Germany Passes on Painkiller: Hell and Damnation

Germany Passes on Painkiller: Hell and Damnation

German authorities have decided that Painkiller: Hell and Damnation is a little too hot to handle.

Did you know that the brilliant Painkiller is getting a high-definition remake as Painkiller: Hell and Damnation? It actually came to light back in June, although at the time it appeared to be an entirely new game rather than a rehash of the original. I've played an early beta and it was rough around the edges, as early betas tend to be, but it was also very much Painkiller: a note-for-note do-over of the first level, in fact.

So it's rather odd to hear that the USK, Germany's videogame rating agency, has decided not to give the game an age rating, effectively banning its sale in the country. Why exactly a rating was refused isn't known, although one outside source says "blood and violence and demons" may have something to do with it. What makes the situation odd is that the original Painkiller and every other release that followed it - Battle Out of Hell and the Black edition, plus the awful Overdose and Resurrection - were all given an "18" rating.

These screens might offer a little insight into the matter:

In any event, Nordic Games hasn't said yet whether it intends to appeal the ruling or put together a "low violence" version for German audiences; at this point the focus seems to be on squeezing it for PR value. And it's working! Painkiller: Hell and Damnation comes out in both Standard and Collector's Editions on October 31, exclusively for the PC.

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Is anyone really shocked by this? Which games get banned and which ones don't is basically completely random.

"Blood, violence and demons" is very German. Haven't the authorities ever seen (or heard of) art by Dürer? Some days I wonder if the medieval era was more liberal than a society influenced by present-day bureaucrats and petty authorities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight,_Death_and_the_Devil

To be fair, when People Can Fly developed the first Painkiller, they made a slightly trimmed down version for the German release where all the blood effects were green, and if I'm not mistaken, it wasn't possible to gib enemies.

The German version of Battle Out of Hell also received a partial censorship where the children in the Orphanage level were replaced with wooden creatures in the children's clothing, their heads resembling that of the Pinokio enemy found in the same level.

I know this because I've worked with Painkiller alot in the modding community. I guess Nordic Games decided it wouldn't matter this time around, but Germany is a strict place it seems. Quite a shame...

Its a PC exclusive?! Awwww...

I think these games are actually turning the German government Facist more than they ever could turn the kids.

ahhh, germany.
passing games like kidney stones...

Germany ain't bad. They just know that Painkiller doesn't need a fuckin HD remake.

Ha, sucks for everyone living in Germany.
Oh wait.....

I wonder If Ill see the stupid gaming restrictions lifted in my lifetime.

Awh man, I wanted to have this game, now I have to import the boxed version, if there is one, and hope that I can activate its code with a German IP (Steam has started doing that stuff, which makes me a very sad panda)

There is no proof that video games have traumatic effects on anyone. We all enjoy a good scare, scream and giggle afterwards. This belief that people can be influenced so negatively by games is born from a fear of media influenec in general that grew after the second world war.

One of the theories of this extreme censorship when it comes to violent in movies (70s to early 90s) and games, is that the public relations was basically what the NSDAP, the Nazi party, was really good at, and that made a profound difference.

The result seems to be that the well-meaning folks at the USK are playing it safe. Funny enough that resembles what secret police did and do to dissenting folks these days in regimes. They play it safe, they think.

In the end, the experience with the medium removes censorship in time. Movies are a good example of the past 30 years or so. "Day Of The Dead" from 1985 had 66 cuts in the German version when it came out. "Cabin In The Woods" (SPOILER ALERT) was released here a few weeks ago and has more gore in the last part of the film than all of Romeros films combined and has a 16 rating in Germany. "Hostel" is uncut in Germany.

The same will happen with video games. And with sex in games in the USA. Hopefully.

N3squ1ck:
Awh man, I wanted to have this game, now I have to import the boxed version, if there is one, and hope that I can activate its code with a German IP (Steam has started doing that stuff, which makes me a very sad panda)

Yeah. I had a wonderful surprise when I brought home a copy of "Sleeping Dogs" from the UK. I installed and activated it on my Steam account from Germany and was horrified to find my UK game censored.

I've made a copy of the game directory and used a crack, and was thus able to play it uncensored. I paid for it, so I'm entitled to do that.

Painkiller is about as "hot" and serious as a saturday morning cartoon. Kind of sucks when your government decides what your entertainment should be.

Isn't it great when a govt or system decides what people of appropriate ages and understanding is best for them, clearly no adult in Germany has the capacity to decide what games are for them and which aren't. /sarcasm.

