F.E.A.R. 2 banned in Australia

UPDATE: Project Origin fails to make it past Aussie censors due to high-impact violence; Warner Bros. Interactive to appeal decision.

493 Comments

Even by Australian standards, 2008 has been a depressing year when it comes to game bannings down under. The country's tough censorship laws have seen several games banned from sale this year, including Silent Hill: Homecoming, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, Dark Sector, and Fallout 3 (although the last two were eventually allowed to be sold locally after some content modifications were made). Unfortunately for gamers, there's more bad news to come.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin--the sequel to hit first-person shooter F.E.A.R.--has been refused classification in Australia by the local Classification Board, making it illegal to sell or even bring into the country. In Australia, the highest rating available for a game is MA15+, as opposed to other forms of media, such as film or DVDs, which have an R18+ classification that prohibits sales to anyone under the age of 18. Games that feature content deemed unsuitable for an MA15+ rating are refused classification and are effectively banned from sale.

Project Origin was scheduled for release down under in February, 2009. The horror-themed action shooter continues the story of the first game, while adding new elements such as the ability to pilot mechs within the game. Keep it locked to GameSpot for more on this story, including official confirmation from the Classification Board as to exactly why Project Origin was banned.

UPDATE: According to the Classification Board report on Project Origin, the game was refused classification because of its "high-impact violence".

"The violence is considered highly impactful in such scenes as where Michael uses his sub machine gun to explicitly bisect an enemy, the two parts of the body lying separately on the ground, with copious blood spray. There are also a number of explicit close range decapitations involving both human and mutant creatures. The decapitations are the result of close-up throat slashing from behind and close-up gunshots to the throat," the Board report says.

"All violence results in large blood spray: there are blood-stained interiors and blood sprays onto objects, including the camera lens. With weapons such as sniper rifles, bodies can be torn apart at close range, limbs are seen flying off and the wounded flesh is reduced to a bloody pulp. The use of nail-guns pins victims to a wall before they fall to the ground in a bloody mass. The scenes often have blood soaked walls and floors and the victims’ bodies do not always disappear."

A Warner Bros. Interactive spokesman confirmed to GameSpot AU that the company will be appealing the Classification Board's decision, and was "looking at all avenues" to ensure Project Origin gets an Australian release.

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Kayadar

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To quote a portion of something I wrote sometime ago: "Yes, fellow countrymen, this is in fact largely the result of the obsolete idea of censorship. As you doubtless know, certain pretenders passing themselves off as “family friendly” organizations, and other individuals with such twisted views, are largely responsible for this unfortunate reality. An example of such a sad occurrence can be found in an online article I read recently, in which was explained that the sequel to the video game F.E.A.R. had been banned in Australia by the board of censorship for its excessive violence. As comments on the article by readers pointed out, such a decision is obviously ridiculous. After all, adults should be allowed to choose the games they want to play, even in Australia. In addition, a censored game is actually worse for a gamers mind; if a game doesn't depict the gory consequences of killing, how can we expect people to get an accurate picture of death? A clean game would give the impression that killing isn't violent; it would work against the educational nature of video games. I for one am convinced that any study done on the subject would discover that people who play excessively violent video games have a superior knowledge of internal human anatomy than those who don't, and thus be better prepared for careers in, say, the medical profession. Indeed, one finds that there is no end to the number of ways in which graphic violence in the media is beneficial to the public. Many who oppose the portrayal of such violence argue that society becomes desensitized and calloused towards violence. Although this is obviously correct, what these sadly misguided individuals fail to realize is that in this day and age, such an occurrence is actually desirable. In this hard and cruel world where war, drive by shootings, and terrorists are a daily occurrence, any reasonable person can see the obvious benefits of being calloused towards pain and violence. Our society will go into the world with the ultimate edge, prepared to carry the American dream to unprecedented levels. Through playing video games such as F.E.A.R., our society will in fact become immune to fear, and thus have great superiority in World War III following the zombie apocalypse to countries such as Australia where the citizens are cradled in the arms of the government, and never allowed to truly mature. How far they have fallen from their glorious roots! It is my impression that the most popular youtube videos during that age will be those of the land down under being consumed by the undead. But for us, to quote a great American, 'the only thing to fear is fear itself!' " --- Seriously, the comments on this article point to how pathetic the world of gamers is. You know, someday maybe intelligent people will dwell in this world, but I'm not holding my breath.

