The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification is at it again, slapping a ban on the upcoming Vietnam War era shooter Shellshock 2: Blood Trails.
A GameSpot report says the game was denied a classification for sale in the country as a result of high levels of violence, meaning it cannot be legally sold in Australia. The OFLC in Australia offers ratings for mature and adult films and television shows, but has no corresponding marker for videogames. The highest age rating for videogames in the country is 15, meaning games that receive M or 18+ ratings in other countries are often either banned or must be censored in order to accommodate younger gamers.
Previous games to fall afoul of the rating board include Blitz: The League, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, the last few Grand Theft Auto releases and many others.
Shellshock 2 takes place in the Cambodian jungle during the war in Vietnam, where people are suffering from the "strange effects" of a mysterious chemical. The game has been given an 18 certificate by the BBFC, the rating agency in the U.K., but has not yet received an ESRB rating in North America.
"The violence includes blood spraying when enemies (both human and infected) are shot, and the sight of heads exploding due to a head shot. Blood splatters onto the 'camera lens' frequently as a result of the violence, during both gameplay and cut scenes," according to the BBFC rating information.
"The game also contains moments of gore, such as when soldiers are seen near or post-death, with limbs missing (and occasional spurting blood from the remaining stump," the description continued. "During gameplay the player also encounters a few soldiers slumped with their bodies having clearly been eviscerated, the organs and rib cage bloodily visible."
While the ban will no doubt leave many Australian gamers unhappy, it will also have a negative impact on Australian retailers, as gamers down under are once again forced to order a banned title from overseas distributors. The Australian government, meanwhile, after making some hopeful-sounding noises earlier in the year about reforming the game rating system, now appears to have let the matter slide onto a forgotten back burner.