In all seriousness, why do they keep doing this, I just don't get it.

Must be a slow news day if a violent game getting locked out of Germany is worth mentioning...

Do they really think this will stop anyone determined to play the uncut version? Should I, for some reason, feel it absolutely necessary to own this game, I'll import it from the UK or Austria and apply a crack or two if necessary (to cancel any possible post-installation censoring via online activation).
All our wonderful USK managed is cheating our economy out of potential revenues once again. Whoopee.

Andy Chalk:
German authorities have decided that Painkiller: Hell and Damnation is a little too hot to handle.

Not true. The USK is the German equivalent to the ESRB. You wouldn't describe the ESRB as part of the U.S. authorities, now would you?

The game is also not banned at this point, only the BPjM (an actual German federal agency) has the power to do that. It just can't be legally sold because it has no rating.

The whole thing might even just be a publicity stunt.

Oh god probably some moral guardian got pissy and started screaming their head off.

Well, considering it includes the Battle Out of Hell expansion, it does include a few WWII themed levels.

There remaking this? Great, I always wanted to play it more, but the game's so buggy on my PC. Hopefully one that was designed with newer hardware in mind will work better.

Airon:

Yeah. I had a wonderful surprise when I brought home a copy of "Sleeping Dogs" from the UK. I installed and activated it on my Steam account from Germany and was horrified to find my UK game censored.

I've made a copy of the game directory and used a crack, and was thus able to play it uncensored. I paid for it, so I'm entitled to do that.

This is strange... I've imported a ton of games from the UK that are not avaiable in Germany / censored in Germany. Saints Row 3 and AvP spring to mind, both without any cut in them after activation in our borders. Did you write a ticket to the support because of this?

It's just silly, really. Some games get banned, some not. Shooting people is ok, as long as the blood is grey? Blood and Gore is fine, as long as the humans have been mutated after death?

Also, Protecting children is alright, but if you start protecting kids from things they aren't even allowed to see in the first place, just so they don't get flustered when they accidentally come in contact with it.

And everyone who wants the games can just order them from germany's little brother Austria. In german, even. So I don't really care anymore.

Huh, HD. Yeah, I think I can see it. I hope (and expect) that they won't just remake everything down to the last crate. I'd like to see (a few) new weapons and (many) new monsters and levels, actually.

As for the USK/BPJM? Yeah, odd. To my knowledge, banning/not giving an age rating/putting it on the index happened a lot less with games these past couple of years. Strange to see them do it now and for this, a game which is the exact opposite of realistic. Not that it matters to any of us who are actually old enough to shop at amazon.co.uk or similar, of course. And the younger players will simply pirate it, I'd imagine.

Did they forget to disband the censors or something after nazi germany fell?
*I'm not saying all germans are nazi's so chill out*

Strange, it normally seems that sexual references are more likely to get most things banned than violence is, but maybe all countries have their own pet peeves.

Not every game you buy outside of Germany and activate on Steam from inside Germany is automatically censored. Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 are ok for example. Team Fortress 2 is another example. In the German version, party mode is always on.

A fundamental problem is that Steam and Microsoft have never bothered to make an age verification system.

You could sell games on the "Index" to people if you could verify their age. When a game is on the index it must not be made available or advertised in any shape or form so that a minor can have access to it. You could sell them pornographic games or whatever else you like.

But neither Steam nor Microsoft have any age verification the qualifies. It's probably not worth it to them, or perhaps they're don't want to risk anything by selling a game not certified by the USK in Germany.

Nobody applauds any of these organizations and their members for that.

bimon_1234567:
The game is also not banned at this point, only the BPjM (an actual German federal agency) has the power to do that. It just can't be legally sold because it has no rating.

That is not true!

Games which do not receive a USK 18 rating can still be bought, if your are 18 or older.
The difference between USK 18+ and no rating is that a game without rating can be set on the index by the BPJM while a game with rating can't be set on the index.

Being on the index does not mean you can't buy the game either!
There are two index list. One list for games that violate German laws (e.g. showing the Swastika) and one list for games that do not comply with restrictions by the BPJM.

Games which violate German law are completely banned (yet already owning them is not! However there are severe limitation to what you can do with them), as it should be. These cases are rare and most commonly revolves around including the Swastika in any form (WW2 shooter and stuff like that)

Games which do not comply with regulation of the BPJM (most cases) can still be bought if you are over the age of 18.
However these games may not be advertised (this includes shop exhibits) or sold thru mail order.

Get your facts strait Escapist!

 

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