Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

September 17, 2009 -

Via Gamasutra comes news that the Australian Government has refused to classify Valve Software’s multiplatform follow up Left 4 Dead 2.

Electronic Arts applied for the rating and was issued a classification of “RC,” for Refused Classification, meaning the game will have to be heavily modified to have any chance of being released in Australia. The ruling (PDF) stated:

These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.


Australia’s videogame ratings comprise four categories: G (General, very mild content), PG (Parental Guidance Recommended, mild content), M (Mature Audiences, moderate content) and MA15+ (not suitable for people under 15, strong content).

The original Left 4 Dead garnered a MA15+ rating in Australia.


Comments

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

"Heavily modified" as a huge stretch. Fallout 3 hinged on the replacing of all text that said "Morphine" to "Med-X". Something that can be done with a few passes in a text editor. Such a modification couldn't get much more minor.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

'Asking for a horror game to tone itself down for the kiddies is like sending an order of spaghetti back to the kitchen and asking that it be made less Italian.' -Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

---------

Mr Atkinson, if you're reading this, then on behalf of many I think that you are a smegging idiot and need to recognise that many people and potential voters all hate you more than ever. Just remember you cann be voted out if you annoy the people enough.

Blocking all attempts to create an adult rating for video games may gain you a few votes from minorities, but it annoys the smeg out of many other people.

Australia is the only developed country without an adult rating, no thanks to you, and you have successfuly angered over 90% of the gaming population, a group whose average age is over twenty. Legal adults who can choose to watch R rated movies, music and 'adult' literature, but they cannot play games INTENDED for ADULTS, because contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of gamers are in fact, shock horror, grown ups play games.

You are not gaining any popularity with your out dated and prejudiced beliefs that only children play video games, and because of that we have the world record of having the world record of having the most video games banned.

You are not protecting the children. Stop using the appeal to emotion fallacy. We should cherish children, but by promoting and supporting censorship, it is a smegging stupid arguement, and is just manipulating our emotions instead of debating to force your opinion upon us.

You have made us the laughing stock of the international gaming community through your fallicious arguements and arrogance.

'Asking for a horror game to tone itself down for the kiddies is like sending an order of spaghetti back to the kitchen and asking that it be made less Italian.' -Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

He's obviously never had American Spaghetti.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

"These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.

These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore."

I have a bit of a problem with this in that it fits the description of so many games allowed through here. They're going to have to be more specific. Are the textures showing the bone of a higher detail or more realistic colour palette? Does "copious amounts of blood spray" make it more realisticly portrayed than previous classified titles? (It would imply being more comical than realistic by the description)

 

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

MUST think OF way FOR valve TO screw WITH australia .... .... erm ... ERRRR THINK THINK ...

O_O EUREKA!!!! they can release a FREE demo of the unedited game MWUAHAHAHAHAHA  

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Gee it took them till the 2nd game to figuer out its harder stuff than a 13?


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Is Australia just the most backward English-speaking nation?

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

No, that's New Zealand.


Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

No, I'm pretty sure it's Australia.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I hope we don't have another Fallout 3 where EVERYONE gets teh censored version.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Wait.. are you implying that I got the censored version here in Aus and didn't even know about it?  What am I missing?!

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

The only thing that got changed in Fallout 3 was that "Med-X" used to be "morphine." It was refused classification for that one thing alone (real-life "drug abuse"), and the fact that supposedly there was an animation of your character injecting himself with it. The animation was removed and the name was changed, and both changes were made to all versions of the game, not just the AU version.
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

That is a potential risk.  Beyond the cost of creating a separate version, the ongoing costs of maintaining and producing two different versions of a game are non trivial...

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

ooh, I smell a huge backlash coming from this.


