In Sydney today, Gabe Newell revealed the steps Valve is taking to ensure Left 4 Dead 2 eventually goes on sale in Australia.
Three weeks ago, Left 4 Dead 2 was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board on the grounds that the game “contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play.”
While Valve admitted they were “pretty bummed” by the decision, they have pushed forward in an effort to get the shooter sequel into the hands of Aussie gamers.
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney today, Valve’s Gabe Newell confirmed reports that they had appealed the original decision. Newell said the Review Board would announce their findings on October 22.
“I thought Left 4 Dead 2 would get the same treatment as Left 4 Dead 1,” said Newell. “So I was a little surprised [by the decision] .”
The move to appeal a Classification Board decision is not without precedent, as Warner Bros. proved earlier this year with F.E.A.R. 2. The Review Board granted an MA15+ rating for that game after it was initially refused classification.
Newell also revealed that an edited version of Left 4 Dead 2 had been submitted via the standard classification process. Newell said he thinks this Australian-only version is “fully compliant with the guidelines” for an MA15+ rating. The Board’s classification decision on this edited version is expected to be announced later today.
“We think Left 4 Dead 2 is a lot of fun,” said Newell. “It’s a game for adults. But we’re aware that different countries have different restrictions, and we want to make the choices that make the game the most fun for that country.”
The decision to submit an edited version was made to ensure Left 4 Dead 2 met its planned November release date. Given that the Review Board will not report back on the appeal until October 22, it means there may not be enough time to get the unedited version on sale for the global launch.
Newell confirmed that if the edited version is released, then the Australian version would receive an update if the appeal proves successful. This would be free on PC, but he said he did not yet know how it might work on Xbox 360.
However, Newell stressed that this edited version is just a back-up plan in case the appeal fails or takes longer than expected. “Our goal is not to ship this second version,” he claimed, while declining to detail what elements had been edited.
Hopefully we’ll find out in two weeks time whether we’ll see the edited or the unedited version in Australia.