German Gamers Get Heavily Censored Bulletstorm

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German Gamers Get Heavily Censored Bulletstorm

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Bulletstorm has been given an 18+ rating in Germany, but it's a heavily-censored 18+ that cuts out almost everything you'd want to play the game for in the first place.

You can file this one under "least surprising news of the day." Germany, a notoriously inhospitable environment when it comes to violent videogames, has granted an 18+ rating to the upcoming shooter Bulletstorm, but only after it was heavily censored to meet the country's content guidelines. Gone from the game are blood, splatter, dismemberment and ragdoll effects, which are pretty devastating cuts for a game that bills itself as an exercise in devising new and creatively violent ways to kill stuff.

There was no chance that Bulletstorm, one of the more controversial games in recent memory, was ever going to make it onto German shelves intact. Germany's USK game rating body enforces strict guidelines with regards to game violence, often refusing to classify games or demanding heavy edits even to titles limited to adult gamers. It's sometimes a difficult system to fathom, however; Bulletstorm has been neutered but Dead Space 2 made it under the wire with just a minor tweak to the multiplayer.

German gamers might still get a shot at the real deal through the Austrian version of the game, which is uncensored and carries a PEGI rating of 18+. But because it doesn't carry a USK seal, it can be banned or "indexed" by the country's youth protection board. According to GamesIndustry, retailers like Amazon have found that PEGI-rated games often sell much better than their USK-rated counterparts - big surprise there - but the sale of indexed games in Germany can actually result in criminal charges, so it's a bit of a dicey proposition.

Due to youth protection laws, EA also refuses to allow German sites access to Bulletstorm trailers prior to 11 pm. Makes me wonder why it bothers at all; EA certainly wouldn't be the first publisher to decide that the German market just isn't worth the trouble.

Bulletstorm comes out on February 22 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

I kinda wanna see what this would look like. Without dismemberment, blood and ragdoll, won't that mean dead bodies either vanish or turn into statues a la TF2's golden wrench?

You'll still be able to buy the uncensored version in stores, but you aren't allowed to advertise the game unless theres a rated version of it.
The international version won't get rated, so advertising isn't allowed but it still can be sold as long as the buyer is 18+. The rating only matters if your under 18. Since there is a rated censored version they can advertise again.
In case any non german reader wonder how it works here.

A good example was one of the new C&C games, the original version was denied a rating, so they released a censored version and an uncensored unrated "Kane Edition", both are sold openly in stores and 18+

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This. If it's an 18+ game then why the hell does it need to be censored?

You don't 'protect' children from a video game that they shouldn't have access to in the first place.

What will blulletstorm be like with censores!

IT wont be the same.

How is the game even going to function without wragdoll physics?

that's like 90% of the gameplay gone right there.

Daystar Clarion:

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This. If it's an 18+ game then why the hell does it need to be censored?

You don't 'protect' children from a video game that they shouldn't have access to in the first place.

I agree. Censoring this sort of content, intended for adult consumption, is very worrying.

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

Exactly, 18+ people have access to non rated games anyway so they'll just get the international version.
The system was made by people who know nothing about games and don't have to care about cost since it's taxpayer money (and the publishers sadly).
Still sucks, because steam will only sell the censored version, they don't have an age check so they always give you the worse version, gonna have to go to a more expensive store for that >.<
Or ask a friend to gift it.

Daystar Clarion:

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This. If it's an 18+ game then why the hell does it need to be censored?

You don't 'protect' children from a video game that they shouldn't have access to in the first place.

they shouldn't have, but the fact remains, the have.

I don't agree with our censors, but I can understand their point. If it's going to be available in stores, minors will get access to it easily. Adding the need to import to get the uncensored version adds a new hurdle that's going to keep the adult content out of the hands of some (but of course not all) minors.

If I where in their position, I just wouldn't release it in Germany.

