The rumors are true and it's bad news once again for gamers Down Under: Bethesda's hotly anticipated post-nuclear RPG Fallout 3 has been refused classification in Australia.
The website for the government's Office of Film and Literature Classification indicates the game has been refused a rating classification, which functionally bans its sale in Australia. Unfortunately, the OFLC website does not provide information regarding the specific reasons for a classification refusal, but according to Gamasutra, which uncovered the decision, the denied rating could be the result of the country's "inflexible" regulations regarding in-game displays of drug use.
Bethesda can apply for a review of the decision at a cost of just under $8000, but appeals and reversals of classification refusals in Australia seem quite rare; most developers faced with similar obstacles opt to modify their games in order to make it more palatable for Australian release. While Rockstar Games had a famous and ultimately successful tussle with the British Board of Film Classification over the release of Manhunt 2 in the U.K., the industry bad-boys chose to cut content from the Australian version of Grand Theft Auto IV in order to get it past the country's censors.
Bethesda Softworks has declined to comment on the Classification Board's decision.