Left 4 Dead 2 May Be Censored in Australia (Updated)

By Chris Faylor, Oct 07, 2009 12:10pm PDT Update: Australia's OFLC has classified a censored Left 4 Dead 2 for sale under the MA 15+ rating. A copy of the report obtained by GameSpot reveals it "no longer contains depictions of decapitations, dismemberment, wound detail, or piles of bodies lying about the environment."

The uncensored version could still reach Down Under should Valve's appeal succeed.

Original: Though Valve is in the process of appealing Australia's ban on Left 4 Dead 2, the company has also readied a censored version of the cooperative zombie shooter "to guarantee that something will be available on November 17 in Australia."

Valve president Gabe Newell made the revelation yesterday during his well-publicized trip to Australia, explaining to GameSpot and other outlets that the developer's "strong preference" is to release the game "as is." However, the appeal process is "fairly slow" and won't see any additional progress until October 22.

He declined to detail any of the changes made to the "Australia-specific version," explaining that "our goal is not to ship that version." Should the censored edition see release, Newell noted that the PC version could be uncensored later on though an online update, though he wasn't sure if this would be feasible on Xbox 360 as well.

Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) took issue with the game's "frequent and intense depictions of violence," citing "copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage."

One way or another, Left 4 Dead 2 hits PC and Xbox 360 worldwide on November 17.

For the text of Newell's relevant comments, look no further than below:

Right now, we're pursuing two tracks. The first track is to release the product that we've created, as is, in Australia. This is our very strong preference. It's what we're working with the OFLC to see if we can achieve.

So we have an appeal of their decision. The issue there is that that process is fairly slow, and that the next step on that isn't going to occur until October 22. At that point, you start to run into problems with getting through certification and Microsoft and then getting manufactured in time in order to make November 17. But we are going to continue to go down that path.

At the same time, we have also submitted an Australia-specific version of the game which we think is fully complaint with the OFLC's guidelines for content. We may actually hear about that version today. The goal is to guarantee that something will be available on November 17 in Australia while at the same time pushing to get approval for the full version of the game.

On Specific Changes

I don't really want to talk about that. Our goal is not to ship that version.

An Uncensored Update?

On the PC side, we just update them, so it's real easy there. I don't have a real clear idea of how we would be able to provide that to an Xbox customer. Our hope is to not get into that situation and have the Xbox version be available.

On the PC, I can speak authoritatively. Whenever we do an Xbox update, it gets a lot more complicated because the PC doesn't have a bunch of the restrictions...that we work with on the Xbox side. Certainly what we would like to do is make it freely available to anybody, if, if we had to make it available after our initial shipment. That's what we're trying to avoid.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in, with extra special thanks to trineas and Half-Life Portal for the new shots and CorinCole on the OFLC approval update.

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  • http://www.giantbomb.com/wolfenstein/61-21119/releases/

    Okay, OFLC... EXPLAIN!!!!

    Name: Wolfenstein
    Platform: PC
    Region: Australia
    Release Date: Aug. 19, 2009
    Rating: OFLC - OFLC: MA15+


    Wolfenstein had plenty of decapitations and dismemberment (especially if you were a frequent user of the Kar98 with the Big Bore modification), and there were definitely wound details. There weren't piles of bodies, though, as that would've drastically decreased the framerate eventually; I noticed that the game seemed to be aggressive with making bodies disappear if you looked away from them and moved away from them, and then walked back to the same spot. That's good for performance, yet not as disrupting as the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" effect from Doom 3.

    Still, WTF, OFLC? Hooray for the unflinching stubbornness and ignorance of Australian government officials!