Left 4 Dead 2 banned in Australia

Aussie Classification Board cites "realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence" as cause for antipodean zombie game ban.

Left 4 Dead 2's planned mid-November local release was put in jeopardy today, when the Australian Classification Board had put its legislative foot down. The Classification Board is the government body responsible for rating all video games content authorised for sale in the country. According to its Web site, Valve's upcoming first-person shooter has been refused classification (RC) for failure to adhere to the current maximum MA 15+ ratings guideline for games. (Only films can reach the board's maximum R18+ rating.) The announcement means the Valve title is now illegal to sell, rent, or promote within Australia.

Artist's representation of the ACB dashing hopes of Australian gamers.

GameSpot AU contacted the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, seeking clarification as to why the title was refused classification. An EA spokesperson confirmed the ban but declined to comment on the possibility of edits or resubmission, saying, "We're still working through the submission process with the [Classification Board], we want to explore all opportunities before we can make a comment." The Classification Board was unavailable to provide an overview of the reason for the ban at the time of print.

Left 4 Dead 2 marks the fourth game banned in Australia this year, joining Risen, Sexy Poker, and Necrovision--the latter two of which were approved for sale after being resubmitted with changes. The original Left 4 Dead game was given the maximum MA 15+ rating when it went on sale in Australia in November last year.

Left 4 Dead 2 tells the story of four survivors in the southern United States and is spread across five campaigns, each divided up into several levels. The original Left 4 Dead was praised for its dynamic AI and online cooperative play.

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for full details as they become available. For more on Australia's classification regime, check out our Censory Overload feature.

[UPDATE] GameSpot AU has received the official ruling from the Classification Board. The refusal largely focuses on the Board's interpretation of the game's violence, finding that "the game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon 'the Infected' who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently."

The ruling goes on to say, "However, it is the use of the 'melee' weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore."

Interestingly the report also notes that "a minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the consumer advice of strong violence," suggesting the ruling was anything but unanimous among Board members.

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416 comments
Waffledog
Waffledog

Why is left 4 dead 2 being banned? but left 4 dead was rated M15+? left 4 dead and left 4 dead 2 are basically exactly the same left 4 dead had "blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore." Apart from the melee weapons it just shows us the same detail as much as taking a zombies head off with a shotgun or taking off a limb with the hunting rifle... if you ask me i Think this is a load of crap. DAMN YOU STUPID CLASSIFICATION BOARD!!!

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

one day gamers around australia might kill whoever is banning all these games

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

after looking at MA15+ rated movies and MA15+ games apperently movies are more violent than games

Kenbo325
Kenbo325

Ouch...I feel sorry for the Aussies :(

rockatanski
rockatanski

I hope Steam doesn't prevent us from installing the US version..

dr_satan666
dr_satan666

What's next? Games involving vampires are banned because they were once human??? This whole situation is completely friggin ridiculous!!! What's worse, this is ruining the reputation of Australian gamers..... People of the world: We are not Nazis, we just have the unfortunate dishonour of our country being run by them....

isnot-important
isnot-important

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

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

Do they realize that more people here in Australia will now just buy the game online and get it posten here...We really need a R+18 rating here, and I'm sure there are alot of movies and games rated MA+15 that are just as bloody and gory as Left 4 Dead 2 will probably be. I can't belive how stupid people can be.

isnot-important
isnot-important

Australian censorship laws - Promoting piracy since the 1990s.

Ozzy_Jacob
Ozzy_Jacob

Damn didnt get the first one and was gunna get this one. O'well.

ddt88
ddt88

Atkinson strikes again... R Tard

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@ dr_satan666: I know this is a bit weird, but I want to say I'm sorry for saying what I said before. I was in a bad mood. Sorry again.

cheynz
cheynz

Hmm, crickey that sucks, eh mate? (sorry had to do it, come into the U.S. and I'll slip ya a copy.)

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Once again the public of Australia has to put up with this throwback to the dark ages way of thinking, I was in an E.B store yesterday and there wasn't a kid in site...go figure.

steelmouth
steelmouth

am sure glad where i live the gorvement ant consend abt any type of ratings,if its good for the americans and europeans then its good enough for us (except for porno) yip i dought if the gorvement ever even bother to check the rating,am sure glad to be leaving in botswana,but i feel for you guys,sorry

Scarshi
Scarshi

Oh, I'm just not surprised anymore. R18+ rated games will come, but when "they" want it to. Maybe one day the media will jump on the issue full-hog, that's usually what makes anything happen these days.

