Here’s why Australians won’t be able to play Outlast 2

It’s been a while since we’ve written one of these, but another game has been Refused Classification (effectively banned) in Australia. Originally planned for release late next month, Outlast 2 has apparently upset the Australian Classification Board and will now not be allowed in the country.

The game itself follows journalist Blake Langermann investigating the murder of a pregnant woman in the Arizona desert. Langermann and his wife Lynn have lost each other following an accident. The story is completely separate to the original Outlast, which launched in 2013, but explores similar first-person survival horror themes.

The demo for Outlast 2 was classified R18+ in September, with the note that it included “High impact horror violence, blood and gore”, with “strong impact” adult themes.

The full game, however, is a different story. RC decision was handed down yesterday, March 15. The original statement from the Board referenced the Games 1(a) section of the National Classification Code. That is, that the Board will refuse to classify games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults”.

Today, we’ve been given a copy of the Board’s report, which goes into quite explicit (spoileriffic) detail about just which of those matters are included in Outlast 2. If you’d guessed sexualised violence, you get a cookie.

What follows is a description of just some of the content that prompted the Board’s decision – Spoilers follow.

A female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, “I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world.” Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, “Nope! Nope!” before he stumbles into a forest clearing.

His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, “It hurts! Oh god!,” as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.

One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.

As Blake yells for the creatures to “Get away from her!” a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying “No! Stop that!” the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake’s objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.

In the Board’s opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.

The Board has commented that “without the depiction of implied sexual violence listed above” (and, presumably, the other scenes not detailed), Outlast 2 would potentially have received an R18+ rating. This may leave the door open for developer Red Barrels and publisher WB Games to make a few edits and resubmit the title.

We have contacted the local publisher for more information, and will keep this post updated.

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