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It's been a while, but Deadly Premonition is officially the first game of 2010 to be Refused Classification in Australia. The controversial horror-adventure game has been effectively banned Down Under, thanks largely to the lack of an adult rating for video games in that country.
We've just been in touch with the Classification Board, hoping for some more information on the game and the reasons for it being banned... but instead of being provided with a handy Report, we were told that there is no record of Deadly Premonition being submitted for review - let alone being refused classification.
We're now trying to contact All Interactive Entertainment, the game's distributors, and the people who originally made the announcement, to find out if they can shed some light on the topic.
Prior to this decision, the most recently-banned game in Australia was last year's Aliens vs. Predator, a decision which was overturned on appeal.
As we all know, Australian gamers are stifled by their Classification Board - with ratings for video games only extending to MA15+. That means if a game's considered unsuitable for 15-year-olds, it's unsuitable for the entire country.
Once a game has been Refused Classification, the distributor has a few options. They can accept the decision and simply not sell the game in that country; they can appeal the decision and cross their fingers the Review Board might see things differently; or they can modify the game to remove the offending bits and then release an "Australian version" of the title.
We've seen companies taking all three approaches over the past 18 months - Aliens vs. Predator was accepted on appeal, Left 4 Dead 2 was edited significantly prior to release, and Australians simply don't have the option of purchasing CrimeCraft.
GamePron has contacted the Australian Classification Board to find out just why Deadly Premonition has been banned - we'll let you know as soon as we do.
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Jimmy the Geek