Soldier of Fortune: Payback banned in Australia

Activision FPS refused classification down under for "high impact" violence.

Australia's restrictive ratings-classification system for games has struck again. This time, Activision's upcoming first-person shooter Soldier of Fortune: Payback has been hit, with Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) effectively banning the game from sale down under.

The OFLC has refused classification for Soldier of Fortune: Payback for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, which makes it illegal to sell in Australia. Under Australian law, the highest rating that can be slapped on a game is MA15+. On the other hand, films and DVDs can carry up to an R18+ rating, which prohibits sales to anyone under the age of 18. Any video games that do not fit under the OFLC's definition of MA15+ are refused classification.

An OFLC spokeswoman said the OFLC board ruled that Soldier of Fortune: Payback's "playing impact...was a high impact which exceeded the MA15+ classification". Some specific examples included "close-range shooting with substantial blood spray, blood splatters onto the ground and walls, [the ability to] target various limbs of the opponent which can result in dismemberment, and large amounts of blood sprayed which comes from the stump but victims sometimes stay alive."

Activision Australia declined to comment on the banning. Soldier of Fortune: Payback was due for release in Australia in early 2008.

Soldier of Fortune: Payback is by no means alone when it comes to games being banned in Australia. Earlier this year, the OFLC refused classification for Blitz: The League due to its representation of drug use within the game. In 2006, Eidos' Reservoir Dogs was refused classification, as was Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Other games that have been banned in Australia include BMX XXX, Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, Postal, Postal 2, Narc, and more. The two GTA games listed made it back onto the market after some content changes.

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Discussion

304 comments
Never_So
Never_So

I agree with aaronobst that all good gameshave violence, but as a fact ALL games have violence (except thr EC [early childhood] games [I wouldn't know]) so what's the point of banning games when all games have violence in 'em? (To be honest I'm not from australia so I wouldn't know the gaming issues over there. I'm just commenting on what I've read... Sry.)

denaz
denaz

I'm seriously over this. I've just seen the "revised" edition of the game... and its a load of sh!t. They've literally taken all dismemberment out, and most of the blood spray. I'm over it, taking it back right now

aaronobst
aaronobst

all good games contain violence (there are few that dont) but seriously how unfair the rest of the world gets this game and not AUS... what a crock of sh!t

gattattack
gattattack

Does anyone know where I can get the more graphic gameplay vids? I'm a Media Studies teacher at a high school in Victoria and would like to look at this case as part of a unit on censorship and regulation.

Silicon_Noob
Silicon_Noob

"What are the Australian gun laws like? It's stupid to ban violent games if you can still get a permit to buy handguns and shotguns." We have very restrictive gun laws.

thrashunreal
thrashunreal

Seriously, this is starting to get ridiculous.

4x4man
4x4man

Sucks for all the down under people lol. Just get it from ebay lol.

DamnClown
DamnClown

Who do those old fools think they are, our mothers? if it were up to me and God let's hope it is one day, SOF3 would be rated G to show children what will happen to them if they play with weapons, let's face it, people are too busy playing to game to act on violent impulses anyways and even if they were to put down the control it would be most likely cause they've either won it or have gotten bored of the game. Video Games do not cause violence, banning them does.

Lum_Yatsura
Lum_Yatsura

Then why wasn't F.E.A.R. or Doom 3 banned there? What are the Australian gun laws like? It's stupid to ban violent games if you can still get a permit to buy handguns and shotguns.

SetsuOkun
SetsuOkun

fine no prob, how about playing it in reality, aussie players? go run in the streets with a m16, near a school even and kill everything that moves? you won't be able to play the game anyway why not do it real ? f**g censorship s**t .

tankbrain
tankbrain

I'll just get my brother to send me a copy over from newzealand, This game looks so awesome........Australia has rediculous classification laws... man if they make the games R18 it just means whoever sells those games to minors gets fined....simple fix...

DaDude253
DaDude253

this is stupid. gears of war was very voilent and gory but it passed. sometims in games in the little things that make it more voilent then the rest this is bad news for my friend he loves soldeir of fourtune 2 he'l be pissed....

dirty55409
dirty55409

Poor Aussies :( you don't get to kill anybody in videogames. The fun police run your country apparently.

olthof
olthof

I'm not sure why they don't go and give up a R+18 rating for games just like we have for movies. They're both art forms and it seems an incredibility ignorant position to have

Syredeathrooper
Syredeathrooper

Jeez, i wish gamespot could elaborate the violence more so my hunger for this game could increase thrice as much as it already is!! I LOVE VIOLENT GAMES!!!!!!

caneco87
caneco87

Im so gonna get this one

caneco87
caneco87

K_M mister no violence, ur a litte sissy

supaguy
supaguy

This makes me want the game more lol, I'd expect more bans in other places soon though.

CowMan07
CowMan07

mmm violence, ill go check this game out then :P

weathertrooper
weathertrooper

This shows how i've changed in ten somewhat years lol. The gameplay movies make me naseaus. If I were still a kid, maybe I could handle it (the blood and guts). Not now. It'll probably be good, though.

