Gamers in Australia will be able to play Silent Hill: Homecoming after all, albeit a version of the game that’s been edited to suit the country’s strict content regulations for videogames.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification refused to issue a rating for the game when it was submitted back in September 2008, citing its “high impact” violence which included “copious blood spray in the game, decapitations, partially dismembered corpses, numerous scenes of attacks, fights, torture and death.” The game was originally set for release in Australia in November of that year, but an Atari spokesman said the decision had put those plans on hold while the publisher conferred with Konami about possible changes to the game.
Those changes have apparently been made, because Homecoming has now been cleared for sale by the OFLC. “Atari – on its own initiative – resubmitted the game for classification, so essentially it’s not the same game,” an OFLC spokeswoman said. She declined to discuss the specific changes that were made, however, saying, “Such things are not for us to discuss. We don’t look at the differences made between each version; we have to look at each submission on its own.”
Interestingly, the representative also made a point of noting that the OFLC does not actually censor games, and that the decision to make the cuts was entirely Atari’s. “They’ve made modifications to the game, but the Australian Classification Board is not a censorship board, we don’t say ‘Change this and the game will go in’,” she said. “It’s down to the distributor to make changes and resubmit.”
We’re asking around to determine what’s been removed from the game, but whatever’s been changed, it looks like the game will still have some kick to it: The OFLC gave it the highest rating available (although that’s still only an MA15+) and described it as containing “strong horror violence and themes.” Silent Hill: Homecoming, with an M (Mature) rating from the ESRB, debuted in North America on September 30, 2008, and will hit stores in Europe in February; no word yet on when it will actually be released in Australia.