Two-pronged strategy to get Left 4 Dead 2 into Australia; Valve says releasing unmodified version is its preference. UPDATE: Valve calls Classification Board L4D2 ruling "inconsistent."
You could almost hear the collective wails of gamers around Australia last month when news broke that Valve's upcoming zombie shooter Left 4 Dead 2 had fallen afoul of local censors. The game was refused classification down under, with the Australian Classification Board finding that "the game contain[ed] 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."
While publisher EA and Valve spokespeople have previously expressed their disappointment about the banning, few other details have been made available about how the companies plan to beat the ruling. Valve cofounder and managing director Gabe Newell changed that today, unveiling a two-pronged plan to try to get Left 4 Dead 2 to Australian shores.
Newell, who is currently visiting Sydney, Australia, told a press conference that two versions of Left 4 Dead 2 have now been resubmitted to the Australian Classification Board--the original, unaltered version and one with some modifications. While no details were made available as to what has been altered in the second version, Newell did state that Valve still wants the original version sold here, hence the dual submission.
"Right now we're pursuing two tracks: the first track is to release the product that we've created as is in Australia. 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 that point I start to run into problems with getting through certification with Microsoft and then getting manufactured in time in order to make November 17.
"We are going to continue to go down that path. 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," said Newell.
When asked how Valve would handle distribution of an update to users who may end up with a toned-down version of the game with a full-strength product passed fit for sale, Newell responded "Well, on the PC side we'd just update them so it's easy there. I don't have a real clear idea of how we would be able to provide that to Xbox customers. Our hope is to not get into that situation and have the Xbox version be available. Certainly what we would like to do is make it freely available to anybody if we had to make it available after initial shipments. That's what we're trying to avoid."
When asked whether he felt the Classification Board's ruling was in line with the release of the first Left 4 Dead game in Australia without modification, Valve project manager Erik Johnson told GameSpot AU, "It feels inconsistent, I think it's fair to say it's inconsistent."
Stay tuned to GameSpot AU as more information on the classification comes to hand.
Im happy i live in Virgin Island St. Croix US and not in AUS. because if i lived in AUS i would just kill myself if i have to play a game called "Riding a perty girly pony in the dazys tra la la la la"
im sick of our government(AUS) making us look like little girls,, "oh this game is to violent, and the people look to real" yea thats makes it better.. i heard its all this one old farts fault we dont have the R18+ for games here wait till the old bastard dies the rating should go up to R18+
Is this all about the guilt that Australians have about being spawned from criminals in a penal colony. Just a theory.
@mrklorox: I realized that shortly after posting...but I'm still confused as to why Gabe is submitting two versions when one of them was already rejected?
And just to clarify for those that don't get it. The "logic" behind Australia not having a classification higher than MA15+ yet we have a R18 rating for all other media is video games consist of active participation in said acts deemed not fit for kiddies, where as movies and books are merely passive obervation. Not a defense, just an explanation behind the thinking of the OFLC here in Aus.
The OFLC have Classified the "editied for Australia" version of L4D2 as MA15+ http://www.classification.gov.au/www/cob/find.nsf/5b6ebdff7f5b9a24ca2575ca00062226/981b9f23b74dbc0aca2576480057fedc!OpenDocument This is the backup plan for if the appeal due to be reviewed on the 22nd of October (in time for the demo release on the 27th) fails. So we will be getting something at least. @Sins-of-Mosin You can't import it. It's region locked for one, so if someone gifts it to you from a region where it's available, or you import a boxed version, you still have to register it with Steam, and you'll get a big fat "Game unavailable in this region". Also, even if you could import it, there'll be no locally hosted servers, and playing with a ping of 200+ would make for a very poor gaming experience.