K_M82
K_M82

In my opinion games don't need to be violent to be good. GTA would still be a good game if it tone down the violence. I rented SOF 1&2. I enjoy the game. But the violence is just to much for me (I am 26 now). In the end I didn't buy that game because it is to violent for me. Game should focus on gameplay, not blood and gore.

andrewass121
andrewass121

guys if u are from AU man why not go to a america and buy it there

badgert
badgert

I'm surprised 15 is the limit for games in AU

penguinofire
penguinofire

Hardly surprising. Though as has been pointed out in the forums, it's strange that if that's their rationale for banning the game, the first two SOF games were released handy dandy in AUS. Everyone should read the article Mattyrock linked below - it outlines some of the agenda the ratings board has: http://blogs.theage.com.au/screenplay/archives/view_from_the_hill/002154.html if you can't select the whole address (gets cut before the whole things is displayed), double click on the link to select the whole line, then copy/paste into your browser.

Sandro909
Sandro909

Meh, sucks to be them I guess.

zaptoman
zaptoman

Wow. Put this together with the Aussie gov's massive firearms buyback a few years ago, and its starting to look alot like a socialist nanny state.

barlienb
barlienb

What a surprise... ore...

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

"saragat" like you said. There'll never be an R rating used to classify video games in Australia. If Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo won't allow publishers to release 18yrs+ rated games on their system, what would be the whole point of having a R rating? Pointless. If you're 18 yrs. of age and older I'm sure you could easily import the games. With the new generation consoles being region free and PC having always been region free, there really isn't anything stopping people from buying this game if they really want it. I really don't know why people are so worked up about this. Is it because the OFLC's being contradicting since they gave SOF 1 a classification and not SOF 2? The OFLC has always been contradicting with their decisions. This isn't anything new. I think the reason is because time changes people.

Taiko88
Taiko88

@LAboy06 "Austrailia really sucks when it comes to censorship! Thank God I'm in the U.S.A.!" Call me when your country legalizes marijuana, then we'll talk about censorship and strict policies. :)

AwesomeIRL
AwesomeIRL

"...close-range shooting with substantial blood spray, blood splatters onto the ground and walls, [the ability to] target various limbs of the opponent which can result in dismemberment, and large amounts of blood sprayed which comes from the stump but victims sometimes stay alive." SOLD!

saragat
saragat

The Australian Classification Board are not really responsible for the effective. It is the Attorney-General which sets the standards of classification(The ACT, the CODE, and the REGULATIONS). One issue is that the R18+ for movies is lacking in computer-games, therefore not allowing reaonable adults to purchace video-games with are unsuitable for minors, while still being able to go and see SAW4 - probably an R18+ movie. Although, I am sure that MS, Sony and Nintendo would also jump on the band-wagon and refuse R18+ games on their systems, just like they refuse AO games in he states.

The_Third_Place
The_Third_Place

Lol ok so if you live in Aus and u own a pc, just download this using torrents... If you own a PS3 just import it from overseas! Dont let these idoits stop you from playing a good game!

rockatanski
rockatanski

It would never surprise me if Humphrey Bear got banned here in Aus as well. Well, why not? All he wears is a vest and a tie!! No pants!! He's much bigger than all the kids so they only come up to his waist height.. and the hairy bastard got done for drugs not long ago!! Makes you wonder what the Howard government are up too..

redsavior
redsavior

@Jenkins_2005: "As is, by the looks of it, your beleif in a magical being that created earth and all of its creatures on some form of whim." Isn't it true that science was considered magic until it was understood? Both creationism and the big bang/evolution have the same problem: Neither can be recreated nor duplicated in such a way that a human could observe. Both, because of this, takes faith to believe. Regardless, this is waaaay off topic now.

Devvy01
Devvy01

What a load of policital bollocks. I don't see them rushing to stop the Hitman movie from being banned

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

It feels so good to have some non-elected clown decide what we can watch/play. This truly is a nanny society!

forhekset
forhekset

I'm pretty sure I've seen BMX XXX and others for hire. I also remember hiring Manhunt.

jaredrichards3
jaredrichards3

don't worry about it guys, just download it from direct2drive.com when it's released.

sw_and_wet
sw_and_wet

Although I live in AUS but I never respect the gov. None of them are good at politic and none of them are smart enough to work as a leader of the society. Those people always do things unbelievably that make me LMAO, they ban games and movies, and for god sake they allow drugs, porn, alcohol abuse in the society. There are things way more important and serious they need to deal with, and they choose to ban a harmless game, which they can simply tag a rating on it. If the gov don't want violence affect the kids, they should just stop John Howard sending troops to war. Afterall games are just games, they can't do any thing to the children if the gov have a efficient regulation to back it up.

smc_sewer
smc_sewer

Votes! thats all it is. I work 3 days a week for my wage the other 2 days i work just to pay the tax so little johnnie howard can top up his greedy wallet and what do i get for it? some GLC ( government licenced criminal) tells me an adult that i cant access a game that teenagers in the civilised world can openly play. Stuff polititians and there cronnies if they were not here australia might be a good place to live...god help us all.

Deano
Deano

it's not a big deal you know, I'll just order it in from overseas as i've done for other games that have been "banned". I buy all my games from overseas anyway as it's cheaper so this news doesn't bother me.

Jedi_Max
Jedi_Max

lamprey263 what the hell are you talking about? There are many gamers here in Australia. That article only proves how popular the DS is here. Are you just upset that the PS3 hasn't sold well here?

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Meh. I import a lot of my games. Doesn't bother me.