Warlord2000
Warlord2000

It's a pity this happens in our country, I see it as a stain on our democratic way of life, the freedoms of adult audiences to enjoy adult content is heavily compromised in the video game genre, and as we all know not in other forms of media, because of the misconception by bureaucrats that games are for children..... its all too reminiscent of communist or fascist media censorship.

bennae66
bennae66

not unanimous! did you hear that? we are making progress. dammit we are getting there... yeeeeooow!

jackdeath
jackdeath

well well well here we are again ,another game banned for violence when is some body going to step up and take the game world in aus out of the dark ages and give us the 18 clas we need and all this crap would go away......Mark

AfroDeLiGht
AfroDeLiGht

Maybe the Australian government is comprised of brain-dead zombies, who are offended by the killing of their own kind in a video game.

zaiwen
zaiwen

good thing i don't live there woohoo

jamesh-42
jamesh-42

@sconradp: it isn't that simple. The classification board is just applying the rules they are required to by law. If they misclassify something, then someone will ask for the decision to be reviewed. If too many films and games were sent to the review board, then people might ask whether the classification board is doing their job. The real problem is the limited set of classifications available for video games. If you want something changed there, write to your state attorney general and ask what he is doing to get the R18+ for games discussion paper released.

blangenakker
blangenakker

Valve will just tune it down a little bit that there is no difference and then it will be allowed Australia. killing zombies has a different feeling to killing humans

dr_satan666
dr_satan666

I don't understand what the big deal is. If anything having an R18+ rating in our country, would only make things easier. It's not like we're asking for every MA rated game to be rated R. But there are some that deserve such a rating, played by adults but not by teens.

collingtonuk
collingtonuk

Hey chakkerz, you'll always get some nut who makes rediculous comments about how if something effects one in ten thousand then everyone suffers to protect them. The average person does not abide by that sort of rubbish but too often its the person who shouts the loudest that gets noticed, you just got to get together and shout louder. Ausie retailers are losing out because of these stupid laws, thats money that is falling out of your system to the yanks or us in europe. Hammer your MP's, get it noticed and ask them to give the Ausie public enough credit not to ned the state to lead them by the hand.

Toxic22
Toxic22

At least they didn't ban it for some stupid reason like they did with fallout 3. Still pritty pissed off about it though.

WTA2k5
WTA2k5

It's good to see that Australia is against half-assed sequels.

SporkFireXPS
SporkFireXPS

I have to say I dislike the ESRB as it is right now but this ACB is even worse.

Phoenix6359
Phoenix6359

as much as i hate left 4 dead i am getting sick of these bannings, the stupid part is that new zealand has r18+ yet we don't, are kiwis more able to deal with violence and gore than aussies? :P

masterchief2371
masterchief2371

F**k they banned everything to left 4 dead 2, bottle of water not they are saying they will ban free sport tv http://www.keepsportfree.com.au totally ridculous a country with 21 million people they ban eveything.

TofuZombie
TofuZombie

@shadowysea07 Legal age to drink here is 18, legal age to drive without supervision after passing ridiculously strict tests is also 18. GTAIV was banned at first, then reclassified after a few changes were made, same as EVERY other GTA title since Vice City. My point? Don't comment on things you know nothing about. Glad I live in Australia.

sconradp
sconradp

The ACB is simply justifying their existence . I'm sure that if they dont ban x number of games per year or look to be making a difference they may jeopardize future funding. Eg. It sucks for all us gamers. But this is the way of the world . Reality is that the idiots at the ACB have to do sothing in between games of minesweeper. Why screw us by banning a game or two. Stuff em I will be importing a pal version from overseas. ACB are a joke

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

here goes the ban stick from ACB again... another backward steps. whats wrong with an MA+ rating slap on it. i'm sure most mature 15 year old kids out there can chose whats good for them.

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

thats so stupid so you can drink and drive by the age of 14 over there but you can't play a zombie killing video game? i don't remember them banning gta over there and its 10X worse than left4dead. glad i live in the us.

ColdGen
ColdGen

It's ridiculous when they can give porn a classification.

-expletive-
-expletive-

"illegal to sell, rent, or promote" So at least it's not illegal to PLAY. Would be funny if it was, though. Sisters snitching on brothers, massive police raids...

Roflstrike
Roflstrike

and??????????? Just because it is more violent than the first. The thing that matters now is that we need to change that law before we lose more and more games.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

"However, it is the use of the 'melee' weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore." That just sounds awesome. I'll be downloading from Valve directly. And support R-rating in games!

ptysau
ptysau

This MA15+ max is just going to bite the Classification Board in the backside as most people will just import from overseas which only really hurts Aussie retailers. Funny how most MA15+ games over here get classified as R18 everywhere else?..