Left 4 Dead 2 has been refused classification by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification, effectively banning Valve's co-op shooter sequel from sale in Oz.
Documents rustled up by News.com.au reveal gore is behind the decision, listing all the blood, guts and violence making the game "Unsuitable for a minor to see or play."
The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently... it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. 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. Projectile shots to infected humans can cause abdominal wounds which can reveal innards or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds.
The highest rating for video games allowed by law down under is MA 15+ and any beyond that cannot be sold or demonstrated--though an R 18+ rating exists for films.
The decision explains "The interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence," concluding "This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high."
However, it notes "A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong and playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the customer advice of strong violence"--the classification the board granted the original Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead 2 could still see sale in Australia should the offending gore be altered. The OFLC originally refused to classify Fallout 3 due to its depiction of morphine, but Bethesda's RPG received an MA 15+ rating once the drug was changed to the fictional "Med-X." Fallout 3's graphic "strong violence" was deemed within the limits of the rating.
Left 2 Dead 2 hits PC and Xbox 360 on November 17, outside Australia at least.
Shacknews has contacted Valve for comment. Thanks to everyone who sent in tips.