Aliens vs. Predator Unbanned in Australia

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Aliens vs. Predator Unbanned in Australia

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Sega has won its appeal of the Australian Classification Board's decision to ban Aliens vs. Predator, meaning the game will be released in the country with an MA15+ rating.

Australia's Classification Board put the kibosh on the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator in early December, citing the game's depiction of "explicit decapitation and dismemberment, as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes." The Predator's eye-stabbin', skull-yankin', spine-rippin' action in particular didn't go over real big with the gang on the Board.

Sega, naturally, announced that it would go through the motions of an appeal, presumably at least in part because Rebellion, the studio behind the game, made it very clear that it had no intention of censoring the game to get it onto Australian shelves. To most observers (or at least to me) the appeal was nothing more than an obligatory waste of time and paper that would go absolutely nowhere, much like the failed appeal of the Left 4 Dead 2 ban.

It's a good thing that Sega doesn't have pessimists like me at the wheel, though, because in utter defiance of my prediction, the Classification Review Board has overturned the decision and given Sega the green light to sell Aliens vs. Predator, uncut, with an MA15+ rating. "It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of our appeal," Sega Australia General Manager Darren Macbeth said in a statement to Kotaku. "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever."

"This is a big win for Australian gamers," he continued. "We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."

Why the Review Board saw fit to reverse the original decision is unclear, but based on precedents set by previous Classification Board actions I'm going to say that it was probably just for the sheer hell of it. Randomness seems to figure prominently throughout the entire process and unless someone can tell me how Left 4 Dead 2 is fundamentally more violent and potentially damaging to teenage minds than Aliens vs. Predator, it makes as much sense as any other explanation.

But as Macbeth said, it's a win for Australian gamers regardless of the reason. Having seen the censored version of Left 4 Dead 2 in action, I think I'd rather do without entirely than have to deal with yet another bastardized mess of a game. Fortunately for those who actually have to make those decisions, it won't be an issue this time around. Aliens vs. Predator is set for worldwide release - including Australia! - in February 2010 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Great news for the Australians! Looks like the classification board finally got some sense into them!

Tis a great victory against the attorney general too...heh

The reasoning is pretty obvious... they were facing open revolt if they didn't let Australians get their hands on this game...

It is way too gory for 15 years olds though, this result is equally farcial just less annoying if you are an Australian gamer.

Good for them though, everyone should get to rip a marine's head and spine out and keep it as a trophy

Well that's great to hear.

Now let's hope this will continue for the months ahead for other big releases.

lol i JUST finished reading and commenting the other report stating that they didnt want it etc etc.

oh well. this is a big win for australia.

So instead of getting themselves an 18+ rating like every other country, they're now rating games 15+ that should definitely be 18+? What the fuck is wrong with this country?

Michael Atkinson trying to overturn this decision in 3...2...1...

This isn't too much better than not having it; it's too bloody for 15 year olds... maybe this will push over Atkinson to introduce the 18+.

VICTORY!

Sort of.

See? All you have to do is not edit your games, and the board will give in.

Nice news from the occupied lands of Australia for once; though I have to wonder how long it'll be before one-man crusader Atkinson re-bans it.

wow, that is unexpected, especially with some of the things that you can do (possible the worst of which being the trophies).

Wow, that is very surprising. I of course am quite glad I can buy the game. However, I find the fact that it is available freely to 15 year olds to be rather silly, it is much too gory for an MA15+ rating. Just further proof that an R rating is needed.

"...unless someone can tell me how Left 4 Dead 2 is fundamentally more violent and potentially damaging to teenage minds than Aliens vs. Predator..."

It isn't. However in Left 4 Dead 2, it's Human on Human violence. More....realistic as it were. AVP, yeah, there are humans, but the human's targets are non-human aliens, and if your target is a human, well you are a fantastical alien creature with no basis in reality.

It's a matter of perception, but a very important one for the Australian Censors.

Huh.