Yes I have a WIP. Just wait and see.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I think you may be right.  Previously the ratings board has targeted games that are either clearly super-obscene or clearly substandard.  This game is neither - and the franchise is super-popular.  Maybe this will make Australian politricians see sense and rate every game.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Atkinson wouldn't know sense or reason if it teabagged him.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I bet Atkinson was beaming with pride when he heard this.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I'm surprised only one person has mentioned Atkinson since he is pretty much the reason this kind of thing happens in Australia.  For those who don't know, movies in AUS have ratings as well, however movies also have an R 18+ rating...  bah... I'm going to let wikipedia explain it:

"Atkinson is responsible for maintaining Australia's status as one of the few Western countries without a "Mature" rating for video games,[3] despite overwhelming demand for such a rating. [4] Due to this, Atkinson is often at the receiving end of criticism from the international Video Gaming community. Other related consequences include the sale of what are rated "Mature" games in other countries to minors and repeated inconsistent decisions from the OFLC who are "stuck between a rock and a hard place". [5] He has withdrawn his support for a discussion paper and public consultation on the subject of an "R18+" rating, although the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General still has this issue on its agenda, it is improbable that there will be unanimity which will result in introduction of the rating being almost impossible.[6]

Australia's current rating system lacks a classification for games above MA15+.[7] It therefore lacks not only an equivalent rating to the ESRB's "AO" (Adults Only) but also an equivalent to the ESRB's "Mature" (17+) rating[7]"

 

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Welcome to the internet, Australia.

Umm, aren't Valve the makers of the (in)famous Steam, their internet portal which was the first major downloadable PC game service?

Unless Valve have somehow been browbeaten into banning .au IP addresses from buying the game online, then they can happily tell those upside-down thought police to go to hell, and simultaneously use the fact they've been censored in their advertising copy. "Buy Left For Dead, the game the government doesn't want you to see! " etc etc.

Putting these pointless censorship quangos out of business through complete impotence seems to me like an excellent use of the internet...

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

Wouldn't this put XBOX 360 users on a bind since there is no Steam service for the console?

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

Not if it was released on Xbox Live and PSN, which would be a first.

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

There is far too much content in Left 4 Dead to put onto XBL and PSN, so that is completely out of the question (seriously, don't even try to talk to valve about consoles or you'll get an earful). Now, if releasing the game over steam and giving the one finger salute to the Aussie thought police forces their hand, then there is something that could give valve even more ammo to work with.

Yes I have a WIP. Just wait and see.

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

You sure about that first part? You can download Halo 1 and loads of other original xbox games right from the interwebs. I don't see L4D2 having much more information than what is in Halo or Fable.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

I was thinking of the XBL Games on Demand service when I thought of that, wasn't sure if it'd work.

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

Not to mention that XBLA (I'm not sure about PSN) are region specific.  For instance, there was a demo out not long ago that Europe could play, but NA people had to wait.  There were a bunch of people starting European accounts just to play it...

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Welcome to the internet, Australia.

The only online service with a file size cap is XBOX Live not PSN. But Valve seems to have something against Sony. Personally I don't give a rat's ass about the game but it does suck that aussie goverment is being such a douche.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Your forgetting the part where the ratings board thinks everyone in the game has something like rabies.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Apparently someone hasn't read the game's backstory. You sound just like the article at Kotaku.

 

They're called "Infected" because, hey, that's what they are. They're infected with Super Rabies. http://left4dead.wikia.com/wiki/The_Infection "Promotional materials from multiple sources state that the virus is a mutated strain of the rabies virus."

 

http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3172298

1UP: How did you guys arrive at the concept of super-rabies rather than the traditional definition of zombie? They could still be fast and be "zombies," not "Infected," as Return of the Living Dead shows.

MB: Even though we obviously pushed well beyond the realm of believability with many of our "boss" Infected, the core idea of a mind-destroying, civilization-collapsing pathogen is more horrifying to me than magically animated corpses, precisely because it is plausible. Rabies is a good example of a pathogen that can turn a loyal, friendly, protective family pet into a slavering attack machine. It's a virus that reprograms the behaviors of a complex animal -- a mammal, in fact. What if something similar happened to humans? Left 4 Dead is one possible answer.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

And the faggotry continues. This is why people keep using torrents. The other option is importing the game but I don´t think many will want to pay 100 dollars for a 60 dollars game.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

we already pay $100 for a $60 game

however banned games are illegal to import

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

That won't stop people from importing the game.  I'd like to see the gov just try to go through EVERY package coming into the country.  Assuming they find a way around the breach of mail privacy laws.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Sorry for know that.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

If I were in Valve's position, I would only consider 2 options:

1. Not release the game in Australia at all. I may miss out on some sales but the sales from otehr regions will compensate.