Just to clarify for those not understanding the reason for our frustrations. In Australia our ratings system goes - G (General Exhibition), PG (Parental Guidance), M (Mature Audience), MA15+ (Mature Audience, but those under 15 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian), R18+ (restricted to 18 and over). Our video game system is the same except we don't have an R18+ rating. games need to meet a certain criteria and seemed suitable for a 15 year old otherwise, they are refused classification effectively banning them in Aus. Certain adult games get shoe-horned into the MA15+ category, making them available to minors. Ironic, how that is our governments biggest defence, (they want to protect the children)... Ultimately the system is flawed and Australia is the ONLY system in the world that doesn't have an adult rating for video games. Naturally this pisses us off...
If we had a friggin R18+ it wouldn't need to be re-submitted. Why are they delaying the inevitable. We have to have an R18 rating, I mean it's simple friggin logic. 99% of gamers know it, why don't our nazi government.
I'm sorry but this is incredibly lame. Why is it that this game can't be released there? I mean seriously, when a game is made for a mature audience it SHOULD get a rating to reflect that. However I feel that effectively banning a game just because they think it's TOO much is ridiculous. It's no worse than so many other games already released there...so why would this game be held to a different standard?
Australia feels it is special and needs censorship in videogames? Here in America and the rest of the FREE world, we call that opression. The government telling us what we can or cannot do is unacceptable in this day and age. Freedom of speech, expression and beliefs. All this trouble for a videogame where you kill zombies? Please, I'd tell Valve not to waste their time on a pathetic dispute and get working on more games like Half Life
perhaps for 360 sell a blocked version and only unlock it if they have a registered credit card with the gamer tag
rabies like virus? the hell do they mean rabies like virus? they are zombies u know came back from the dead with a appearent urge to kill and eat the living im pretty sure 30 shots to the stomach wont cure the zombies...unless its from an ak47 ;)
Personally, I would just tell the Aussie's where they could stick it and simply offer the game online to whoever wishes to buy it. It's time for those idiots in the world who think that they can make the entire world 'kid-safe' or are on a quest to 'protect the minds of the populace' that we don't need them and that they are more a threat than anyone who has been 'warped' by games, which is a grand total of ZERO thus far in the world.
L4D is a great game even without the blood / gore but obviously i wouldn't want to change with the Australians.
It's one thing for standards of content to be needlessly strict, but what's worse is that there seems to be no logic in which violent games get released and which ones don't.
Hopefully the original will be accepted. In a previous GS article on this, it said not all OFLC raters agreed with banning it, so it wasn't a unanimous vote at least.
Nice to see they put effort into getting the game to their fans, one way or the other. Much respect.
everyone stop complaining about the country do you know how lucky we are to live in a rich and uncrowded area? its the only place in the world thats quite like that its just unlucky who the people in the OFLC are and all that they know and understand
who the hell cares .. l4d 1 was completely ruined by the lack of dedicated servers in australia.. unless they start adding local servers i dont think we'll be missing much
I wouldn't be surprised if all the OFLC bothered to do was look at a few trailers of the game and just made their decision from that. It certainly explains most of the inconsistencies.
I don't get the point of banning. People who want this game will get it one way or another. Seriously, how many news actually show video games influencing violence to gamers? Not that enough to ban a game! Their just promoting piracy to people who are loyal enough to actually buy the game. :(
@SomeUndeadGuy Yeah that guy needs to be forced out of that position, I hate it when idiotic people are given such positions.
its great that valve isnt forgetting about us down in aus. but the fact that they know if the game is totally banned, then people will just turn to piracy - is surely incentive as well.
2010 releases for Australia. BANNED BANNED BANNED BANNED BANNED Dogz 2034 BANNED BANNED BANNED BANNED Barbie horse ride adventure BANNED BANNED The list goes on.
@SomeUndeadGuy, your spot on mate, it seems we keep electing bloody idiots into Parliment. Its a piss weak excuse that sooner or later will be over turned.
to all you resident of USA asking why, it's because Australia doesn't have an adults rating level for Games. the ratings don't go further than MA15+, there is no rating for 18+ gamers. And this is because one moronic Attorney General is sitting on it. We need all of them to agree to an R18+ rating but this one guy is holding it up with his 'think of the children' ideas. He's a moron to say the least.
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