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skitchrick

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Thanks Australian Classification Board .... now I have a shopping list.... you big bunch of nancy-pants!

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marcopolo4212

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hahaha i would hate to live in australia!!!!!!! i'm 15 and i bought GTA4 and COD5 without a problem

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xlizard-beta

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i say itss ok if its violent but i can see banning nudity and drug use in a game

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xlizard-beta

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and they didnt ban dead space! that is a lot worse im mean u sometimes have to physicclay cut of the necromrphs limbs by hand and there is blodd every where

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xlizard-beta

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y do the alstralians say what their ppl can and cant play it is not right and they shud be able to choose

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polodoro

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The classification debate is ridiculous! Of course Australian adults should be able to choose which games they play. Why should some government officials make the decisions for the people that ought to be able to play it anyway?

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jeff772

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Good lol so now there will be less lagg in f.e.a.r 2 yayyyyyyy

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doublelayer26

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What do you expect they let their government take their guns from them so they can't fight back. What do these politicans have to fear from them. But don't be too sad the allmightly god Obama(barry)Osama bin Ladin Soon to be our Marxist President will try take ours and then we will be censored too. SoftPorn avalible in most regular TV shows anymore, but we sure don't want you killing animated people or evil creatures. To bad these type people can't go back in time and abort themselves. I guess it wasn't such a good idea to amp up the blood after all. LOL

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TaintedSaint666

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Mhm....Political Correctness strikes again, this time....Down Under.

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Sledge_4314

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C'mon guys, no point complaining. Join us on www.projectorigincommunity.com and contribute to the petition. There is 10 pages of comments so im assuming that there are at least 2000 people wanting to complain, join the community and try to make the difference. Make an account and help get FEAR 2 back on our shelves uncensored.

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ilovejaydee

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I wonder how many sales are going to be lost...

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MajorBrian

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SWEET!!! I loved the first one. This sounds cool. Sucks to live in Australia.

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TehUndeadHorror

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With weapons such as sniper rifles, bodies can be torn apart at close range, limbs are seen flying off and the wounded flesh is reduced to a bloody pulp. The use of nail-guns pins victims to a wall before they fall to the ground in a bloody mass. AWESOME!

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fooltoast

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Aussies have to deal with funnelwebs, yet can't play violent games.......

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Colemn13Sniper

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Dude, that's crazy. Like he said... Gears of War 2? Lol.. And come on Aussie board. Bloody games are amazing. Would you rather your population do it on the streets or on the console?

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sensei_hEnRY

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it's funny to realize that they didn't banned Dead Space, Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2.

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Wrecked69

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lol australia's classification board is whack. aussie gamers revolt imo!

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Lysix

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It's expected. After all, everything is opposite and upside down in Australia!

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cyborg100000

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Honestly the world today seems way too sensitive, life's controversial anyway, I hear people swear in public all the time, many people take drugs or smoke in public and violent TV is shown quite early in the evening, yeah it's the parents responsibility to supervise the kid but why isn't that the case with video games?

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sharpshooter188

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@Deluhathol ....WOW... funny thing... i actually thought NZ was near britian for some reason. god damn. Wheres the dunce cap? =\ I feel really stupid atm.

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chimera1984

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These ratings systems are utterly useless, in the end its the individual who is responsible for there actions.

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corwinn01

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It's a sad day in gaming history when a country will tell a gamer what kind of game they can play.

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MrGordons

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this is stupid, if people want the uncensored version they will get it, one way or another meaning ordering it from overseas (crappy compromise) or easily pirating it and where does that leave us....

