Risen banned down under

Drug and sex-incentive gameplay causes Australian ban of fantasy RPG.

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Australia's video game classification system has claimed its third victim for 2009 with Piranha Bytes-developed role-playing game, Risen, turned back at the border. The game joins the banned club alongside titles Sexy Poker and Necrovision, both of which were later passed fit for sale after resubmission with changes to their respective offending content. The Classification Board’s refusal to grant the game green-light status at the maximum MA15+ rating due to its inappropriate sexual material and drug use now makes Risen illegal to sell, rent, or promote down under.

GameSpot AU was able to obtain the Classification Board’s full decision report for the game, and the document outlines specifics of its failure to adhere to the maximum available rating. In several instances, the Board found that the game used sexual activity and drug use in conjunction with in-game incentives. “The game contains ‘quests,’ which a player may choose to complete by acquiring the sexual service of prostitutes. Though it is purportedly not a necessary element of the gameplay, players gain rewards or advance through the game more easily by engaging in sexual activity with prostitutes." The ruling specifically highlights a scenario in which the game’s protagonist is able to bribe or distract a guard by visiting a brothel and paying the mistress for the use of a girl.

The Board also found that use of an in-game drug called “Brugleweed,” which is “commonly referred to in text and dialogue as ‘weed’ or a ‘weed reefer’ and rewarded players who used it with experience points, failed to meet acceptable classification guidelines. In Risen, a player can both trade and smoke this drug, which mirrors an illegal ‘real-world’ drug in its terminology, use, and depiction.”

Madman Interactive, the game’s Australian distributor, confirmed the ban to GameSpot AU, but a spokesperson declined to outline specifics of the company’s future plans for the title. "We're working with the publisher to come to a resolution, but before that, we're looking at the options available to us, whether we take it to review or to amend and resubmit," he said.

Risen is set in a fantasy island named Faranga where your character has been stranded after a shipwreck. The island has been experiencing strange occurrences, which have seen the sudden appearance of dangerous creatures threatening the island's equilibrium. The game currently has no planned Australian release date, though it’s due to launch on the PC and Xbox 360 platforms in October this year.

For more on Australia's classification regime, check out our Censory Overload feature.

Discussion

115 comments
insanitycheck6
insanitycheck6

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

Rauku
Rauku

More on topic is that in the game they even say that "brugleweed" isn't even a weed, it's probably closer to tobacco than anything else, at least its probably more pure than the chemical death sticks they sell in real life. I'd goes as far to say that the game sets a better example in that if you're gonna smoke, use pure stuff not the poison-laced crap.

vonsvin
vonsvin

This is why Andrew Ryan built Rapture.

Supabul
Supabul

This game is terrible on 360, but awesome on PC

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

ahh soccer moms, ignoring their childerns' actions and when they do something blame something else (video games, movies, etc.) i have a feeling that the increase of parents who don't raise their kids right and blame their childern's misbehavior on games and such will make childern overly sheltered and not prepared for the real world, therfore screwing them over. i mean seriously, how hard is it to read a ****ing M or +16 rating on a god damn? "i didn't know this was in the game." dumbass its on the back of the ****ing case! if this keeps up, Australia and any other country who has people who get the government to 'protect' kids will have a generation of confused mommas' boys/girls who will not be able to defend their nation if the need arises. besides, ITS NOT ****ING REAL! god damn...........why are so many people idiots. sorry bout the rant, these kind of people just piss me off to no end.

Gabe447
Gabe447

Holy crap! u can learn worse stuff from movies than games bunch of douches they are !

Gadrath
Gadrath

Let me tell you about the rating system in Australia, they don't have 18+, anything that the rest of the world would rate over 15/16+ gets banned, if you never wanna grow up, go to Australia, you'll be a minor for life :P

Paladin_basic
Paladin_basic

The prostitution part they refer to is not even graphic in nature! I thought the UK was bad enough, but Australia is 100 times worse when it comes to being told what you can and can't do... nanny state anyone? If they want to ban anything, they should ban backpacking, now there is a real world risk in Aus :P lol

xdnbkingx
xdnbkingx

Do you have to get permission to sleep aswell or is that banned ? lol that country is a joke, well the people that run it anyway.

Sea666
Sea666

The ban down under is downright ridiculous.

fzd88
fzd88

lol. If anyone actually enjoys the "sex" in this game, they need some serious help. NPCs smoking was fun to see though.

Jaggermaster
Jaggermaster

The Australian censorship is run by @$$ hats

Freakin-Gamer
Freakin-Gamer

@ Bboyjhin It'll still be sold in the US, but not in Australia.

Bboyjhin
Bboyjhin

wait so its not going to be release in the usa no more?

Jax-999
Jax-999

im an Aussie and it is total BS, i ended up just downloading the game but i mean come on, its just stupid, as if someones gunna all of a sudden start smoking weed just because of a game.. all i can say is our ratings board is a joke

LXIndustries
LXIndustries

Agreed as below, I own the Witcher, and that seems far worse.

BDL91
BDL91

lol the witcher has a way better sex scene , and that wasnt banned

HalfBak3dM0nkey
HalfBak3dM0nkey

The prostitution scene is laughable at best, and the woman Olga gives you a Jest Scroll after you pay the 50 gold coin to supposeduly get with her. Nothing ensues and the screen goes black and at the end gives you the scroll like nothing happened. The "weed reefer" is perhaps a name at best, and really does not rival anything at all to cannabis. Censorship in this day and age for selected words of taboo is really absurd, and it is something that should bring the whole Australia rating system down to the ground.

