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.