2. Edit it in such a way that it is patronizing to the people playing it while at the same time plaster the game with the message that the only reason the game looks like that is because of Australia's inane ratings and the South Australian DA.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I've been suggesting option 2 for a while just start it off with something like "The Australian government thinks everyone playing is a 15 year old/The Australian government has informed us that none of their citizens can handle the violence in our game and told us to tone it down to the level of a 15 year old." Something like that.
----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Does the game need to be Classified for them to accept steam purchases from Australia?


Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I believe so, importing unclassified games is very illegal and expensive.

 

ah well I guess we can't pay for it so we will have to play on all the now cracked aus servers

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

True, however is team considering actual "importing"... importing implies recieving a physical copy from outside the country; there are generally all kinds of taxs that become involved... Steam however is an online service, pure raw information, not really any different from any other website. Can raw data still be considered an "import" in the same sense that a physical CD can? Would the same import taxes apply to anything you buy via download from the internet? Does the gov't even have the legal power to regulate such a service?

The fact that we are dealing with internet downloading seems to put a lot of that into question...

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

That would require the Australian government to regulate internet traffic.

And even then, I think you can still forward the money to someone in a region that DOES get L4D2, and have them gift you a copy.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Actually... our wonderful Australian government is trying to do just that.  For the past year, Mr. Conroy has been trying to have a national mandatory internet filter implemented, and now the major ISPs are on board.  Granted the idiots in charge have no idea that the filter will decrease net speeds by up 80%, or that anyone can bypass the filter using a proxy, but the whole purpose of the filter is, once again, to "protect the children" and "remove access to morally objectionable material".  Ironically, the blacklist that they are using to decide what sites are acceptable or not is not being used at the Parliment House.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

You lost me on Option 1, EZK. If Valve doesn't release in Australia, why would that alone increase sales in other regions and compensate for the lost Australian sales?  

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Option 1 would probably see a minor uptick in sales outside Australia (specifically, Australians importing the game), but the big advantage would probably come from not needing to expend resources to edit the game.

That is the number they will really have to look at.  Will it be more expensive to make the game classifiable then the sales they get from players who would not be willing to import the game.

There is also the longer term message of 'we are not going to take this treatment' which can cause bad press for the AG and encourage more people to push for reform.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

What I meant was that the lack of Australian sales would not be a major hit when taking global sales into account.

While yes they would have been able to sell more with the game in Australia, it would not break them to not release there.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Sorry but choosing not to release it here in Australia would be absurd.  It would cause a large hit to profits and it would alienate the Australian audience regarding the game.  From a PR standpoint, it would be a dire mistake for Valve to come across as not even attempting to have the game released here.  Sure, people will import it by the hundreds anyway, but that number is so high partially because the banning has brought more attention to the game.  I doubt it would be so high if people thought Valve weren't even planning to release it here.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

And what do you suggest?  The other option is doing akin to what happened with Fallout 3 where the game was censored for everyone, thus alienating everyone in every region. 

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

They could probably avoid a PR nightmare by releasing a statement that basically apologizes to the Aussie gamers but says that they're not willing to compromise their intellectual creations to get past the opinions of some politicians. They could pass the blame on to the Aussie government and maybe make a statement that will aid in getting something done.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

Yes, Australia is probably just a small slice of global market. But I bet if they had their druthers, they'd rather sell as much there as they can than sell nothing at all there. Penny here, penny there. Before you know it, you got yourself a dollar.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

The compensation for lost sales (via imports) would be nowhere near the levels that a native Australian release would generate. 

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

*Ouch.* I don't get why Australia wants to ban legal adults from playing video games that they wish to play. >.> That IS straight-up censorship. Banning free speech simply because the state says that it is "offensive."

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

The AG's argument is generally along the lines of 'protecting children from potentially obtaining such products is more important then infringing on adults'.

So because children MIGHT get the games, adults are not allowed to have them period.

Re: Valve’s Latest is Left 4 Dead Down Under

I can't remember the name of the specific AG who's blocking the rating above MA15 but I remember an article on him where he basically said 'I wouldn't want to play these games and I certainly don't want my children to be playing them, so I don't see what the big deal is.' He's one of those people that still thinks that it's only kids who play video games and that you're not a real adult if you like games. 

 
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