Fallout 3 unbanned in Australia

UPDATE: Postapocalyptic shooter reclassified in Australia to MA 15+; resubmitted version significantly removes "incentive and reward" for drug use.

Australia is becoming well known for its strict stance on video game classification, with three games banned so far in 2008: Dark Sector, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, and Fallout 3. The banning of the latter has caused much anger in the local gaming community. Bethesda's anticipated postapocalyptic action RPG was initially refused classification due to in-game drug use, and consequently the game would have been illegal to sell down under. But it looks as if there's finally some good news for Australian fans of the revered series.

Australia's ratings body, the Classification Board, has now reclassified Fallout 3 as MA 15+, with consumer advice that the game has strong violence, drug references, and coarse language. This means that the game will definitely be on sale in Australia, and several local retailers are pegging mid-October 2008 as the release window.

Unlike films or DVDs, the highest rating allowable for a game in Australia is MA 15+, which means that any game that has content deemed unsuitable for a 15-year-old is illegal to sell or promote in this country. In the past, for a game to be reclassified after initially being refused classification, publishers or distributors have had to resubmit an amended version of the game to the Classification Board with the original offending material taken out. This was the case with shooter Dark Sector. After being refused classification at the start of 2008, the game's local distributors resubmitted a version with toned-down violence for the Australian market. This version passed, and Dark Sector is now set for release in September.

Red Ant, the local distributors of Fallout 3, responded with a terse "no comment" when contacted by GameSpot AU about what changes the Australian version of the game would have. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more updates on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: GameSpot AU has contacted the Classification Board, with a spokeswoman saying Fallout 3's resubmitted version was passed by the board because "the reward and incentive" for in-game drug use had been significantly toned down. No further detail was available, however, on what exactly had been changed in the game.

In the Classification Board's original ruling on Fallout 3, the board stated that "the game contains the option to take a variety of drugs known as chems using a device which is connected to the character's arm. These chems have postive and some negative effects (lowering of intelligence, or the character may become addicted to the chem). The positive effects include increase in strength, stamina, resistance to damage, agility, and hit points. Corresponding with the list of various chems are small visual representations of the drugs; these include syringes, tablets, pill bottles, a crack-type pipe, and blister packs. In the Board's view, these realistic visual representation of drugs and their delivery method bring the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs. The player can also select and use Morphine (a proscribed drug) which has the positive effect of enabling the character to ignore limb pain when the character's extremities are targeted by the enemy."

Written By

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

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Discussion

240 comments
BattleSword1
BattleSword1

The good thing about Fallout 3's unbanning is that Australians can now experience Fallout 3 as it is an incredible game. The bad thing is that fifteen-year-olds are now allowed to play a game in which you can disintegrate NPCs' heads into gory mist. Yipes!

Thebomb44
Thebomb44

The people bashing on Aussies or Australia for this are just morons. Ignore them. In any case, it's good that Australia can experience this game, as I've heard it's amazing. It's a shame when government tries to take the place of good parenting, which unfortunately is becoming the case in America too. Big government creates so many more problems when the true blame lies on parents. My parents strictly watched what I played up until I was about 17, and I'm all the better for it because it teaches responsibility. Although I can't say I've ever liked gratuitous violence or sex, there are definitely some games I love now that I would not want kids playing.

michaelsgreat
michaelsgreat

Kinda late on this one ian4563, but Morphine isn't illegal in Australia. It's a controlled substance and illegal to have without a prescription, but perfectly legal to have with one. You're right, proscribed does mean prohibiting something, but I still don't think the author used the term effectively.

pyroone
pyroone

Is Australia trying to makeover their rough and tumble reputation or something. This is the same country that sued Gordon Ramsay for cursing too much on his Hell's Kitchen show. What is going on there?