Hazzerz
Hazzerz

"players gain rewards or advance through the game more easily by engaging in sexual activity with prostitutes" Wow, just like real life :O

RedEyedMonster8
RedEyedMonster8

I've heard many a horrible thing about Aussie censors, and no I'm not just talking gaming. It's almost like the country isn't truly free.

a140lbstud
a140lbstud

You got to love the nanny states. Sadly this is the kind of sh*t that the USA is getting closer to... A govt completely out of touch with reality coming in and controlling every aspect of peoples lives...

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

ahahaha love livin in NZ cuz u go into the stores and some games have a banned in Australia sticker on them, NZ wins again :P

Forseti666
Forseti666

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

Forseti666
Forseti666

Damn im happy i dont live in Australia, besides the trillion things that can kill you over there and the beyond abysmal internet connection with the "civilized" world, they probably have a bunch of Amish dudes in charge of their game and movie classification boards. Seriously like some sex and drug references or some violence in a GAME will turn all kids into crazy violent drug dealing pimps...

SithLord5566
SithLord5566

What about fable2 there were prostitutes in that, and u could also be a bigamist which is also illegal in AUS. Also what about San Andreas, there are lots of drug references, maybe its because you destroy the drugs, hmmmm. Classification Board of AUS = EPIC FAIL

Darthnomann
Darthnomann

feliscele@ Maybe the next game it will be nicer seeing from Gothic 2 the Sexscene there :P i guess they are getting softer :O.. the rules are getting heavier and heavier for every year.. its abit wierd is it because of the graphics getting better or just more idiotic people getting in charge?

ThatsSimtastic
ThatsSimtastic

Just heard about it before, but the game looked interesting and something I wouldn't mind playing. Until I get told it's banned. This is f-ing ridiculous, Australian's like to consider themselves as "the lucky country" but I now see us as the unlucky country due to these ridiculous bannings. God dammit >:( When will they learn that not all gamers are 10 year olds who need someone to tell them what they can play and what they can't!

jakeclout0
jakeclout0

Lol just sent an email to the classification board complaining

jakeclout0
jakeclout0

im gonna lose it one day.. over protective classification board

Evilnator
Evilnator

I feel sorry for autstralia, all the good stuff gets banned there, they are never able to get anything decent in full.... What will they do to DA:O?

feliscele
feliscele

Wow...Risen looks no worse than Oblivion, tamer even. Oblivion had a quest where you almost get seduced and robbed/raped, not to mention the Skooma (drug) dens all over the place...and that had a "T" rating until the stupid nude patch. Australia has their heads somewhere inappropriate, that's all I can say.

akvii
akvii

someone kill that bastard in south Australia who is stopping the board from implementing an R rating for games, and god dam our stupid laws that say every governor or what not has to say yes for it to pass, what happened to democracy where majority rules, instead we have one person saying no so the law is chucked. I love my country but god i hate our government.

U2pdp727a1
U2pdp727a1

That's actually suprising, I mean it doesn't look like there will be too much of that stuff, and to be illegal to even promote is a little harsh.

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

We have to get rid of the Victorian-era institutions in this country. Banning millions of Australians from accessing a game because of mature content is undemocratic. Prove that mature content in games is more dangerous than mature content in movies. People should not have their rights to spend their recreation time however they want taken away, because of one politician's problem with games.

Vendicators
Vendicators

I have to say a lot of people bought Age of Conan because of the mature content and awesome graphics. The Mature Rating usually keeps kids from buying it at stores, useless there illiterate parent buys it.... Being in the older gamer crowd I always look for game like these where game play and action doesn't follow the norm. Getting real old with all these MMORPG / RPG are all generally the same. Good for Deep Silver, Piranha Bytes trying to get out of the box

Shinkada
Shinkada

It's the principle that's the problem here. Do you need sex and drugs to make a good game? Of course not. In fact either of the two having too prevalent appearance in a game (eg sex appeal in Bayonetta) turn me AGAINST it. That doesn't mean they should be ****ing BANNED. They should be ignored and insulted, sure, but banning them implies either we don't have the good taste required to decide what makes a rubbish game, or that we don't have the responsibility required to stop our kids from playing rubbish games. It's just nannying and it's insulting. Get the hell rid of it.

maliGGs
maliGGs

good ol' aussie government supporting piracy again. cheers michael atkinson, i hope your kids get cancer and you get to see them all die slowly.

takitoes
takitoes

Have to agree with Jazz, i barely knew about this game, and now im going to find other means of getting the uncut version. Whole debate has gone on too long, its pathetic. Should have been decided months ago, and the obvious answer is to introduce 18+ classification, all the arguments against it are flawed.

jazz360
jazz360

well, classification board to me is a fail, since it only forces me to find other means of getting a game. An sorry to say, the internet opens a way.

anthonysarah
anthonysarah

They should lay of our games and censor channel 10, you ever watch Good news week- total smut.

Fusion_Master
Fusion_Master

im getting sick of this... would a famous painter be asked to painter over parts of his masterpiece? furthermore i dont give a flying f**k about these people who are passing judgment for us. i'll play what i want.

JFHansen
JFHansen

By now, I usual take it as a good omen, when they ban a game down there. It often meens its a good game :D

NuKkU
NuKkU

man every thing gets banned down there

lee1823
lee1823

ooohh... never heard of this, but it looks quite good! made by the same devs as gothic by the looks...... gothic games had their shortfalls, but i loved em! Always wished they brought gothic 3 out on 360 so im gonna get this.

Hydrolix
Hydrolix

Wow, I am kind of shocked that the arguments on this board consist mostly of change the ratings system arguments as opposed to change the gov't argument. Why does the AUS gov't have the power to ban a game in the first place!?