The upcoming action game Dark Sector has been banned in Australia, once again highlighting the country’s lack of a game rating higher than MA15+.
IGN Australia has reported the “violent and sometimes gruesome game” has been denied a rating by Australia’s Office of Film and Literature Classification, leaving it unapproved for sale in Australia. In the report detailing its decision, the Board noted, “The violence and aggression inflicted upon the protagonist is of a high level, naturalistic and not stylized at all.”
In its description of specific elements of the violence, the Board wrote, “When Hayden cuts off his opponent’s limb with the glaive, large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump and the injured person screams in agony which increases the impact.” The board goes on to cite “decapitation, dismemberment of limbs accompanied by large blood spurts, neck breaking twists and exploding bodies with post-action twitching body parts” in the game, violent acts which it says “exceed strong and as such cannot be accomplished in an MA15+ classification.”
Adam Zweck, a representative of Australian distributor AFA Interactive, expressed hope the game could be edited and resubmitted for classification. “This is (hopefully) not the end of the line for the game however, just a pretty substantial, but temporary, setback,” he said.
According to the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, the average age of gamers in Australia is 28, but the OFLC currently does not offer an M (Mature) or 18+ videogame rating, a situation which has led to the banning of numerous recent titles, including 50 Cent: Bulletproof, The Punisher and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. The IEAA is taking part in an ongoing campaign to introduce a higher-level rating for videogames in order to reflect the reality of the Australian gamer demographic.