badbez
badbez

sorry for double post but i forgot someone, Michael Atkinson. he should be stabbed for suffering from overly-bastardly syndrome

badbez
badbez

*jonathon187 Posted Oct 28, 2008 10:14 am GMT Those Aussie bastards are funny, so they don't get games for anyone over a 15 year old how pathetic, games are for all ages, should never be classified for little sh!t machines, but I guess thats why there so amusing, anyways good for them.* Correction only the people that work for the Classifaction board are bastards

Vampyre11487
Vampyre11487

Paving the way for "Explicit Content" labels on these little next gen DVD casings.

jonathon187
jonathon187

Those Aussie bastards are funny, so they don't get games for anyone over a 15 year old how pathetic, games are for all ages, should never be classified for little sh!t machines, but I guess thats why there so amusing, anyways good for them.

-Saint
-Saint

This is good news for Australia but I definitely think that banning Fallout 3 initially was unnecessary.

LOXO7
LOXO7

Good thing there is no gamers in Aust. haha :?

Strigidae
Strigidae

I don't understand some people. If you don't like it don't play it. The parents should also stop being so lazy and be careful as to what they buy their kids. They should not spoil it for everyone. When some of us were young our parents did not approve of violent games. They were also cautious as to how much money we recieved and what we spent it on. Some might say it's spying and lack of freedom. That's what you get being 16 or below. It sucks but all of us had to go through it. Last but not least, if I don't like a game I don't buy it. I don't run around organizing petitions to ban something just because I don't like it. Funny thing is that most psychopaths live decent lives, listening to Mozart and going to church and stuff. Or atleast that's how I see it. And that's my right as a human being, to choose what I think. I understand they are avoiding creating a violent society. At times (not always) crazy people are just born that way.

15Aski
15Aski

I think the aussies have a point of banning it... but they should REALLY have an 18 rating instead of 15+

ian4563
ian4563

Um, no, you are the dumbass. "Proscribed" means illegal. The author was saying that morphine is illegal in Australia, hence the fuss. You are correct on your second point though.

ian4563
ian4563

Um, no, you are the dumbass. "Proscribed" means illegal. The author was saying that morphine is illegal in Australia, hence the fuss. You are correct on your second point though.

Sunnyboy777
Sunnyboy777

Man why are they so though on their classification system? I still haven't done anything bad like going on a killing spree (nor planning to) and I play plenty of violent games, like katamari...hell I might even try Little big planet, that's how daring I can be.

michaelsgreat
michaelsgreat

It's "prescribed" not "proscribed". Proscription is the official condemnation of enemies of the state, not what medicine a doctor asks you to take. Dumb ass GameSpot...

sw_and_wet
sw_and_wet

As a gamer in Aus, I think the classification board is stupid, They just randomly ban games. i don't see them ban dead space due to it violence.

Cuban-Rockstar
Cuban-Rockstar

i just want to know. will the changes made for australia be in ALL versions of the game, like the North American version?

roaljalm
roaljalm

You know censorship is alive and well. I think a game should have a very specific warning of what is inside the game, then the potential buyer doesnt find the content appropriate he can just not buy the game. Really does the modern -15 year old have 60 or 70 dollars? The parent is the one buying the game not the kid. These bans are just for lazy parents... if you dont really look at what your buying your child then you probably dont pay attention to a lot more important things than games. Oh well, Im glad our fellow gamers down under will get to try this game. GOOD ON YA AUSSIES.

Andrew0824
Andrew0824

That sucks that Australia doesn't have an adult rating for games. They sound almost as strict as Germany. Well, at least you Aussies will get to play it in some form. It probably won't be that different.