Moriarty:

Daystar Clarion:

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This. If it's an 18+ game then why the hell does it need to be censored?

You don't 'protect' children from a video game that they shouldn't have access to in the first place.

they shouldn't have to, but the fact remains, the have.

I don't agree with our censors, but I can understand their point. If it's going to be available in stores, minors will get access to it easily. Adding the need to import to get the uncensored version adds a new hurdle that's going to keep the adult content out of the hands of some (but of course not all) minors.

Most stores have the import versions on shelf though, it doesn't really help.

A friend of mine currently resides in the UK for a few months... i'v never bought as many games as i am doing right now... or rather: she is ;)

The UK versions are also always cheaper (30% in case of Borderlans GotY, WTF?!) so i'm also saving myself some money (even when including shipping - as i usually import them).

Moriarty:

Daystar Clarion:

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This. If it's an 18+ game then why the hell does it need to be censored?

You don't 'protect' children from a video game that they shouldn't have access to in the first place.

they shouldn't have to, but the fact remains, the have.

I don't agree with our censors, but I can understand their point. If it's going to be available in stores, minors will get access to it easily. Adding the need to import to get the uncensored version adds a new hurdle that's going to keep the adult content out of the hands of some (but of course not all) minors.

It just seems counter-productive for people to have to import 18+ games (thus lowering profit for German retailers) just to stop kids from getting their hands on games they shouldn't have. It's usually a bad idea to punish the consumer.

GiantRedButton:

Most stores have the import versions on shelf though, it doesn't really help.

"Most stores"? I haven't found a single store to have one.

I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed to have the untested version on display anyway. They might have some in the back, but you have to specifically ask them for it.

Daystar Clarion:

It just seems counter-productive for people to have to import 18+ games (thus lowering profit for German retailers) just to stop kids from getting their hands on games they shouldn't have. It's usually a bad idea to punish the consumer.

Those arguments could be used to counter ANY form of censoring/restricting sales, so I don't see the point. Retailers would sell drugs if we'd allow them to, censors are restricting access to certain wares to provide safe shopping opportunities for general audiences.

Ebay, although they probably won't get a german version.

I never buy german versions, so whatever.I prefer my media in original versions. So Drakensang, Gothic and co are good to buy in german. Even if i would want it to be german, i get if from austria as posted above or its just a bloodpatch away.

My thoughts on cases like this is that the game companies themselves should start acting in opposition to the goverment. Such as using their resources to start backing PACs (Political Action Comittees) and and opposition to the laws in order to fuel reform.

Oh sure, I know why they won't, but then again I think that's one of the big problems with censorship. Industries that just roll over and take it because they don't want to go through the trouble or spend the money, rarely ever see the problems dealt with.

Hollywood for example spent a lot of time fighting for movies to become what they are now. Sure, there are still issues with them and censorship, but not what we would have seen otherwise. In the long run I think it also benefitted from this financially.

I said much the same things about Australia.

imnotparanoid:
What will blulletstorm be like with censores!

space pirate happy fun tyme (because poor literact is KEWL!)
OT
yet they can buy the game just a across the border (still a scary thought that a country that wants to bann "mature" games is just a few miles from my house)

Moriarty:

GiantRedButton:

Most stores have the import versions on shelf though, it doesn't really help.

"Most stores"? I haven't found a single store to have one.

I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed to have the untested version on display anyway. They might have some in the back, but you have to specifically ask them for it.

Daystar Clarion:

It just seems counter-productive for people to have to import 18+ games (thus lowering profit for German retailers) just to stop kids from getting their hands on games they shouldn't have. It's usually a bad idea to punish the consumer.

Those arguments could be used to counter ANY form of censoring/restricting sales, so I don't see the point. Retailers would sell drugs if we'd allow them to, censors are restricting access to certain wares to provide safe shopping opportunities for general audiences.

