Here's Why Left 4 Dead 2 Was Banned In Australia

High impact violence, says the Classification Board. That's the reason why you won't be playing Left 4 Dead 2 when it's released in November throughout the world...except in Australia.

This morning we broke the news that Left 4 Dead 2 had been refused classification in Australia.

By way of IGN AU and comes a copy of the Board's report. It says:

* The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play.

* It notes that this violence is "inflicted upon 'the Infected' who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently".

* The report singles out the use of melee weapons as those that "inflict the most damage" and cause "copious amounts of blood spray and splatter (sic), decapitations and limb dismemberment.. or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds".

* In conclusion, the Board finds that the "interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high."

* Interestingly, the report also reveals that it wasn't a unanimous decision and that "a minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA15+ classification" instead. However, the majority voted to refuse classification.

We have contacted both EA and Valve for comment and will update you as soon as we have more information.

UPDATED: Left 4 Dead 2 Banned in Australia [IGN AU]


    its just a goddamn game
    why banning it

      I think what gamers in australia have to do really, is think what we can do as a community to present a valid point to why we need a higher ratings system, simply saying we are over 18 isnt enough.

      so something like
      "we are a growing community and the thinking of old doesnt apply to this technological age, adults play games and because of this the nature of some of these games are inheriently not suitable for children or teens. and while the games dont have to be explicit in nature there should be a higher ratings advisory to ensure the right audience is able to play these games

      We live in a technological age and the current system impedes on not only the growth of the industry within this country but also limits the economic potential for growth. The current systems limitations with ratings are what hold us back as a nation on the world stage which is an ever growing economic commodity and without a proper ratings board we can never access this global market."

      something along those lines, i think if the community came to 1 unified response and critque that was valid then everyone in the country would help dispatch this message to every avenue of government to get the message out there, maybe we would see a result.

        Mate, while I completely agree with you, the problem cannot be solved with any form of logical argument because the reasons for not having an R18+ classification are purely illogical. Let me explain:
        The classification board is head by each state's Attorney-General. For any classification change to be passed (for TV, movies, DVDs, games etc), this change must be unanimously approved by EVERY Attorney-General. I am unsure of the exact number, but the past few times that an R18+ classification for games has been proposed - every Attorney-General has been in favor for it - EXCEPT one: South Australia's (my state) Michael Atkinson.
        The problem then can be argued that living in a democratic society, it is clear that the majority do want this - yet the entire Australian video game community (of whom has an average age of 28!) is being held to ransom by one man.
        He has never put forward an argument as to why he will not allow an R18+ classification beyond the well-worn and entire unproven argument that due to the interactive nature of games; they make children more susceptible to the violence.
        There was supposed to be an open public discussion/forum to discuss this issue last year, which he then delayed until this year, which since then he has black-balled entirely.

    This description could easily be for Fallout 3 or many other games for that matter, probably including Left for Dead 1... "interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high."

    What a crock of shit. As if the level of violence in this game would be measurably more extreme than Fallout 3 just to name one. That said, Fallout 3 was refused classification due to the portrayal of drugs, not violence.

    Does this classification have some kind of guideline as to what type of violence is more extreme than another type of violence?

    So much for living in a free country....

      couldnt agree with you more!
      fallout 3 was easily the most violent game ive played..but i loved it

      and what is a zombie game without..well violence?? haha

      Wow..this just shows how fucking inconsistant the OFLC can be.

      When I was reading the reasons behind this ban all that was running through my head was gore bags & flying limbs.

    Maybe if we forced the board to play on small non HD CRT screens the would be less "impact" on the violence



    I am an Australian adult and I game, I deserve a 18+ classification.

    If a restricted classification is good enough for film it's good enough for games, if you don't know what games your kids are playing you're a terrible parent, end of discussion.

    As a point of interest: Valve made a game that got refused classification, how awesome is that?

    Must... Play... Gory... Valve... Masterpiece...

      Honestly, this is best example yet of why we need an adult rating. Absurd.

      Jay Kay likes this.

      Also: When Gabe gets to Brisbane he can sort it all out. Don't worry guys, Valve cares about us, they won't leave us out of what is going to be THE GORIEST AND BEST ZOMBIE GAME EVER.

        Maybe Gabe can get heavy about it.

      It's a god damn insult to Adult Australian gamers. Who the fuck does Atkinson think he is, this is insulting to our intelligence, maturity and our god damned freedoms.

        I can see why the board wants to ban it, but that isnt a reason too. it wouldnt have to be banned if we a a R18+ rating...

        By all means, put a R18+ rating on it, dont ban it!

        but also, imo, this game IS verry gory after looking at Demos, and i think at parts it goes just a bit to far, do we need spilling intestines?

        "The report singles out the use of melee weapons as those that “inflict the most damage” and cause “copious amounts of blood spray and splatter (sic), decapitations and limb dismemberment.. or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds”.

        Note: the meelee weapons are still in the game for Oz release

    hopefully these white christian old retards that are in charge of this kind of thing will keel over soon enough, and someone with a brain can step in

      *is Christian, but disagrees with banning of blood-soaked video game*

      I think it's hilarious that Pornography is "unsuitable for persons aged under 18" and arguably has just as great a negative impact, or greater, than violence in video games on a sociological level, and yet is pretty much available wherever interest magazines/rental videos are available.