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

ya the Aussies will experience Fallout 3

brownba3
brownba3

Well. here's to hoping that Bethesda includes an edito in the FO3 release. That way we the people (ok you guys who know how to do it!) can build our own modules and provide gaming the way we want it to the community. Good luck 11 days and counting... I think I'm calling in sick the 29th and 30th...

brownba3
brownba3

censorship for the protection of the youts... I wonder what they do about online gaming or the news. Although I believe a society has the right to police itself, I wonder about government enforced dictates on games (especially games I like - and as a US citizen, we have our puritan moral enforcers as well - I always try to get the European versions!)I believe that they shouldenforce the adult rating and who is able to buy the game and let parents enforce it at home - As an adult (with a 13 yr old) - I appreciate the ratings (now!- I sometimes regret downloading those explicit songs when I'm playing music in the car now!) but think that they should be sufficient - banning or requiring modification is a little bit over the top. Good luck to the Aussies with that issue - the pendulum does swing back... - and by the way only one of the colonies (Georgia) was a penal colony for England - it was to be a buffer from the Spanish settlements.

SataN_69_
SataN_69_

"This was the case with shooter Dark Sector. After being refused classification at the start of 2008, the game's local distributors resubmitted a version with toned-down violence for the Australian market" I see the same thing being done for fallout 3 where the only version thats differnt is the one for austalian markets. So animal503: Do not fear, for the mutants are here.

sanjeev3
sanjeev3

why is everyone hating on Aus, DO YOU THINK WE LIKE THIS?! To have half-wits rating games with absolutely no idea, I mean, whats different with movies?

animal503
animal503

Wait, so what there saying is the game is going to be changed for everyone? If so that bulls#$%, like Wildboy124 said there shouldnt be a lack of an M or R17+ rating, hell Mature games are made for that... mature adults, not 15 year olds. I know, i played GTA and other things when i was even younger but back to the point, there should be a valid rating system that wont ruin games for older folk... seems like a lack of intelligence to me.

alpha337
alpha337

To GonzoGuy and Ardamus. While the joke goes that Australian's are all descendants from convicts (which HadrianII pointed out as false). The one thing they really don't teach in American history usually, is that they only really started to ship more convicts to Australia was because before that they shipped them mostly to the America's! Australia started to get most of the convicts only after the American Revolution. So America started before Australia as penal colony. Guess both us Aussies (myself one)and American's share more in common than we thing usually!

rockatanski
rockatanski

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

brumley53
brumley53

The only changes are the names of the drugs apparently, but who cares the game looks awesome and i cant wait for it.

jay_lee112084
jay_lee112084

I am happy all the Australian gamers get a chance to play games they want to play, I would just be worried that the changes somehow effect the game. Another question to Australia, do you guys have to go on the same reviews as other people? Seems unfair if they mess with your copy to exclude or tone down things they may change the experience, Like Dead Space, I thought the horror gore was the main thing it had going for it, it they removed or toned it down, seems like it would not be the same game at all.

bcfish
bcfish

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

Wildboy124
Wildboy124

I'm just happy its actually coming to Australia now, but I'm holding final judgement for the changes made until I play our full version of the game. Its a shame when these changes are made because of a lack of an R+18 rating, especially considering its a solution to a problem that shouldn't even exist.

Deluhathol
Deluhathol

If anyone is interested, here is an article about the ratings etc: http://www.gpstore.co.nz/News/Archive/10068.html I must say, I am rather angry about this. The way it seems to me, if Australia didn't have their ridiculously childish rating policy, the rest of us would be enjoying the full game. So now, everyone has to deal with Australia's family-friendly version. This is really starting to piss me off.

adarmus47
adarmus47

No worries Gonzo Guy. Perhaps I was a little sensitive. Really looking forward to this game though and I seem to be one of the few fans of Fallout 1 & 2 who is. Still, I can remember the outcry from certain quarters when fallout 2 came out. There were those who disliked the somewhat immature adult content and the many pop culture references among other things. Now I must go for a ride on my kangaroo. Those people will not mug themselves(joke).

