Earlier this month, the Classification Board of Australia revoked the PG (Parental Guidance) rating of Tecmo Koei's 3D fighter Dead or Alive: Dimensions after media concerns about the game's sexual content. The game was pulled from store shelves and made illegal for sale until its reclassification.
Today, the Aussie rating body reclassified the game with an M rating following distributor Nintendo's resubmission of the title. According to the classification report on the latest rating decision, the classifiers found the game's violent and sexual content to be of moderate impact, pushing it up into the M category. The new consumer advice of "violence and sexualised gameplay" has been added.
The game was initially classified on February 8, 2011. However, due to a number of national and international media reports highlighting concerns over underage female characters in the game, the Classification Board requested preliminary information from THQ--the game's initial distributor in Australia, and the company that first submitted the game for classification--to ascertain whether the content described in media reports was contained in the Australian version of the game.
However, during the recent reclassification process of the game, the Classification Board was satisfied that "within its context, none of the characters appears to be a child under 18 years." The report on the most recent decision describes how the nature of the sexual context impacted on the new M rating:
"The female characters are invariably depicted with large breasts and wearing clothing that accentuates their cleavage. The female characters are also depicted in short skirts…which allow for a female's clothed crotch to be seen. The Classification Board believes that due to the realistically depicted female forms, the outfits worn and the ability of the player to zoom in and take photos of specific body parts of characters within the game, consumer advice of sexualised gameplay is appropriate at an M classification."
The problem with the game's initial PG rating came from a lack of information surrounding the contentious content of the game. Shortly after the game was initially submitted for classification, it was passed to Nintendo for distribution. However, both Nintendo and the Classification Board have confirmed that it was THQ that failed to supply this information at the time of the game's initial classification.
"The additional content that was provided to the Classification Board was not identified in the original application at the time of classification and the Classification Board decided that this content lent emphasis to the existing contentious elements and heightened the sexualised tone to the game, to the degree that the game would exceed a mild playing impact," a Classification Board of Australia spokesperson told GameSpot AU at the time.
According to the rating body, the game was not demonstrated during the initial application process. When asked by GameSpot AU why this contentious material was withheld from the Board during the initial classification application, THQ responded with the following statement:
"THQ are not the distributor of this title. Tecmo Koei are the content creators on record and Nintendo are their chosen distribution partner for the title in question. Our recommendation is that if you are seeking information on this subject that you speak directly to these parties."