Friday, 23 October 2009 06:21

Left 4 Dead 2 still banned after board review

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Looks like the efforts by developer Valve and comments by publisher Electronic Arts have not been enough to get a new version of Left 4 Dead 2 past the Australian Classification Board.

The saga that has become the release of Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia took another twist last night with the Australian Classification Board refusing to classify a newly modified version of the zombie shooter game.

Whilst Left 4 Dead 2 comes only a relative short time after the release of the original – much to the chagrin of the fans – and updates, but does not greatly change the basic premise of multiplayer survival horror.

Seemingly though, this upgraded version was enough to raise the classification beyond the MA15+ category, lacking an R18+ classification, MA15+ is the most mature level available in Australia.  This meant the game was effectively banned.

Publisher EA responded with a statement pointing out the contradiction of censorship in a country responsible for Mad Max.

Valve submitted a modified version of the game, hoping to get the ban lifted and garner a MA 15+ classification.  This was successful in early October, but Valve were still hopeful of getting a grittier version of the game, along the lines of their original vision onto Australian store shelves.

“We are still awaiting the review and decision on the rest of world/standard version and remain optimistic about being able to ship this version in Nov. However, we are now able to ship a version of Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia. So the question is no longer if L4D2 ships there, but which version." A Valve representative told Kotaku at the time.

Well it looks as if this optimism was a little misplaced with the Australian Classification Board announcing a reaffirmation of the games ban after review.

The Board’s response reiterated the original ‘refused classification’ reasoning: A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has unanimously determined that the computer game Left 4 Dead 2 is classified RC (Refused Classification).

In the Review Board’s opinion, Left 4 Dead 2 could not be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.  The computer game contains a level of violence which is high in impact, prolonged, repeated frequently and realistic within the context of the game. 

In addition, it was the Review Board’s opinion that there was insufficient delineation between the depiction of general zombie figures and the human figures, as opposed to the clearly fictional ‘infected’ characters.  This was a major consideration of the Review Board in determining the impact of this game on minors.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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