The uncut version of Left 4 Dead 2 has just been re-classified by the Australian Classifications Board, and granted an R18+ rating. Yes, that’s the original version of the game that caused so much drama when it was initially submitted 5 years ago and played such a big part in the push for Australia’s adults-only rating.
Valve tells Player Attack:
We are delighted that the full version of Left 4 Dead 2 will be available to fans age 18+ in Australia. We are making plans to deliver that version to those who have already purchased the game. We will announce more details on that soon.
The original game was refused classification and then censored to within an inch of its life before being released as MA15+ in Australia. It’s now passed through the Board’s scrutiny process again, and made it out unscathed.
Predictably, we’re warned about “high impact violence, blood and gore”, with strong impact themes and mild impact language, but we’re adult enough now to handle it.
The original game, classified on September 15, 2009, was Refused Classification on the grounds that it contained violence that was “high in impact” and was therefore “unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play”. Remember, back in 2009, if it was too violent for a 15-year old Australian gamer, it was too violent for the entire country.
The Board’s 2009 report explains how the decision was reached:
The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon “the Infected” who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently.
Key point: The Australian Classification Board was told the Infected were human, which means violence towards them is higher in impact than if they were alien, zombies, or other humanoid creatures.
The Infected attack the player in an unrelenting fashion, with numerous foe attacking the player at one time. The use of the “melee” weapons can wipe out several Infected in one blow which cause … blood and gore effets. The player kills a very large amount of enemy characters to proceed through the game. Whilst no post mortem damage can be inflicted, piles of bodies lay about the environment.
This is why bodies in the censored version of Left 4 Dead 2 would disappear after they were killed, something Australians complained bitterly about.
The interactive nature of this game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high.
…and that, my friends, is exactly why the game is able to be passed through the Classification Board now, when it wasn’t before. The introduction of the R18+ adults-only rating for video games means that Australia now has the facilities to deal with games that are “high” in impact. The system works.
Back in January 2013, we were told that publisher Valve was “exploring legal options” when it came to resubmitting the game – looks like it’s just taken the team a little longer than we might have expected.