Risen Banned in Australia

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Risen Banned in Australia

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Risen, the upcoming RPG from Gothic developer Piranha Bytes, has been refused classification in Australia and thus will not be available for sale in the country.

Risen is the third title of 2009 to be slapped with the dreaded "RC" by the Australian Classification Board, the agency that assigns ratings to films, publications and videogames in the country. The game joins the FPS Necrovision and the WiiWare game Sexy Poker on the list of games banned down under this year.

The Classification website doesn't provide details as to why the game was banned but Refused-Classification.com says its combination of "sex and drug content" is the most likely reason. According to the ESRB, which has given Risen an M (Mature) rating in North America, "Players can interact with prostitutes (referred to as 'whores' in the game) at a local brothel... Many of the characters in the game smoke a fictional drug called 'brugleweed.' The 'wood reefer' plant is described as having a mild relaxing effect on users, and can be bought, sold, and used by players." The in-game sex, the ESRB notes, "is strongly implied, but never depicted on screen."

Risen is noteworthy as the first game to come from Piranha Bytes, the developer of the acclaimed Gothic series of RPGs, since its split with publisher JoWood in 2007. Fortunately for Australian RPG fans, the Classification Board's decision isn't necessarily the end of the story: Several previous games which have been refused classification, including Necrovision, were cleared for sale in the country once the offending content was edited to the satisfaction of the censors.

Risen is slated for worldwide release (except Australia!) on October 2 for the PC and Xbox 360.

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Art should never be censored. And my sympathies to all Australians, you guys really have it rough.

It seems odd that a country founded mostly by convicts has developed into such a puritanical society, seems to be heading down a similar road to Germany, and as someone who has lived in Germany for eight years violent video games is the least of their problems

Here we go again...

Ah Australia what can I say. :(

This is one of the two reasons I will never live in Australia, the other one is the fact that every animal there wants to, and is capable of killing you.

Wow, I thought the UK board of classifications was bad, but this just seems unreasonable. From all the footage I have seen it does not look so bad it needs to be refused classification.

I'm sorry to any one who takes offense to this, but it sounds like it would suck to be a gamer in Australia. Some games get released a lot later than they should, and now some apparently don't get released at all.

I guess you all could import it or something.

Use. Steam.

Australia, I pity you so. But then again this game doesn't look that interesting anyway, so not much harm done.

The ACB need to have Irukandji jellyfish stuffed down their pants.

No review from ZP then? D=

I honestly couldn't care less what they ban anymore. I buy everything on Ebay anyway.

Aaaahaaahaahaaaa!

Seriously tho, I do feel sorry for you guys. Isn't this all because your Government refuses to have an age rating above 16 because "Games are for kids" or some rubbish like that?

Simriel:
Use. Steam.

Won't work. Steam limits your purchases by geographical area, and provides pricing based on geographical area. So, if the game can't be sold retail in Australia, Steam won't sell it either.

I hope they don't edit or censor their own game to satisfy the ratings board. Every time a developer does that, it validates the ratings a bit more, and that's not something the gaming world wants to do. Time to accept the relatively few lost sales, and tell the Classification Board to shove their ratings up their collective asses. Most of the real gamers in Australia will import the game anyway, if they want it, so they really won't lose much.

Not a fan of censorship like this, I have to say. Keeping it away from minors? Sure, that's fine. Keeping it away from everyone? Seems a little much.

Commander Breetai:
The ACB need to have Irukandji jellyfish stuffed down their pants.

I would do that just to feel the psychological phenomena.
Weird.

Too bad for Piranha Bytes. Now it'll just get rampantly pirated in Australia. So in other words, people will play it there all the same, with all the content that got it banned in the first place, and Piranha Bytes won't earn a single Australian Dollar on it. Sad world we live in.
The question is wether the Australian player base is even large enough to make it worth it to bring out a censored version there. For you guys down under, I hope so. (Sure, Prostitues are a nice touch, but better something than nothing)

I find it more suprising that Nintendo allowed a game called "Sexy Poker" to be released through WiiWare, what happened to the strict publishing there?

Damn, this game needs a ZP-Review...

Malygris:
The Classification website doesn't provide details as to why the game was banned but Refused-Classification.com says its combination of "sex and drug content" is the most likely reason....

So are we to believe...there isn't a single copy of GTA4 in all of Australia?

Censorship, yippie-kai-yay.

I've got nothing else to add, really. But it's stuff like this that makes me sad. It's M rated for a reason, banning it to, haha, protect the children is like banning all porn. Which first of all, wouldn't work in either cases, and second of all, parents should do the parenting and not rely on the government.

And oh no, how could we ever show any type of drug (aside from tobacco and alcohol) as something acceptable or even positive (especially when it clearly has those effects) in a fictional universe!

Gormourn:
Censorship, yippie-kai-yay.

