Mortal Kombat banned in Australia – UPDATED

It's been more than a year since a game was banned in Australia, but it looks like we have a new fatality... the eagerly-anticipated brawler Mortal Kombat has officially been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board, for violence that "exceeds strong in impact" and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

Who would have guessed?

See that blood? That's a problem.

See that blood? That's a problem.

We have the Decision Report on Mortal Kombat in a handy pdf format if you want all the gory details, but the basics are that the Board took particularly strong objection to the game's many fatalities.

The Board notes that fatalities cannot be performed in Story mode and are unlikely to be performed frequently during gameplay; however, it is also noted that there are more than 60 fatalities available and they are an important component of the game.

It goes on to list several of the fatalities which particularly upset the board - including Kung Lao's "buzz saw" hat manouvre, Jade's fancy fighting stick work, Stryker's point-blank firing range, Quan Chi's leg-ripping, Scorpion's slice and dice, Mileena's twin-blade action, Kabal's long hooks, Shao Kahn's body-tearing skill, Kitana's folding fan, and - of course - Baraka's wrist blades.

The game includes over 60 fatalities (some of which are noted above) which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment and other brutal forms of slaughter. Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed.

That's not allowed either.

That's not allowed either.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson has also made the following, politically-charged statement:

The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia.

We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat, one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers. WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time.

So - on one hand, the rest of the world, sounds like you're in for a treat. Australians... this is just another reason to keep pushing for an adult R18+ rating, as - clearly - if one was in place, this game would have sailed through for adults-only.


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43 Responses to “Mortal Kombat banned in Australia – UPDATED”

  1. Chucky says:

    /me is a sad (and angry) panda!

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Pettigrove, Miss J Citizen, Mythor, Tim Campbell, GamePron and others. GamePron said: GamePron: Mortal Kombat officially banned in Australia http://bit.ly/hc1WAY [...]

  3. Kevin says:

    well never thought i would ever say this but yayyy i live in south carolina!

  4. Wyld says:

    I agree, I don’t think this is a game for kids. I also agree, VERY STRONGLY, that we need a R18 classification.

    End of the day, I’ll be playing this on my region-unlocked PS3.

    Remember, it’s RC for sale .. it’s quite legal to import and play .. in *most* parts of the country.

    • Ruddigerpez says:

      Well then I think Sony should region lock consoles so that idiots like you don’t get to play. We’ll see if you change your tune then…

      • Ruddigerpez says:

        Dammit never mind. Sorry. I swear I saw a “don’t need an R18″ in there…

        • RAGEAHOLIC says:

          are you crazy?!?

          he said that there should be a 18+ rating

          its so BS that we are one of the only western countrys that dont have a 18+ rating

          i think there is more chance of me going on a rampage from anger at this bullcrappery then from a ton of gore in a game :(

  5. David says:

    I live in Australia, and the government is F*$%ing idiots thinking that Mortal Kombat is Too Violent, I know of Games that contain blood and gore in them and still is sold here… Leave the Adult Gamers alone, let us make up our own decision to buy and play the game, and from what I understand, the Fatalities are downloadable.

    I was looking forward to this, because last MK game was rated M.

  6. Bender says:

    That is the biggest load of bullshit i’ve ever heard! This is one of the most fucked decisions ever. Looks like i’m buying this game on ebay. I shouldn’t have to, Australia needs that R18 rating for video games, it doesn’t make sense not having one.

    I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat for more than 10 years now and what i most looked foward to this year was walking into JBHI buying the collectors edtion or whatever going home and playing now its fucked, i gotta wait for delivery to Australia from America.

    I imagine that WB games is gonna lose so much revenue from this bullshit and even if it is released in Australia the fans wont want a toned down Mortal Kombat (I sure as hell wont!) we want Mortal Kombat in all its gory glory god damn it!!

    • Mr. sOMEBODY says:

      I’ll put one on ebay just for ya, ya little cutie!<3

    • John Koutros says:

      i do agree with u. the government should have better things to do than to ban the most violent and the best fighting game ever a.k.a mortal kombat but australia should consider the R18+ for its games we want Mortal Kombat in all its gory glory god damn the fucking government!!!!!!!

  7. Danial says:

    Australia, time to grow some balls and make the government and its bodies work for us, not against us.

  8. Someone Random says:

    “The Board would also like to note that it was bribed x amount of $$$ by conservatives to ban this game”

  9. [...] The classification isn’t out to the public yet, but Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia has preemptively issued the following statement to GamePron: [...]

  10. [...] Gamepron Filed in: Gaming Tags: Australia, Banned, Baraka, Classification Board, Fatalities, Jade, Kabal, [...]

  11. [...] Other fatalities that the Board objected to included, “Kung Lao’s “buzz saw” hat manouvre, Jade’s fancy fighting stick work, Stryker’s point-blank firing range, Quan Chi’s leg-ripping, Scorpion’s slice and dice, Mileena’s twin-blade action, Kabal’s long hooks, Shao Kahn’s body-tearing skill, Kitana’s folding fan, and – of course – Baraka’s wrist blades.” It said that although these acts are used in the context of a fantasy game and are exaggerated, they are highly detailed and “realistically rendered,” according to GamePron. [...]