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

Jeez. Just effin with you guys: I actually really like Australia and wish I could afford to go there more often. However, I did think Australians had a better sense of humor but I have to remind myself Yhatzee is actually from the UK and things like this keep happening to video games over there. Actually adarmus47 you're pretty spot on there about most Americans (certainly not all) being ignorant, warmongering, loudmouth, xenophobes. And thanks for the history lesson... other one. Learn to take a joke and we might stop testing nuclear bombs there.

adarmus47
adarmus47

That is right bloody-hell(and others) it is just a game. So what does it really matter if the names and visual representation of the drugs are changed. If they still have the same in game effect no harm done really. I must say I do find the OFLC very inconsistent with their decisions at times and I was disgusted with their decision regarding this game but in the end life goes on and I am glad to be playing the game at all in the end. As for GonzoGuy, what a blinkered, ignorant and insulting view of Australia's history. If you want to throw around generalisations how about the belief that all Americans are ignorant, war mongering loudmouths with no concept of the world outside of their own country. I don't believe this to be true of course but you are doing nothing with comments like yours to change that belief.

HadrianII
HadrianII

Gonzoguy, Most of criminals sent to australia by britain were people who had skimped on their taxes,if you were a pyscho you were generally sent to the gallows in those days. They shipped crminals to australia because british jails were over filled do to economic recession and overpopulation. what most people don't know is that before they were sent to australia they were sent to america. Also only a fifth of the first aussies were Criminals, most were legit colonist. It is quite a stretch to suggest that most the population of australia is descended from pyschos

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

I can kind of understand why they do this in Australia: the place was settled by criminals who were so evil they were sent to the other side of the world (this was back in the times when going halfway around the world took half a year). So that means that not only the general populous but also the people in charge were mostly descended from psychos. But that still doesn't explain why Bethesda has to change the game for all of us. I wonder if they'll change it back if we don't buy it. Nobody bought manhunt2 and they never changed that back; but it's doubtful that would've helped. It's good to see that gamespot is on the ball with this story; everyone's complaining about the censorship on a month old article. Way to keep up.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

The "gaming community" didn't have any problem at all with the drug names and usage in the game, it was the OFLC (australian ESRB) who did. Also on GameSpy Bethesda mention that now ALL versions of Fallout3 have been modified, not just the australian version, which sucks big time. And yet again, ALL gamers have to suffer because of someone who can't understand that this is just a game. Just a game ! Let it be, stop the censorship for once ! What really is worrying me are Jamba and other Ringtone and Mobile Phone Software commercials in TV, ruining our kids minds and subliminally forcing them to spend money on stuff they don't need. This is way more troublesome than killing virtual entities or using a Stimpak ...

Victor335
Victor335

All this crap because the "science-fiction" drugs are in line with "real-world" drugs. Who friggin cares? Just cause they LOOK LIKE drugs, isn't going to make kids think that they will get a damage boost if they take some in real life. The drugs in the game are not going to make kids take drugs, if anything, it will stop them cause they are to busy with the game. People need to stop worrying whats in a game, cause it won't stop people from getting their hands on original copies. Their just wasting their bloody time.

deathnight_2000
deathnight_2000

I Hope NZ doesn't get the Aussy Version considering we do have an 18+ rating

BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

am fifteen and well there are some people who are crazy when they play games and get exited I'm not one of them but were not really mature it vary's from person to person i mean am not gonna copy things from The GTA series like getting cop chases but I've heard most of the chavs in Britain (for americans don't know if you have them but there guy or women who think tere hard and are just prats)got the ideas from it like hating the police (******* CHAVS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! )

Qbahno
Qbahno

The banning of Fallout should have never happened in the first place. And I think it's stupid to have the rating MA 15+... Surely fifteen year olds are not mature.

Estovakia
Estovakia

At least the motherf*ckers unbanned it. P*ssed me off when i heard that this game would be banned here. So f*ck OFLC and their Bullsh*t ratings. Let us have R18+ we aern't god-d*mned babies. I'm still buying it from the UK.

rockatanski
rockatanski

I'm not buying the Australian version of Fallout 3. The US version is on my list for sure. F*** the OFLC and their guidelines. F*** this modified version.