Following yesterday's news that the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) had refused to give official classification to Eidos' upcoming Atari Australia-distributed video game adaptation of Reservoir Dogs, the body has today issued an official statement explaining its decision.
According to the statement, the board decided to deny classification for the game based on the upcoming title's “frequent depictions of violence that have a high impact.” Due to the game's unclassified status, the decision by the OFLC has made it illegal to sell or rent the game in Australia. The announcement is particularly notable because Reservoir Dogs is not likely to be released until at least September, according to current release lists.
The board called out "specific instances of violence" in the game that it felt warranted the decision, which included:
- "Players (participants in a bank heist) can literally blow the heads off hostages and police as well as execute hostages at point blank range with a gunshot to the head."
- "Using a series of so-called signature torture moves, players can use different means to torture hostages and thereby cause police to lay down their weapons, such as repeated pistol whipping the side of the head with blood spray evident, burning the eyes of a hostage with a cigar until they scream and die, cutting the fingers off a hostage with blood bursts as the victim screams in pain."
- "In lieu of taking a hostage the player can opt for a more violent scenario where a slow motion shootout occurs, accentuating the violence."
Due to a quirk in Australia's classification system, it is impossible for game titles to be rated MA18+, a mature rating which can be applied to games, meaning that games in Australia can either be rated MA15+ or banned entirely. In recent months, this topic has come under more intense discussion in Australia, Electronic Frontiers Australia renewing the call for a MA18+ rating to be instituted, since Australia is one of the only major Western countries not to allow 'adult' classification of games.
Thus, the country has one of the strictest histories of video game censorship in the Western world, outside of Germany, having previously banned titles including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carmageddon, Manhunt, and NARC.