Halo: Reach was classified MA15+ in Australia on July 1. But last week a “modified” version of Halo: Reach was also classified MA15+, suggesting that Microsoft may have edited or censored the game for release in Australia.
Since the “modified” version was added to the Classification Board database last week – the decision was made on July 21 – we’ve received a considerable number of emails from Kotaku readers alerting us to this fact. Almost every single one of them expressed fear that Halo: Reach had been in some way “censored” for the Australian market.
Given the Halo series is not one renowned for its high level of violence, or indeed any other contentious subject matter, we thought it unlikely the game had been censored. But still, it was odd.
So we asked Microsoft why two versions had been submitted for and awarded a classification, and what this “modified” version was all about.
“We can guarantee you that the Australian version will not be modified compared to other regions,” a Microsoft spokesperson told us.
It seems that, after Halo: Reach had already been classified, Microsoft received a newer version of the game – one that contained a “design tweak”. This “tweak”, whatever it is, isn’t specific to the Australian version, it applies to every version.
As a result of this, Microsoft decided to play it safe and resubmit the game for classification. Hence the “modified” version now listed on the Classification Board database is actually the version that will be released everywhere in the world.
So in summary: No edits were made nor censorship required to earn Halo: Reach an MA15+ rating in Australia. You can all breathe easy again.