Well, while the game certainly deserves a higher rating, considering how the movies have been rated, this is at the very least good news for Australian gamers who wish to purchase AvP.

Way to surprise me, Australia! Keep it up!

Good for them. I'm happy for them. Have fun land down under.

Since I'm only 17 I kinda wish I could just walk in and buy 18 games because my government just slaps a 15 sticker on. Wait.. jealousy of Australia? Something is wrong here.

I am happy for our Aus friends :)

That's fantastic news! Now all the game has to do is be good. God, I hope it is. I want to dismember friends on Xbox Live whilst playing on the Alien side, and have fun doing it! :P

It seems odd that a game that will be given an 18+ everywhere else has been given a 15+ because no such rating exists for the Nazi Classification Board of the gaming world.

i'm not a bit interested in this game. just look their record, %90 of their games are shit.

monolith(avp2 developer) should be making this game.

its a strange situtation the game is too gory for a 15 but its like if it was for adults then the adults wouldn't be able to handle the content

Yog Sothoth:
The reasoning is pretty obvious... they were facing open revolt if they didn't let Australians get their hands on this game...

That a dev with actual stones stood up to them.

holy shit! Why did they overturn it?

I mean, they totally should have overturned it, but why now? What makes their decision on this game wrong but the one on L4D2 and other games right?

Rusty Bucket:
So instead of getting themselves an 18+ rating like every other country, they're now rating games 15+ that should definitely be 18+? What the fuck is wrong with this country?

But it's still a good thing that this game was allowed classification. It's only a matter of time when they add a 18+ rating.

ma55ter_fett:

Yog Sothoth:
The reasoning is pretty obvious... they were facing open revolt if they didn't let Australians get their hands on this game...

That a dev with actual stones stood up to them.

That too... my hat goes off to them for standing their ground...

This episode is probably the best reason for a 17/18+ rating in the board's options.

That said, this may be more of a good sign for developers down the road. The Board does tend to get a lot of flack for questionable decisions and the overuse of the "no classification" option is, in appearence, increasing hostilities between them and the target audiences of most mature video games.

In addition, it is a sign that the Board is also a bit more maliable then first thought. Likely, more publishers will take the appeals process more seriously in the future in order for a repeat incident.

I'm actually rather ambivalent about the decision. On the one hand, it's great that Aussie gamers will be able to actually play this thing with no hassle. On the other, I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of 15-year-olds have open access to it. Based on what I've seen of it so far, plus what the Rebellion guys themselves have said, this isn't a kids' game.

As other people have noted, all this really does is highlight the desperate need for a proper rating system in Australia. All that Atkinson and his ilk are doing is ensuring that borderline games (which, like AvP, usually aren't very borderline at all) end up in the hands of kids.

Does "worldwide" include Germany? It's not explicitly mentioned in your report and from what I heard, it's not coming out in Germany. Just wondering...

Just another battle of our Aussie friends against their gamer hating government. Kudos to these news!

Yay!

But we still need an R18+ rating. The board is collecting data on exactly how many people want an R18+ rating adn why, hopefully that will see some results.

Andy Chalk:
I'm actually rather ambivalent about the decision. On the one hand, it's great that Aussie gamers will be able to actually play this thing with no hassle. On the other, I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of 15-year-olds have open access to it. Based on what I've seen of it so far, plus what the Rebellion guys themselves have said, this isn't a kids' game.

Relax, there are worse. Spoiled kids (less than 12 years old) in my country play Grand Theft Auto on Netcafes and bitch to their unwilling mothers to buy it. "It's not cool if I don't have it but other kids in my age do!" At least a 15-years-old should have some better conscience and/or idea of the game. Probably.

Regarding this and MW2:

Australian Gamers: 2
Michael Atkinson: zilch

If I were you Micheal, I'd quit before this gets any more embarrassing for you.

That's really good news, maybe light at the end of the tunnel for game ratings? If I was Australian, i'd have been really pissed if I wasn't able to play this game - looks ace.

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