  12. Chucky says:

    So I ordered both the Tournament and Collectors editions from the US just because I like the extra ‘gadgets’ they come with….Now what to do with my second copy of the game >_>

  13. [...] News this week looks at the Australian Classification Board’s decision to effectively ban the upcoming reboot of Mortal Kombat, and we learn more about the major downsize that hit LEGO [...]

  14. [...] The classification isn’t out to the public yet, but Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia has preemptively issued the following statement to GamePron: [...]

  15. Chucky says:

    If the censorship board had their way, this is what the game would be like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDEyOp14kCs

  16. That sucks that they are banning the new mortal kombat game because of their rating system. The game is going to be awesome and I already preordered it in the U.S.

  17. [...] have confirmed that they are appealing the Australian Classification Board’s decision to effectively ban the reboot of Mortal Kombat in that country. Kitana’s folding fans were cause for [...]

  18. DJ says:

    This sux to a degree I can’t put into words without resorting to language I’d rather not use. The government needs to grow up and realise that not all gamers are children…

  19. Spike says:

    The government realise that not all gamers are children (given their reference to “…and is therefore unsuitable for persons under 18 years of age”), they just don’t care.

    They don’t want the kiddies getting their hands on these games, and apparently even with the introduction of an R18+ rating they will (I’m not going to entirely disagree with them on this count).

    The problem is generated due to the lax ENFORCEMENT of the ratings system. If they feel a need to increase fines for sales of games to minors, I’m all for it.

    Besides better enforcement of this ratings system however, the primary cause for inappropriate games getting into the hands of minors is uneducated parents buying games at the insistence of their children.

    Again, this outcome is the result of BAD PARENTING, not the proposed future state of the ratings scheme. I’m sure many would suggest increasing awareness of game ratings via ad campaigns etc. is a required course of action. By the same token, I’m sure politicians will neatly side-step the issue in another manner, when in reality they don’t want to set aside the revenue to pay for the ads. I agree with this to some extent (ads should be run at the introduction of the new system at least, but not beyond that).

    What it boils down to is, how is this any different from the current Video Ratings system (in the sense that ratings are supposed to be enforced at the sales counter, and assisted by educated parenting decisions).

    I understand that the content RELATIVE to the ratings scheme should be different than it is for film/video (while their have been no ‘conclusive’ studies as to the relative impact of video game content relative to film/video, I generally agree that the impact is of a higher nature), the above is NOT RELEVANT to the issue at hand.

    If the relevant government bodies don’t believe the ratings system can be effectively enforced, then by extension, MA15+ games should be RC’d (Refused Classification) on the grounds they they are currently (no doubt) finding their way into the hands of minors).

    Likewise for R18+, MA15+ ratings on Film/Video etc.

    As per usual, it boils down to the government effectively saying that ‘the general public is TOO STUPID to make their own decisions as far as deciding what’s appropriate for their children, so we’ll just ban everything en masse’.

    The worst part by far is that WB’s argument will be that games of a similar nature have found their way through the system (let’s not go into the why or how), and that as such their game should be accepted on these grounds as well.

    What they MAY not choose to point out however this that these other games they are referring to (this is my opinion, I haven’t seen any relevant studies) ARE rated R18+ in first world countries which have the R18+ rating in place.

    ie: Games of a more adult nature are being ‘rated down’ (and not always having content removed) to fit the system, instead of improving the system itself.

    Now if that’s not contradictory to the goal of keeping ‘inappropriate’ games out of minors hands, I don’t know what is.

  20. Raymond says:

    Eventually every australian of all ages are gonna play mk. The game getting banned due to violence just makes it so much more exciting to everyone else around the world. I know I can’t wait to kick some ass and see some blood. So thanks a lot. I am pretty sure more games will be sold due to this banning.

  21. [...] game had been effectively banned down under late last month, but publishers Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment decided to [...]

  22. [...] footballs, rocks, spaceships, monkeys, sims, volcanoes, and snow. Oh, and there’s some copious blood spray, if you’re into that sort of [...]

  23. [...] Although the classification is yet to go public, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia issued a statement to GamePron. [...]

  24. [...] the latest game in the long-running Mortal Kombat franchise of beat-’em-up games was refused classification in Australia due to our lack of an R18+ rating for mature gamers, I didn’t think much of it. [...]

  25. [...] the 2011 Mortal Kombat was effectively banned not once but twice, it's not really surprising that this third attempt to get the game approved has [...]

  26. [...] original fighting reboot, also known as Mortal Kombat 9 was unceremoniously refused classification (banned from sale or display), due to an unsurprising amount of strong violence. Since then, the [...]

  27. [...] of them, I even played through the terrible, terrible adventure games. When Mortal Kombat 9 was refused classification here, I went a little spare. Now with our fresh R18+ rating, our first legal taste of the game has [...]

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