      More relevantly, [trying to speak in perspective here] if I were a blood-lusting maniac whose self-perpetuating thirst for gore could only be satisfied by painfully and torturously bludgeoning another sentient thing to messy incapacitation, I'm probably less likely to commit that crime in a real-life setting if the urge, however primal, has been satiated in-game... And so what if I became addicted to it? Better pixels than people...


        What?! How does porn have a negative effect on the community? Its just harmless nudity and sex that everyone does and sees.

        Violence on the other hand should be restricted to adults. Its just a shame that adult Australians don't have access to it.

        SKYLARK, i think someone should quote what you just said and send it to that poli - Mr. Atkinson.

        if a kid under 18 trys to buy the game, store attendant should ask for id, and if under age get refused service. if the kid wants it so bad they will have to consult their parents to buy it, afteral the majority of gamers are over the age of 18.

    As an gaming adult I don't have the right to choose.

    I fail to see any logic behind the descision, and thats what grinds me the most. Did they see Dead Space? Seriously? How about Prey? Why are those games free on the market and this is not allowed?

    What is the boards agenda?

      While i agree with you saying that it is ridiculous they ban it, Their issue with Left 4 Dead 2 is that, it depicts humans being decapitate by other humans, even though the humans may be infected with hidious rabies like, symptoms, it is still deemed- too graphic, which is stupid if you ask me, they dont look that much like humans now anywho, I meen look at Gears of War... Chainsaw on a gun, and you can chop up- human shaped badies by the wagon load.

    Hmmm. All some valid points to be honest. It IS a very graphic game. You know what would help this?
    An R18+ classification! Whoo! (Don't be too harsh on the OFLC guys. As sucky as this is at the moment, they ARE just doing their jobs.)

      I don't think anyone disagrees that the points are valid... we all know it's a violent game, the first one is proof of that.

      It's mainly the inconsistant nature of their decisions... It's been mentioned that games like Dead Space, Fallout 3 show rather graphic violence, limbs/heads exploding, etc... these pass through no problems on the violence scale...

      So why is this really any different?

      They might feel as though the enemies are 'too similar' to actual humans... Dead Space / Fallout 3 might be classed as Aliens and Mutants respectively...

        I killed an awful lot of normal humans, not infected zombiehumans, normal humans in fallout 3, and 2, and the original, and wasteland - the first.

      No they arn't just "doing their jobs". Want a shock? Go look at the profiles on their website. You have the most conservative right on this board, its amazing we get anything at all here.

      I would say I was an adult and vote - but the "board" is made up of non elected officals which is why they can ignore us.

      Its funny - I wonder how they miseed another game I wont mention thats very similar to L4D - I can cut a zombies head off in that with a meat cleaver. Bah I have had enough of this place, I am gonna save up and move to a more progressive country.

      Good luck yall.

        Mr Jobs: " Bah I have had enough of this place, I am gonna save up and move to a more progressive country.

        Good luck yall."

        Nah, stay & fight it. This is all being fueled by a 'progressive' socialist labor party. So, you've got a glimpse of their real 'progressive' utopian vision; not like the brochure, is it... but whatever country you hit, you'll find these bastards there already & some day you're gonna have to stand & fight them. May as well be sooner than later -

        I came here from australia....and dude no1 there has to deal with this nonsense

        sorry i meant....i came to australia from canada....u wont have to deal with this nonsense over there....and best part is ...they have broadband which charges the same price as ADLS2+, no lag and a hell lot of data usage with no discrimination between off peak and peak hours :)

        In fairness a ratings board SHOULD be conservative. They're there to tell people buying games if there is content in it that they may not find appropriate. So conservative minds work better (as long as they're not extremists).
        The only reason we could use less conservative people is because a less conservative panel might accidentally let more R18+ games slip through as MA15+. So while it might help ease the symptoms it wont actually fix the problem.

        Even if you don't agree with these games being classified R18+ instead of MA15+, we're all better off uniting to work towards R18+ classification. Then after the system has been fixed so an R18+ rating isn't an automatic ban you can rally to change what is/isn't appropriate for each rating.
        There's no point in tweaking the system until the system is fixed.

      I agree totally with the R18+ arguement. The problem is the people who control the ratings board imply that making an R18+ or AO rating wouldn't help since kids will just find ways to bypass the system.

      By that logic of course, all R18+ movies should be banned as well since kids can just find ways to get their hands on those. It's a stupid double-standard. The older generations don't understand this since gaming is a new medium, they're probably the ones who think like Jack Thompson and reckon playing violence is different to watching violence (though less heavily opinionated than old Jack, of course).


    OK people, if we want to see this game, we need to contact the attorney general and the OFLC and have our voices heard. We will not settle for a "modified" game, and we shouldn't have to. Australia needs the R18+ rating extended to video games. Get in touch with your federal rep and the Attorney General's office if you want to enact meaningful change.

      There's some useful contact details here for those wanting to give some constructive criticism on the matter:

    "interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence."

