Left 4 Dead 2 classified down under

UPDATE: Modified version of L4D 2 takes out decapitation, dismemberments; Valve and EA still hoping to get unedited version of game passed for sale in Australia.

After being banned, appealed, and most recently resubmitted, the fate of Valve’s upcoming zombie shooter Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia was anyone’s guess.

But gamers around Australia can finally rest easy: Left 4 Dead 2 finally passed Aussie censors this morning, receiving a classification of MA15+ for "strong, bloody violence." The date of the classification is listed as Wednesday, October 7, coinciding with Valve cofounder and managing director Gabe Newell’s visit to Sydney.

Newell told GameSpot AU yesterday that the publisher had resubmitted two versions of Left 4 Dead 2 to the Australian Classification Board following the Board’s decision earlier this month to refuse the game classification; the two versions are the original, unaltered version as well as one with some modifications.

"Right now we're pursuing two tracks: the first track is to release the product that we've created as is in Australia,” Newell said yesterday. “This is our very strong preference and what we're working with the [Classification Board] to see if we can achieve--so we have an appeal of their decision. The issue there is that that process is fairly slow and that the next step on that isn't going to occur until October 22.

“At the same time we've also submitted an Australia-specific version of the game which we think is fully compliant with the [Classification Board's] guidelines for content. We may actually hear about that version today. So the goal is to guarantee that something will be available on November 17 in Australia while at the same time pushing to get approval for that to be the full version of the game.”

Judging by Newell’s comments, GameSpot AU believes the version of Left 4 Dead 2 that has now been classified MA15+ is the Australia-specific version.

Calls to the Australian Classification Board and to EA (the Australian distributor for Left 4 Dead 2) were not returned at the time of publication.

UPDATE: While EA and Valve have been quiet about exactly what content had been changed in the "modified version" of Left 4 Dead 2, Australia's Classification Board hasn't been as silent. The Board has provided GameSpot AU with a copy of today's Left 4 Dead 2 ruling, which states that the modified version of the game recently resubmitted "no longer contains depictions of decapitations, dismemberment, wound detail, or piles of bodies lying about the environment".

"It is the Board's view that the element of violence in the game has been sufficiently modified and is now able to be accommodated within the MA15+ classification," the report stated.

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