The upcoming role-playing game Risen has become the latest victim of Australia’s flawed game content rating system.
Refused Classification reports that Australia’s classification board has declined to assign a rating to the game, which is being developed by Piranha Bytes. The board’s action makes Risen the third game of 2009 to be RC’d Down Under; the others are 1C’s first-person shooter Necrovision and something called Sexy Poker.
In the U.S. market, Risen has been rated M (17+) by the ESRB. Australia, however, has no rating higher than MA15+, which means that any title judged not suitable for a 15-year-old is effectively banned. Australian gamers have been lobbying their government unsuccessfully for an R18+ rating for several years.
The classification refusal might not be the final word, however. Risen could be edited by its creators enough to slip by Australian censors. This approach has worked for other games, most recently Necrovision.
Risen is scheduled for October release on Xbox 360 and PC. The website R18+ is a useful source for information about the ongoing Australian content rating debate.