Valve Working With Aussie Classification Board

In the wake of an Australian Classification Board ruling three weeks ago that Valve’s new Left 4 Dead 2 game would receive no classification, Gabe Newell was in Sydney to try to allay the boards concerns.

According to a story on Kotaku, the game was banned because of the amount of violence in the game and deemed "unsuitable for persons under age 18 to play."

Valve has appealed the board’s ruling and that a decision should be forthcoming around Oct. 22. As a back-up plan, Newell said that an edited version of the game has been submitted to the board, adding that they don’t want to ship a second version, but will if it means getting the game into the hands of Aussie players.

More from Kotaku:

The decision to submit an edited version was made to ensure Left 4 Dead 2 met its planned November release date. Given that the Review Board will not report back on the appeal until October 22, it means there may not be enough time to get the unedited version on sale for the global launch. Newell confirmed that if the edited version is released, then the Australian version would receive an update if the appeal proves successful. This would be free on PC, but he said he did not yet know how it might work on Xbox 360.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that the board could backtrack on it’s ban. Warner Bros. Interactive was able to successfully appeal a no classification ruling of F.E.A.R. 2 to an MA15+ rating earlier this year.

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  1. TBoneTony says:

    I would do the same thing too if it happened to my game, instead I will censor out the naughty bits and instead have a hidden easter egg with a Protest poster slamming Michael Atkinson in his refusal to allow an R18+ rating for Videogames in Australia.

    That would be the way I will edit my videogames.


  2. Erik says:

    They would have accomplished artistic integrity.  Furthermore there is a trickledown effect in regards to the countries with the pansiest views regarding media.  I recall that Fallout 3 was altered to protect Australia’s sensitive sensibilities.  Then add in the fact that next time the envelope likely won’t be pushed so far so that Valve won’t have to go through the trouble next time, creating a spreading cancer of cowardice through the industry.

    Myself I would rather NOT have a game than to have a gimped version of it.  Sort of like when 4Kids has demolished a few different anime titles.  After seeing what was done to them, I had nothing to do with them.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  3. Godkarmachine says:

    At least I’ll get to enjoy the game, gimped or no? If the companies say, "Screw you aussie-land" and go on about their business, it just hurts the customers, they get no game, and if nothing changes, then what will that have accomplished?

    – Stand back! I have an opinion, and I’m not afraid to use it.

  4. Erik says:

    And how does selling gimped and censored versions help anything?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  5. Drazgal says:

    How exactly would that help anything? The reasons for a lack of an 18 rating in Austrailia are well documented, companies refusing to even to try to sell violent games there is exactly what Atkinson wants.

  6. Erik says:

    Off the top of my head I would say that they give Australia the finger, tell them to enjoy their G rated Nanny State and not sell any games there ever again and encourage other companies to do the same.  You know just off the top of my head.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  7. Magic says:

    I think Valve’s got better things to do, like ensure they release games. Raise the issue, certainly, but then leave the lobbying and all to the entertainment groups.

    Anyway, I think they should go the Postal 2 route and do an ironic "Atkinson Mode" where there are no zombies or enemies, you just wander through the empty streets with no weapons.

    Black manta: That sounds so insane I’ll have to reinstall FEAR 1 and finish it.

  8. black manta says:

    Well, there goes any chance of a boycott. I was hoping too that Valve would just simply choose not to release the game in Australia and just make it available for the rest of the world. But I guess they figured it was worth it to make a go of releasing a special version just for them. At least they’re not watering down and making everyone else suffer for it (*cough*Fallout 3*cough*). I can’t really fault them for trying, I suppose, but I would have preferred to have taken a firmer stance and basically said, “Screw you!” to Australia.

    I find that funny that F.E.A.R. 2  eventually got a pass, especially when you consider the ending [SPOILER ALERT!] where Alma is seen having intense sex with your character and getting pregnant at the very end.[END SPOILER ALERT!] Then again, Australia’s always been more lax when it comes to depictions of sex what with full frontal nudity on their television programs and all. Still, I find it strange considering that irregardless, it was a pretty disturbing scene.
  9. asmodai says:

    Thanks for that insightful comment.  /eyeroll

    Our system is unfortunately set up so that one person can block the change that would allow R18+ games.  Do you think that gamers in general support this??  Do you think the larger voting community know or care what is going on?  This is a niche issue and while all the other AG’s are in favour of the R18+ rating, one guy alone stands in the way.

    While we are a small country we still add millions in revenue to companies and I’m sure Australian gamers will appreciate that Valve is willing to go out of it’s way to accomodate us despite one bullshit politician.

    ps. Gabe Newell was actually in Australia to meet with a L4D campaign maker who raised the money for them to fly down.

    Side note: Gabe donated all money raised to Childsplay and he and Erik paid for their own tickets.

  10. Hreinzi says:

    why not just remove Australia from the gaming community

    we get things without censoring it and the aussie governemnt gets to control its people

  11. Pinworm says:

     How can you say that when gabe newell actually flew down there to try and sort it out? They’re giving australians the game if they have no other way to get it, while still appealing the rating. What more do you want them to do?

    I don’t know if you know this, but american game companies have no power in regards to australian government.

    So please, tell me what more they could have done, because they have already done more than any other company would have.

  12. Erik says:

    Seriously poor form valve.  It’s really annoying that the consumers have to fight an uphill battle against this insipid censorship not only against these nanny states, but against the companies themselves that wave the white flag at the first sign of trouble.  Really, what effect can groups like the ECA hope to have against not only fearmongering, but also cowardice? 

    The only time that it seems like the game companies will make a stand is in regards to copyright.  And then somehow they seem to be given unilateral power to rape the hell out of the consumers at their leisure.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  13. hellfire7885 says:

    They need to make a slight edit and include loadign screens informing Aussie gamers that Atkinson thinks of them all as too immature ot make their own decisions, and inform parents that Atkinson believes her knows better than them how to raise their own children.

  14. Torven says:

    I imagine that is the censored version.  The article says it will be another two weeks before they hear back about their appeal.

  15. Kajex says:

    Gotta commend Valve for trying their damnedest. They could have just as easily said "screw this" and left it alone.

  16. Father Time says:

    If they have to submit the appealed version it should include a message saying exactly who is responsible for the lack of R18


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  17. DarkSaber says:

    But is that the appealed version or the edited version?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Comments are closed.