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BananaJello

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Wow. And this is the same country that brought us Mad Max and The Road Warrior? I guess those movies aren't considered too violent because theres no 'copious blood spray'. Please... Thank goodness the US isn't quite this restrictive (yet).

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Deluhathol

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For people who are so anti-violence, they seem to take a fair amount of enjoyment in graphically describing the violence that goes on in these games..... Anyway, I am rather sick of Australia's rating policies (I Live in neighbouring NZ), as they actually effect other people (for instance NZ), not only Australian citizens. Regardless of this, the policy in question is utterly ridiculous, as they instantly ban anything they deem to be too mature for a 15 year old. This creates random and unexplainable differences in what games they will let through the rating system, as they don't seem to actually base their choices on anything at all. For instance, they let through Fallout 3 (eventually), and Gears of War 2, and many other violent games which include decapitation, dismemberment, "copious" blood spray etc. What is really stupid though, is that GoW 2 and Fallout 3, because they were let through there, are only rated M15 there (since they can't get away with banning everything, they have to let some of the highly anicipated things through to avoid looking like a censorship office (which is secretly what they are)), whereas in NZ (I don't know about where you guys live) both of these games are rated R18. When it comes down to it, there rating system is full of rampant inconsistencies, and apparent bias towards publishers (why else would they choose to ban this game over, say, Fallout 3, which also includes drug use, on top of graphic violence?)

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Spyder25000

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when it is unbanned there will be no blood... so import it @ punkster91 yes if you shot someone, and there is no blood in the game they think it is clean and easy to do... @ chrizzie average gamer in Australia is 33 @ chrizzie import it and ask for it to covered in newspaper / cardboared, so a load of covering. lol piratebay!

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punkster91

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this is silly. would it not be worse if they did not show the blood. then we'd think killing people is very clean when in reality it is gruesome and bloody. "oh.. when you kill someone, there is lots of blood that spurts everywhere, but because this is a game, we shouldn't show an accurate portrayal of these actions and show the consequences of killing another person or being."

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dual_barrel

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Thank you, Monolith. You're my hero.

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slayersdeath200

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How am i not surprised at this.......

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TurambarGS

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Sigh. Just add it to the list... at least we're going to have the opportunity to respond to the discussion paper on the classification issue cos this is just getting ridiculous. How many more games do they want me to import? It's just hurting Australian retailers.

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greg_g33

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Australia is max fail when it comes to these things

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parrot_of_adun

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I could understand if sale to minors was banned, but being banned from import? Holy crap that place must suck. Feel sorry for the aussies...

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StarlightHunter

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i think it is shocking that their banning games. exactly increase their age ratings. people should have the right to play what they want when they want.

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-HaloHitman-

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Gorepalooza

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LorenaLarue

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sounds a bit more violent than dead space but not by a lot. I guess its the fact that there are human enemies you can do these things to that pushed it over the edge.

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Atreyu606

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ok maybe im wrong, but wasn't GOW2 accepted in australia?? GOW2 is much bloodier, more gruesome, and ten times more violent than FEAR 2 is, honestly...

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chrizzie

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This is weird. Most gamers are well over 16 years old. How do you expect grown adults to enjoy the entertainment industry, when half of it's products are banned. This is pure censorship.

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nappan

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@Sauron2: Seriously, I almost salivated reading those descriptions. Of course, my personal favourite complaint was "...and the victims' bodies do not always dissapear..." Because that would make sense... why? I also have to wonder, once you've blown someone into a fine red mist, is the fact that the remains are persistant REALLY the big issue? lol.

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Sauron2

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And another thing, best preview from this game so far has been from this Classification Board of Censorship: "With weapons such as sniper rifles, bodies can be torn apart at close range, limbs are seen flying off and the wounded flesh is reduced to a bloody pulp."

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Sauron2

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My aussies! Quickly to the third-party pirating websites :D!