Ill post some pics when i get to town again. do you go to specific game shops? The only one that didn't have them were gamestop and supermarkets. But yes it is legal, a few years back age restrictions didn't apply to used games btw. Well during the early game cube years anyway.

9_6:
Censoring games clearly labeled to be only accessible for adults over the age of 18 anyway.
Tax money well spent.

This needs to be restated a hundred times.

Seriously don't we all believe if you're over 18 you should be able to buy any game you damn well please?

I'm curious, but what prevents German gamers from buying it on steam(maybe they control that too)\buying it from amazon or other stuff like eBay?\pirating it? (not that I'm encouraging pirating but the government there sure does)

Marcu5:
A friend of mine currently resides in the UK for a few months... i'v never bought as many games as i am doing right now... or rather: she is ;)

The UK versions are also always cheaper (30% in case of Borderlans GotY, WTF?!) so i'm also saving myself some money (even when including shipping - as i usually import them).

just on that note if ur in europe or asia u can buy everything from amazone uk even once ur friend aint there anymore and its still MUCH cheaper specially with the pound being worth roughly the same as the kongo denari :P
if u got a german ip steam is gona sell u the weakest version of anything they got im talkin bout tetris without sharp edges cuz thats dangerous sorta shit :(

#1 Get STEAM
#2 Drive over the border
#3 buy and download bullet storm
#4 ???
#4 Profit

Worked for other "censored" titles. Or just import it.. sucks, sure, but it has been like this since forever. Or like 1998.

Just go to the Netherlands, it's paradise for buying games even if your not 18 yet
just say your buying it for a friends birthday, worked for me everytime

What!? Is it a fucking POLICE STATE over there or something!?

It's fine to say "kids can't buy a game this violent"

It's not fine to say "This game is too violent for ADULTS"

and it's a fucking JOKE to say "You can't gather information on this game until late at night"

Le_Lisra:
#1 Get STEAM
#2 Drive over the border
#3 buy and download bullet storm
#4 ???
#4 Profit

Or just have trustworthy e-friends in america or such gift it to you.
Paypal ftw.

gizunt:
I'm curious, but what prevents German gamers from buying it on steam(maybe they control that too)\buying it from amazon or other stuff like eBay?\pirating it? (not that I'm encouraging pirating but the government there sure does)

The goverment doesn't quite surprisingly, but steam germany is pretty conservative. even if the uncensored version is rated 18 in german, they'll still give you the censored version.
Whether your german or not is verified by ip (easy to circumvent) and by bank account (basiclly impossible for the majority).
I assume they do that because they sell without age verification and want to stay under the radar. A 12 year old can buy dragon age (18 here) via steam.
While you are allowed to buy anything import if your 18 you are extremly handycapt on steam.
Unless you have friends that gift you stuff of course.

Hate to say it, but...those guys are game Nazis.

I say fuck the USK. EA should just ship a bunch of extra copies to Austria and other countries on the border for the Germans to get their hands on.

So your editing a game that was only meant for adults anyway? Geez, kind of insulting the German market there.

"We can't trust you with that level of gore."

"But I'm 21..."

"No exceptions."

Methinks Steam is your friend. Well that and crossing the border.

For a company that's so gung-ho about sex, not to mention starting World War I and its sequel, Germany is awfully funny about censoring thing.

LavaLampBamboo:
I kinda wanna see what this would look like without dismemberment, blood and ragdoll. -snip-

That was the first thing I started thinking.

I suppose that I might Youtube some German Gameplay.

If there even is any, now that I think about it.

Who would buy such a limited product?

Who thought it'd be a good idea to sell it in germany anyway?

henritje:

imnotparanoid:
What will blulletstorm be like with censores!

space pirate happy fun tyme (because poor literact is KEWL!)
OT
yet they can buy the game just a across the border (still a scary thought that a country that wants to bann "mature" games is just a few miles from my house)

Hey I have a disoder!
its bieng lazy, tired and generally not to good with grammer!

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