German videogame rating agency USK has refused to issue an age classification for the upcoming supernatural FPS, Clive Barker’s Jericho.
According to a report on the German website Heise Online (translated by Google), the decision came as a result of the game’s “brutal scenes,” and paves the way for the Federal Verification Office for Youth-Endangering Media to place the game on an index of banned games. Placement on the index would result in a complete ban of the game, making it illegal to advertise, sell or import into Germany; currently, the refusal of the USK to issue a rating means the game is available for purchase only to people 18 years of age or older.
Even if the game isn’t banned entirely, Jericho publisher Codemasters has apparently decided to release only the PC version in Germany, as both Microsoft and Sony have policies forbidding the publication of games on their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms without a USK rating. Citing respect for Clive Barker’s “artistic vision,” a Codemasters representative said the cuts and changes required to earn a USK rating would have been too extreme.
Germany is known for being particularly enthusiastic about banning videogames, particularly those which feature graphic violence or Nazi imagery. Most recently, Gears of War was indexed and banned, as have older releases including Manhunt and Return to Castle Wolfenstein; other games, including Grand Theft Auto, are localized for German release through the removal of objectionable content.