    This I think is the most annoying aspect, and will be the tipping point. The majority of Australians - and people in general - work under the 'common sense' intuition that violence + interaction = greater impact.

    In fact, research has generally shown that there is an inverse correlation, that the interactive aspects actually make the violence less impactful. Gamers generally all know this.

    How do we get in contact with this so called board?

    This is seriously starting to grind my goat. Its not their right to choose, its mine and mine only.

    Enough is enough. Its time for gamers and gaming journos to unite and start spamming the crap out of the powers that be and petition for an R rating.

    David, can you see fit to guide the people that want to do something about this in the right direction?

    Fuck that, will promptly torrent this game on its worldwide release, the classifications board can lick my shaft!!

      Hey man don't take it out on Valve, if anything just import instead. Its not Valve's fault so don't rip them off

        Ok ill import then!, but the classifications board can still lick my shaft!! Lol

        valve will have to abide by the classification laws imposed on them especially through steam.

        they will have to ban the sale of l4d 2 on steam to aussies too and there isnt much you can do to get around this.....

        i can see alot of people turning to piracy to just play the game...

        ... you can blame the primitive classification scheme for games by this board. The Australian Government need to get with the times... or fail by the wayside

      yah that sucks 4 u australians but for me im
      fine and ill be playin it on the 17th so
      hahahahaha sucks fur u dough bags

    Wow, the WHOLE COUNTRY has boycotted L4D2.

    When Gabe Newell steps off the plane in Brisbane I imagine he'll simply burst into flames.

      Why, we'll ALL get a tour of Valve studios!

    I refuse to buy a watered down version because a bunch of old farts used their connections to land an easy gig on a classification board.

    If international versions aren't compatible with Aussie servers, I.Will.Not.Purchase.

    Come on Valve, Your Aussie fans need you. Please try to find a loophole or exploit in our crappy laws.

    Great, here we go again.

    Where the hell is that discussion paper?

    Funny how movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead do all that and much worse, but were rated MA15+.
    And as far as zombie games go, L4D is pretty damn cartoonish in the way it plays. The over the top gore would just be for the sake of being over the top rather than for any intent of actually being violent.

    Seeing how as the maker (guy-whos-name-I-can't-remember) is coming here anyway... perhaps he could pertion in person?
    Mr Smith goes to Washington style?

    Bollocks. Absolutely bollocks.

    "The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play."

    Hmmm I wonder what would be a good idea then? MAYBE INTRO-FUCKING-DUCE AN R18+ CLASSIFICATION RATING!?!

    I am awaiting the time when gaming is no longer seen as a prepubescent hobby. The average age of a gamer is over 30, and yet still our highest rating is less than half that age. When will they fucking realise

      The people who make the laws are in their 50s. They have children who grew up playing games. They did not have an opportunity to do so themselves - by the time video games were really more than a passing oddity they were at least into their 20s, and the increase in games that are made for and by a more mature audience has only really occurred in the last 10-15 years.

      Basically, they will never realise. They're too stuck in their ways to realise. It's our generation, who have grown up with games, who will have to make it into government in large numbers before there's any shift in thinking.

        That's the best explanation on why stuff like this happens. They have no understanding of the new things that we're into.

    Graphic or not, it is our right as adults to choose whether we want to play or not.
    The whole premise is that people are adversely affected by playing the games.

    The gore in the game is one reason that I want to play it so much, the same reason that I like to watch horror movies. I like extremes and shock value.

    How can they apply a 15 rating to people above 18? It just sucks. And f%^& the OFLC.

    House of the Dead Over Kill anyone?

      This is a good point. There is no language warning on this game at all and yet every second phrase is "Mutha Fukka". Did the OFLC actually play this game or just watch a video submission?

        Don't be silly, Old people don't play Computer Games.

    It's going to take public outrage to get something done and we Australians are all so damn hard to motivate.

    I realise people have been fighting this battle for years but this game may just be the straw that broke the camel's back.

    If you're an Australian adult and you game not only are you entitled to a classification system that fits your needs you are also part of the LARGEST demographic of gamers in Australia.

    Old news I know but for anyone who's just finally feeling the sting of this outdated and moronic system can view the facts with a quick google search for "Interactive Australia 2009"

    The document includes interesting information such as:

    -68% of Australians play computer or video games.

    -The average age of an Australian gamer is 30 years.

    -70% of parents in game households play computer and video games, 80% of these parents play them with their children.

    This isn't even something that should be in debate, this SHOULD BE LAW.

    I game, I vote and I know what I bloody want, next person who promises me an 18+ classification get my vote regardless of party or affiliation.

    This has gone on too long.

    You know what would make this all better. If someone invented zombies. Because if zombies become real, then it goes from being science fiction fantasy to a survival educational game. And then the government would give it out for free.

      It's because there's a black guy in the game....isn't it :(

      Jokes aside, this is so retarded. What do i pay taxes for?, so these people, who probably dont play games, to just sit around deciding for the whole gaming demographic what we should and shouldn't play? Outrageous. It's time to find out how these bloody laws can be changed and why they haven't been yet as well as firing the entire board.

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