I've got nothing else to add, really. But it's stuff like this that makes me sad. It's M rated for a reason, banning it to, haha, protect the children is like banning all porn. Which first of all, wouldn't work in either cases, and second of all, parents should do the parenting and not rely on the government.

And oh no, how could we ever show any type of drug (aside from tobacco and alcohol) as something acceptable or even positive (especially when it clearly has those effects) in a fictional universe!

nicely put

HEY LOOK GUYS
AUSTRALIA BANNED A GAME
THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN OR ANYTHING

Odds are the developer will just cut/change the references, and the game will be released anyway... though it will be less interesting for it. I mean, sure I like Fallout 3, but think of all the dramatic tension that could have been in the game by showing the animation of your avatar actually DOING DRUGS, instead of magically consuming/taking them from the pause screen.

Anyone know why Australia is so censorsship-obbsessed?

Truthfully I think something needs to be done about Austrlia either internally or externally.

At any rate I'd HOPE Australians will find back door ways of getting the game if they want it.

annoyinglizardvoice:
Anyone know why Australia is so censorsship-obbsessed?

Conservative Catholicism by any chance? Just a wild stab in the dark :D.

scotth266:
HEY LOOK GUYS
AUSTRALIA BANNED A GAME
THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN OR ANYTHING

Odds are the developer will just cut/change the references, and the game will be released anyway... though it will be less interesting for it. I mean, sure I like Fallout 3, but think of all the dramatic tension that could have been in the game by showing the animation of your avatar actually DOING DRUGS, instead of magically consuming/taking them from the pause screen.

But see, that's the problem. The industry shouldn't be trying to appease censors but fight them, or effectively render them irrelevent. Free Speech/Expression/Artistic Expression is a cornerstone of freedom and humanity.

Therumancer:

But see, that's the problem. The industry shouldn't be trying to appease censors but fight them, or effectively render them irrelevent. Free Speech/Expression/Artistic Expression is a cornerstone of freedom and humanity.

Hence why I said

scotth266:

Odds are the developer will just cut/change the references, and the game will be released anyway... though it will be less interesting for it.

I'm no fan of the censorship, believe me.

Risen sounds a lot like the gothic series

Danzaivar:
Aaaahaaahaahaaaa!

Seriously tho, I do feel sorry for you guys. Isn't this all because your Government refuses to have an age rating above 16 because "Games are for kids" or some rubbish like that?

Not exactly. ONE MAN (Who also happens to be the Attorney-General of South Australia) is holding back R18+ ratings on games because he believes that kids shouldn't have access to that kind of material...

We have Stephen Conroy and his magical filterwall on one side and Michael Atkinson and his "games are for kids" mentality on the other. We don't have anywhere to turn.

annoyinglizardvoice:
Anyone know why Australia is so censorsship-obbsessed?

It's not. Our government is just built in a way that it takes a while to put proper systems in place for newer trends or media. So there are a few key people in key places that cause this kind of crap to happen. On the whole, nobody gives enough of a shit about video games to censor them, just the people that matter... the irony would be delicious of irony wasn't the favorite passtime of this country.

I'm going to write to my local member-chap person, at least I won't feel useless about the whole thing.

aaron552:

Danzaivar:
Aaaahaaahaahaaaa!

Seriously tho, I do feel sorry for you guys. Isn't this all because your Government refuses to have an age rating above 16 because "Games are for kids" or some rubbish like that?

Not exactly. ONE MAN (Who also happens to be the Attorney-General of South Australia) is holding back R18+ ratings on games because he believes that kids shouldn't have access to that kind of material...

We have Stephen Conroy and his magical filterwall on one side and Michael Atkinson and his "games are for kids" mentality on the other. We don't have anywhere to turn.

You mean this guy doesn't realise that if it has an 18 age rating then giving the game to a kid is breaking the law? And he's Attorney General?

Maybe we should have shipped some more smart criminals down there. Sorry about that. :D

Well you can always emigrate I guess.

I am suddenly interested in this new game i've never heard of, along with everyone else whom I assume has not heard of Risen.

Royas:

Simriel:
Use. Steam.

Won't work. Steam limits your purchases by geographical area, and provides pricing based on geographical area. So, if the game can't be sold retail in Australia, Steam won't sell it either.

I hope they don't edit or censor their own game to satisfy the ratings board. Every time a developer does that, it validates the ratings a bit more, and that's not something the gaming world wants to do. Time to accept the relatively few lost sales, and tell the Classification Board to shove their ratings up their collective asses. Most of the real gamers in Australia will import the game anyway, if they want it, so they really won't lose much.

Can't you just switch your download region in the steam settings to buy the game? Or if that fails use a proxy or make another steam account set in another country?

The sad thing is this will just drive all the people who were going to buy the game to pirate it if they can't get it through legal means.

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