The Australian Classification Board has seemingly reversed its decision to ban Outland 2.
It was revealed last week that the game had been barred from release, with authorities citing what was perceived to be the inclusion of sexual violence in the game as the cause. As such, its content could not be accommodated by the existing R18+ rating, and therefore the game has been refused a release entirely in its current guise.
Press Start reports that following a review the game has now been awarded an R18+ rating, however. Developer Red Barrels has also said that “there will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide”, implying that no cuts were made to the content to obtain the rating.
Yesterday MCV reported on a plea from Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm in which he argued that Australian adults should be free to decide for themselves what video game content, if any, they wish to access.
“[Australian classification] operates on the false assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw,” he said. “Yet the internet is now awash with all manner of unpleasant images involving real people, not computer generated images, while violent crime around the world is in decline. It makes me wonder, how is it that adults are not trusted to make choices about video games and yet they are allowed to vote?
“[Australian] Prime Minister Turnbull claims to have an innovation agenda but every signal we send the gaming community in this country is of censorship, disapproval and discouragement. Video games do not hurt anybody and the government classification board should leave video gamers alone.”
The original Australian Classification Board ruling carried the following description of the in-game events: “[Blake’s] vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicitly have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate. One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex.
“Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscured, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.”