccessary. They should just make a R 18+ rating.

trigun3x
trigun3x

dunno why people are complaining about Australia as a whole, because its a great place to live, we just have a hopeless ratings system that we are hoping will be changed in the near future

zombey1333
zombey1333

Ouch...I feel sorry for the gamers there...

Srdjan77
Srdjan77

I am 30 year old gamer and I want to know what happened to my freedom of choice. I agree some games are not for kids but what about us, over 18 year olds? Avarage gamer these days is 27 years of age so why do we have to censored for? i voted Labor in this election hoping for a change but this is the same old story. Bring on 18+ rating, like the rest of the western world, and pass some responsibiity to parents and not to the OFLC. I have to remind myself that I'm living in Australia and not in Iran!

Timstuff
Timstuff

Why is it that the land of kangaroos always bans everything? It seems like America is the only place left on earth where the government can't ban stuff.