Aussie Censor Watch 2011
We look into the future and pick out a few games that we think may face the wrath of the Australian Classification Board during 2011.
Australia's outdated and much-lamented video game classification system means that games can be classified only up to a maximum MA15+ rating. Until the oft-requested R18+ rating is introduced, Aussies who indulge in digital entertainment are at the mercy of the Australian Classification Board's ban of content deemed too mature for the rating bracket. 2010 has been a comparatively light year on the censorship front, with Sega's Aliens vs. Predator ban decision overturned and the game going on sale locally.
Is 2011 looking any better for Aussie gamers? We took a quick look into the GameSpot AU crystal ball for the next 12 months to point the finger at titles that may be touch and go with the Australian Classification Board and why they might face a tough time getting through.
Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem is a manly man. He likes his women scantily clad and his violence over the top. While this might sound like a good formula for a video game, it's a virtual no-no checklist for the Aussie Classification Board. Developer Gearbox Software hasn't shown off too much of Duke's new outing, but we have seen him kick an enemy's eyeball through a set of football posts and two women dressed up as schoolgirls in a compromising position. Duke Nukem games have always pushed the boundaries of decency, so we'll be watching this game with plenty of interest and crossed fingers.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line might seem like the odd one out in this list, but after our 15-minute preview session at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, we walked out feeling nauseous. During our brief look, we were confronted with corpses hanging from lampposts and civilians being executed at point-blank range in the streets. If we had to pick one moment that shocked us the most, it would probably be when the protagonist went to meet up with a group of survivors. Out of nowhere, napalm started raining down singed death. Throughout the bombardment we heard screams for help and cries of pain and then silence--nasty stuff indeed. Spec Ops: The Line isn't the first game to deal with the brutalities of war and won't be the last, but there was something between the cries of civilians before they were executed and the smoke coming off burning bodies that has potential to put the ACB's crosshairs on this title.
While the most recent Mortal Kombat game saw the franchise's heavyweights take on DC mainstays like Superman and tone down the violence in the process, this time around developer NetherRealm is going straight for the jugular. You need to play the new Mortal Kombat for only a few minutes to realise that it's not for the fainthearted. Copious amounts of blood spray out of bodies with each punch, organs are ripped out, and avatars are bifurcated in plain sight. To make matters worse, some of the more gory moves in the game go into a slow-motion X-ray view that gives you the chance to see the full extent of the wounds you're inflicting. Sure, it's the violence in Mortal Kombat that put it on the radar, but from what we've seen, it has enough gore to make it a potential candidate for the big red ban stamp in 2011.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Metal Gear Solid: Rising marks the first time that series creator Hideo Kojima won't be the driving force behind a full entry in the main Metal Gear series. This changing of the guard represents a new pace not only in regard to gameplay, but also in its approach to violence. Previous Metal Gear games have seen blood splatter before, but never to the extent of Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Kojima Productions has also taken it a step further by introducing limb dismemberment, and thanks to a new swordfighting mechanic, players are empowered with the ability to slice any part of the body off at will. Of course, all of the violence is contextual--you're saving the world for crying out loud!--but that hasn't stopped the ban hammer from falling on other games with similar content.
GameSpot AU remains committed to bringing Aussie gamers the latest breaking news on games classification and the path towards the introduction of a restricted R18+ rating. Check out our full coverage on the issue here.
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