Deadly Premonition DOA down under?

UPDATE: Publisher voluntarily decides to not release horror game in Australia; local censor board says game was never submitted for classification.

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Australia's lack of an R18+ classification for video games has been a thorn in gamers' sides around the country for a number of years now, as it affects the release of high-profile titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Aliens vs. Predator, and more. Although those games are the ones that get the most attention, numerous other smaller titles have also felt the wrath of the Australian Classification Board (ACB), with the upcoming horror game Deadly Premonition from Ignition Entertainment joining the ranks of the damned.

Deadly Premonition--a horror adventure game that puts you in the role of an FBI agent investigating strange events in an even stranger town--has been refused classification by the ACB, making the game illegal for sale down under. All Interactive Entertainment--the game’s local distributor--confirmed the game's banning to GameSpot AU, although the reasons behind the decision are unclear at this stage. "We're unsure of the details as to why it was banned. We're trying to confirm with the Classification Board as we speak," the spokesman said.

Literally bending over backwards to impress the Australian Classification Board wasn't enough to get Deadly Premonition through.
Literally bending over backwards to impress the Australian Classification Board wasn't enough to get Deadly Premonition through.

The highest rating available for a game in Australia is MA15+, meaning any game that is deemed to have content inappropriate to that rating level is banned for sale. Previous games to get banned (such as Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead 2) have undergone edits to appease the ACB, but the AIE spokesman said that no appeal is currently in progress for Deadly Premonition.

The Australian Classification Board had not responded to GameSpot AU's request for comments as of time of publication.

With the Australian federal election just around the corner, GameSpot AU recently spoke to the three major political parties to find out their stances on R18+, which can be read here. For more information on the R18+ classification issue in Australia, check out our in-depth feature.

UPDATE: The Australian Classification Board has told GameSpot AU that despite AIE's comments, Deadly Premonition has not been banned. In fact, an ACB spokesperson says the game has not been submitted for classification at all. The game was also not submitted using its Japanese title, Red Seeds Profile.

UPDATE 2: There is, at last, final clarification on this issue; this time direct from Deadly Premonition's Western publisher Rising Star Games. It seems that the game was indeed never submitted for classification in Australia, as Rising Star Games had decided internally that Deadly Premonition would not make it past local censors unscathed.

"As part of our normal procedures in submitting any game for classification, it was determined internally at Rising Star Games that the game would not satisfy the criteria for an MA15+ rating in Australia and further that any changes to the game would not be possible. It was therefore decided, with regret, the game will not be released in Australia," the company said in a statement.

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