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nappan

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@Shadow Zone: You clearly have a lot of (justifiable) pride in your country, and believe me I get that. Australia IS an amazing continent, but you have to understand that the subtelties of life there get overwhelmed by news like this for a certain generation. It isn't just games you censor down-under, and it isn't the only socially regressive matter you deal with. Don't you find it upsetting that a country that was second in giving women the vote is still telling those same women (and men) that it is a crime for them to even OWN this game? Please understand that I'm not trying to denegrate your homeland, but we all have problems (in the USA, George Bush springs to mind), at home that reflect badly on us. It is usually in everyone's best interest to deal with those issues that are considered terribly backwards by other developed nations.

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codeman5533

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tht blows

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walligy

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*clenching fist dreaming* "Have no fear fellow gamers! I will personally subjugate the OFLC committee and put an end to these debauched decisions!"

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kanehunter24

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Here's the thing that Australia and Germany, hell even some people here in America don't get: who's responsible for getting violent games for minors in the first place? Parents. Who allows them to play these games? Parents. I'm freaking almost seventeen, and I've played some of the most violent games ever. Because my parents trusted their gamer to be responsible and not become violent. I'm sick and tired of games like Grand Theft Auto being banned because some other irresponsible punk@$$ teen killed a cop and others because of these games. Wake up ratings people, the parents bought them the freakin thing. If Germany and Australia ban these games because the kids might become violent, then their parenting skills must really suck. Look, I may not know anything about parenting, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out it all boils down to this: if the parent is responsible, then the kid will be responsible. Granted, that's not completely true. Now if an adult buys a game and they do the crime, it falls on their own responsibility.

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Vadar07

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Yet again Australia our stupid Classification mob has done us over again. Why can't mature gamers make the choice of what they want to buy. Just bring in the R18+ rating for us. Oh and did I read the article about gamers age wrong. I am sure it said that most gamers now are 30+ . So what is wrong with releasing it here? Then they wonder why there is so much piracy... It may stop millions buying it but I am sure millions of copies will be downloaded anyway and most of them will be from Australia now.

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TheBigCheeese

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It is violent. It is bloody, and it will be 18. Australia needs an MA 18 restriction. Once it's 18 then the player can choose.

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Shadow_zone

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Arcady. Your ideas about Australia are completely false. we keep the good beers for ourselves and leave the s@@t aka fosters for all you weaklings to drink.. I need to clarify myself on the comment i made earlier. I wouldnt have bought this game anyway coz i didnt like the first one. not saying it was bad but it just didnt appeal to me. I agree that we need an R rating in australia but even if we did have one they need to tone down some of the violence in games. Ill admit that i loved GTA4 and Fallout 3 (until my xbox got the red ring syndrome) but i think cutting peoples heads off with a knife is taking it a bit too far. Im all for freedom of expression in this country but some things go far and beyond what could be considered art and thats one of them. That said the ability to take people as slaves in Fallout is a bit morally questionable aswell. Ultimately its up to the viewer to determione how these things affect their minds. But i dont think that coments such as the one about Atkinson being run over by a truck really do well to support this cause and they probably do read these threads.. Id also appreciate it if people wouldnt judge our beautiful country on the basis of how violent video games are allowed to be here. Australia was the 2nd country to give women the vote and is the only continent to never have a war fought on its soil. It is a country of peace and while it has its issues such as alchohol abuse and really bad language i am proud to live here

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nappan

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@Aussiebee: Ok... you don't like violent games... and that leads you to support a law which makes it illegal for another grown woman to own a videogame? You do realize that the younger players are the ones who are most likely to simply pirate the game... it's going to be older and less saavy gamers who get the short end of the stick. Oh, and Australia's reputation as being stuck in the 1950s... Do you REALLY want your country to be known for slaughtering aboriginal peoples, Crocodiles, the Nullarbore, marine stingers and treating immigrants like cattle? It's time to step out the fairytale and into real life before you find yourselves falling too far behind.

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