Even by Australian standards, 2008 has been a depressing year when it comes to game bannings down under. The country's tough censorship laws have seen several games banned from sale this year, including Silent Hill: Homecoming, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, Dark Sector, and Fallout 3 (although the last two were eventually allowed to be sold locally after some content modifications were made). Unfortunately for gamers, there's more bad news to come.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin--the sequel to hit first-person shooter F.E.A.R.--has been refused classification in Australia by the local Classification Board, making it illegal to sell or even bring into the country. In Australia, the highest rating available for a game is MA15+, as opposed to other forms of media, such as film or DVDs, which have an R18+ classification that prohibits sales to anyone under the age of 18. Games that feature content deemed unsuitable for an MA15+ rating are refused classification and are effectively banned from sale.
Project Origin was scheduled for release down under in February, 2009. The horror-themed action shooter continues the story of the first game, while adding new elements such as the ability to pilot mechs within the game. Keep it locked to GameSpot for more on this story, including official confirmation from the Classification Board as to exactly why Project Origin was banned.
UPDATE: According to the Classification Board report on Project Origin, the game was refused classification because of its "high-impact violence".
"The violence is considered highly impactful in such scenes as where Michael uses his sub machine gun to explicitly bisect an enemy, the two parts of the body lying separately on the ground, with copious blood spray. There are also a number of explicit close range decapitations involving both human and mutant creatures. The decapitations are the result of close-up throat slashing from behind and close-up gunshots to the throat," the Board report says.
"All violence results in large blood spray: there are blood-stained interiors and blood sprays onto objects, including the camera lens. With weapons such as sniper rifles, bodies can be torn apart at close range, limbs are seen flying off and the wounded flesh is reduced to a bloody pulp. The use of nail-guns pins victims to a wall before they fall to the ground in a bloody mass. The scenes often have blood soaked walls and floors and the victims’ bodies do not always disappear."
A Warner Bros. Interactive spokesman confirmed to GameSpot AU that the company will be appealing the Classification Board's decision, and was "looking at all avenues" to ensure Project Origin gets an Australian release.